Solid points haul for Anvil Hire Yamaha at Bank Holiday bonanza
Josh Brookes picked up another solid points haul at Oulton Park this weekend, notching up a seventh and sixth place finish in Monday’s two races, keeping him in the hunt for the 2017 MCE British Superbike Championship, with Shaun Winfield enjoying a positive race day following a challenging weekend
After a positive set of free practice sessions, where both riders worked hard on setup of their Yamaha YZF-R1’s, they both headed into Sunday’s afternoon qualifying session high in confidence.
Come Sunday afternoon, both riders headed into the three tier qualifying session. Josh breezed into Q2 with time to spare, however after struggling with bike setup, Shaun Winfield couldn’t progress into the second session qualifying 26th for Monday’s first race.
Q2 saw Brookes progress into the final eight minute dash for pole after improving in time by over half a second. Unfortunately, the weather took a slight turn for the worse with light rain around the track. However, that didn’t stop Josh posting a 1:34.9, meaning he would qualify for Monday’s first race in fourth place, heading up the front row, as the top Yamaha.
After overnight rain the track dried in time before the start of the first MCE British Superbike race, and from the lights both riders made great starts. Following the opening few laps Brookes held his grid position of fourth, and looked to chase down the leading bunch.
Mid race ‘Badboy’ still held fourth place, and was fighting hard to keep the chasing group at bay. However, with a handful of laps to go his rear tyre developed an issue, vibrating violently forcing him to ride around the problem, dropping to seventh as he crossed the line.
His team mate Shaun Winfield continued to work his through the field after a good start, and by mid race he had worked his way into 22nd place, fighting hard to work his way into the top 20.
‘Munch’ then became embroiled in a battle with James Westmoreland and Aaron Zanotti for 20th place, swapping places for the final few laps, eventually he pipped Zanotti for 21st place.
The second race saw Brookes start from 10th place with Winfield starting 26th, by virtue of the lap times they achieved in the first race.
From the lights on Monday afternoon Brookes made a good start, picking up one place after the opening lap, and began to chase down the leading group. The Australian battled in a five man group for third place, after James Ellison and Leon Haslam both crashed out.
Josh quickly dispensed with Peter Hickman, and with only a few laps to go, Brookes just couldn’t find a way past Luke Mossey, crossing the line in sixth place only eight tenths of a second behind second place.
Shaun made a bad start as the lights went out, but immediately made up for it, picking off two places on the opening lap, and began to battle with Aaron Zanotti and Michael Dunlop.
He worked his way onto the back of the TT star, however on lap five the Irishman pulled in with a technical fault, and he lost the tow to the group ahead.
On the final lap, after keeping Zanotti at bay all race long, he was forced to pull a move on him, eventually crossing the line in 18th place, only just outside of the points.
After the weekend, a pleased Josh Brookes said: “I know with the bike on these tracks I can go quicker, I’ve done that before, so I know not to be disheartened that the bike isn’t good enough, but we’ve just got to be patient now and wait for the settings to come.
“We’re not a long way from where the pace setters are, it’s a small distance but it’s difficult to find that speed. I’ve just got to not be too disheartened by the results, just stay out of trouble, not crash, just keep chipping away at the points. Then just be patient for the bike to improve.
“I’m missing a bit of time on the exit of the turns, as soon as I tap the throttle I’m losing the grip. The bike enters the corners brilliantly, and it holds the line great but as soon as I open the throttle, the back just spins. That’s for the team to work on.
“I’m still pleased to be in the running for the showdown, of course, that goes without saying, it’s important, that’s what we’re all here for but obviously the focus at this point isn’t to continue coming fourth, fifth and sixth, the idea is to start winning so we have to keep focused on that.”
Content after a positive end to the weekend, Shaun Winfield added: “This weekend has been hard, especially with the mechanical fault in FP2, and missing a full session we were left playing catch up for the rest of the weekend.
“It put us on the back foot going into FP3, and we didn’t have a great session then. Then qualifying we didn’t manage to get with the right people, I ended up riding round on my own quite a lot.
“Race 1 I had a dreadful start, and then started trying to pick my way up, but I was getting held up quite a bit. I managed to pass a few and chase down the guys in front, but they were already too far gone.
“Race two, I got an even worse start. So, I think we need to work on that. We had a fairly decent race, I managed to pick off Zanotti, and I was chasing Dunlop. I was trying to pass him every corner but Zanotti was good on the breaks and slow mid corner. Then, when he got on the power he’d drive away a bit so I managed to tag onto the back of him, and he ended up having a mechanical fault. I tried to finish the race at where I was and I was running at a fairly steady pace and Zanotti came back through, so I had to give him big lunge into Island Bend. I managed to pass him back and hold him off to the chequered flag.
In a way it has been a bad weekend but we’ve finished on quite a high with fighting for a position and finishing 18th, so in the end it was alright.”
Finally, Team Owner Rob Winfield summerised: “It’s been a very good weekend. We knew we were up there in qualifying, we were fourth and it was quite close for pole position so it was a pretty good qualifying. Race one didn’t go according to plan, we had a little bit of an issue with the rear tyre, which dropped us back.
“That put Josh back on the grid for Race two. In hindsight, we scored some decent points and again in Race two we scored some good points, because we pulled through. There were a few incidents which helped us along the way, and we finished sixth so I’m happy.
“It’s been a difficult weekend for Shaun. Two solid results, not in the points, though his times were there or there abouts. We could have gone quicker, but we lost a complete session on Friday and to do that you know you’re going to be up against it. You’ve got to have all three sessions to find out where you are with settings.
“Then he had a few issues with the clutch off the line, wheeling, it was either all or nothing so we’ll have a look at that for the next round and do a bit of testing with the clutches. The bike handled better in Race two, the tyre was better, his whole set up was better.
“We’ve now got a six week break, so we’ve got some engine testing to do, we need to just go a little bit further with that and just a few other things, just a couple of little issues, suspension and handling. But nothing major really, a few tweaks here and there, and it’s all good. We’re happy.”
Brookes stays in fourth place of the MCE British Superbike Championship on 67 points, 19 behind third place man Christian Iddon. Winfield stays one point, and sits 23rd in the Championship standings.
The team now have a six week break before round four of the Championship, that will head to Knockhill in Scotland.