Battling weekend for Anvil Hire Yamaha at Knockhill

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R04 Knockhill TAG Races 18-06-17 004
It was testing times North of the border for the Anvil Hire Yamaha duo of Josh Brookes and Shaun Winfield this weekend, with both failing to finish Sunday’s first race however Brookes picked up a hard fought fifth place in race two, keeping his Championship challenge alive
The weekend started off well for both Brookes and Winfield, with both riders working hard throughout the free practice sessions sending both into qualifying high in confidence of achieving a good grid spot. However, it wasn’t without drama as Winfield crashed heavily in FP3 on Saturday morning, giving his team a lot of work to do.Saturday afternoon’s qualifying session was delayed following a track inspection, and eventually it would be run as a half an hour dash for the battle to pole. Shaun Winfield opted out of the session due to damage to his Yamaha R1, as his side of the garage worked hard to rebuild the bike.

Brookes, chipped away all session posting a 48.5 which would line him up in sixth place and on the outside of the second row for Sunday’s first race, only 0.220 off of pole position with 1.5 seconds covering the whole field.

From the off in Sunday’s first race Brookes made a good start, however after battling hard on the opening few laps the Australian dropped back to eighth place. He soon regrouped and made his way back into sixth, and looked to chase down the leading group, but then on lap 12 he crashed out at the ‘Hairpin.’

His team mate Winfield equally made a good start and began to battle with Westmoreland and Zanotti for points, however he pulled out of the race on the eleventh lap due to unforeseen circumstances.

For race two Brookes started once again from sixth place on the grid by virtue of his lap time in the first race, with Winfield starting in 20th.

The team worked hard to rebuild Josh’s bike for the second outing, and from the lights both he and Shaun made great starts, with ‘BadBoy’ pushing hard in seventh place, after being boxed in from the opening corner.

The Bringelly man chased down Honda Racing’s Jason O’Halloran, and on lap 12 he made the move stick, and soon had Dan Linfoot in sight in fifth, who was chasing down the leading group.

Brookes consistently lapped the 1.2-mile track quicker than the Honda man, and on the penultimate lap, he grabbed the place and held off the chasing pack to the finish, crossing the line in fifth.

Winfield battled all race with Zanotti after making a solid start to his race, he quickly posted one of his fastest laps of the weekend as he chased down his fellow Yamaha man.

However, mid race the Derbyshire man lost grip with his rear tyre and he lost the tow of the group ahead, eventually crossing the line in 20th place.

Following the weekend, Josh Brookes said: “I knew coming into this round it was going to be a difficult event, I don’t know if it’s the Yamaha, myself or my riding style but I had a difficult weekend here in 2015 so I anticipated this weekend was going to be tough again, and I knew I’d need all the help I could get.

“Every session I went out in I did the best I could but I just didn’t find my rhythm and we’re still missing something. To get away from the weekend without injury and to salvage the points that we did is not satisfactory but we’ll have to accept it.

“We’re still working on things with the bike and we’re working on the setup and we’ve made a step forward this weekend, but I’m expecting to see the value of everything next time out.”

A frustrated Shaun Winfield added: “This weekend has been a challenge to say the least, we started off well on Friday in Free Practice and I posted solid times and worked hard on the setup of the bike, but then Saturday morning I crashed heavily and it meant the team had to fully rebuild my bike, which meant I missed qualifying. I must say a big thanks to my boys because they worked around the clock to get my bike back together.

“Race one I got a good start and battled hard for places with a group of riders and I was feeling comfortable but then I had a problem with my arm, a bird hit my bicep when I was flat out in fifth gear, and I lost all feeling with my left arm so I had to pull in, which was really frustrating.

“After resting up in between the races I felt comfortable and ready to go for race two, I got a good start again and started to battle for places once again but then around mid race distance I lost grip with the rear tyre, and I couldn’t push as hard I was before. All in all, it’s been a challenging weekend but I’ll come back stronger at Snetterton in two weeks time.

Finally, Team Owner Rob Winfield summerised: “It’s been a challenging weekend in Scotland to be honest, we’ve battled hard with set up and also totally rebuilding Shaun’s bike hasn’t helped, however we’ve pulled through as a team and I’m proud of everyone.

“Josh still sits in the all-important top six, but we’ve got to start picking up podium credits. We’ll continue to support him fully, everyone has worked very hard this weekend and sometimes it just doesn’t happen, and that is what has happened here.

“Shaun has battled all weekend, he started off well but then he had a big crash in the final free practice and the team worked hard to get it rebuilt in time for qualifying but we just ran out of time, and that crash put him back. He rode hard all weekend but he’ll come back stronger at Snetterton.

“We’re going to go home, sit down and regroup ahead of Snetterton, because we know we have the bike, the right team and the correct rider to win races.”

Due to his DNF in race one Josh has now dropped to sixth in the Championship standings on 78 points, however he still sits within the all-important top six showdown spots, with Winfield dropping to 25th place.

The team now have two weeks to regroup before they head to Snetterton in Norfolk for round five of the MCE British Superbike Championship.