Round 12 - MCE British Superbike Championship - Brands Hatch - Qualification
The opening day of the final round of the 2015 MCE British Superbike Championship was always going to be an interesting one, with riders hoping to make the best start to their showdown campaign, as well as riders lower down the pecking order looking to secure a ride for the 2016 championship with an impressive weekend ride. James Westmoreland, riding for Gearlink Kawasaki topped the timesheets in Friday's opening free practice, with Shane 'Shakey' Byrne ending the day on top in FP2.
On a triple-header weekend Saturday is always action packed with qualifying and race one keeping spectators amused, however today has potentially the first time ever that the championship could be won on the Saturday, meaning tensions were high, as well as the spectator attendance!
The mornings final free practice session went the way of James Ellison with Josh Brookes and Shane Byrne making up the top three. The three riders currently make up the three top spots in the championship; however the remaining showdown contenders surprisingly didn't feature in the top ten action in FP3.
When qualifying rolled around it was Josh Brookes who managed to claim pole position, despite not topping any of the free practice sessions that preceded the session. He will be joined on the front row in race one by Jakub Smrz and Danny Buchan. Byrne will start the race fifth place and will have a bit of work to do in the knowledge that if Brookes bags the win his 2015 championship contention will be over. The final qualifying session of the season could have gone dramatically differently if falling rain hadn't prevented anyone from doing faster laps due to the change conditions, Brookes was however able to set a fast lap in the early stages.
Race one was always going to be one to remember with Brookes on the verge of 2015 victory and Byrne preparing for battle at his home circuit, and it certainly didn't disappoint. In a race hailed by Big Ed as the race of the season Byrne and Brookes had an incredible battle that won't be forgotten in a hurry. Josh Brookes had an excellent start, however Byrne was quick on the attack and forced himself into second place by the time the pack had hit Druids and had the Australian in his sights. The PBM Kawasaki rider wouldn't leave the back wheel of the Yamaha man throughout the first few laps and his patience paid off when he took the lead in lap three. However it appeared Brookes still had something in the bag and pulled ahead, but Byrne wasn't going to let him away that easy and the pair battled for the final crucial points.
Brookes took the lead from Byrne who was defending impeccably at lap twelve and made a gap quickly and it continued to grow, - the Milwaukee Yamaha rider crossed the line in first position and claimed his first MCE BSB title in the process. Byrne finished second with John Hopkins claiming his first podium finish on the Lloyds British Moto Rapido Ducati. Iddon finished fourth followed by Jackson, Ellison, Mossey, Buchan, Laverty and Smrz.
From all of MCE Insurance we would like to congratulate Josh Brookes on a Championship win that has undeniably been a long time coming, having been so close for so long to the top spot! However the action isn't over yet, the Yamaha man will be hoping for two more wins tomorrow and we're sure Byrne still has a bit of fire in his belly and is hoping to depart from Kawasaki in style! Bring it on!
17.10.2015 - Big Ed