Dutch delight for Brookes and Anvil Hire Yamaha at Assen
Josh Brookes, Shaun Winfield and the Anvil Hire Yamaha squad battled through tough and tricky conditions at the ‘Cathedral of Speed’ this weekend, with Brookes taking to the podium in race two, after finishing fifth in Sunday’s first race with Shaun Winfield bravely picking up a 22nd place finish but retiring out of race two with a technical fault following a heavy crash on Fridaymorning
After three strong free practice sessions for Josh, he went into Saturday’s qualifying with high expectations of achieving a good grid slot for Sunday’s opening race. After a fast crash on Friday morning, Shaun recovered well overnight after being advised to sit out of FP2, and was cleared fit to ride for the remainder of the weekend.
Following heavy rain prior to qualifying, Josh qualified for Sunday’s first race in eleventh place after a wheel speed sensor caused issues on his fast laps in Q2.
The damper conditions helped Winfield post a 2:11.5, although his injuries were still causing problems for the 24-year-old’s mobility on the bike, bravely qualifying in 27thplace.
Under the beating sun on Sunday afternoon, both Josh and Shaun made good starts from the line in race one with Brookes finishing the first lap in ninth place, and Shaun in 25th. As the race progressed, Josh started to make his way through the pack, and by mid race he’d worked his way into sixth, and started to chase down the leading group.
With two laps to go the Bringelly man sat in fifth, but he just couldn’t work his way past the riders ahead on the final lap, though still picking up all important Championship points.
Winfield pushed hard from the off, still battered and bruised from Friday’s accident he pushed hard, battling with Aaron Zanotti, posting a 1:42.6 as he looked to stay with the group ahead. Fatigue then played a part, and he brought the bike home safely in 22nd place.
Due to the lap times achieved in the first outing, Josh would start race two from fourth and at the head of the second row with Shaun starting 25th.
From the lights in race two Brookes made a great start, running with the leading group at the foot of the five-man pack. As the race progressed, lap by lap, Joshstarted to pull closer to the leader, and with three laps remaining Josh started to make his move, after Haslam and Byrne made mistakes running wide at turn one.
Haslam soon regrouped, but on the final lap Brookes made a brave pass on the Kawasaki rider and held off the Championship leader to the line, taking the flag in second, picking up his fifth podium of the year.
Shaun made an equally good start to the race, chasing down Aaron Zanotti after the opening few laps. However, on lap ten he pulled into the garage with a technical issue, and retired from the race.
After the race, a pleased Josh Brookes said: “It was hard fought, certainly earlier in the race I felt I was giving everything I and the bike had and it didn’t seem to be enough to move forward.
“I was like a paying spectator, I had to watch the guys ahead in a battle but fortunately towards the end of the race the tyre was still working good, and the character of me and the bike seems to work stronger at the end than it does at the beginning, so I started to become more of a player at the end of the race.
“Everybody’s desire to win was causing extreme moves and passes that slowed the race up, and that meant it put me in the perfect position to make passes. It wasn’t a win today but it almost feels like it, every point for me is extremely valuable. I would have liked to have been more consistent in the showdown, but we’re not down and out, anything can happen yet so maybe these points are the most vital of the Championship yet.”
A frustrated Shaun Winfield added: “This weekend has been a write off really, after my crash on Friday it threw everything out of the window, and no matter what I did I couldn’t get comfortable on the bike. I’m still battered, bruised, and very sore after completing the first race.
“Race two I actually felt better, but mid race the bike developed a technical issue and I lost all drive with the machine, the boys are looking into it and we’ll soon find the issue.
“I’ve got to thank my side of the garage for everything this weekend, Gary and Dan basically rebuilt the whole bike after my crash at Oulton and they did it again Fridaymorning after my crash, Nigel has worked incredibly hard aswell and I can’t thank them and the medical staff enough.
“We’ve now got two weeks before the final round, I’ll rest, recover and feel fitter for Brands where I’m already aiming to end on a high.”
Team Owner Rob Winfield finished by saying: “This weekend has to be viewed as a positive, I wish we’d have been closer to Leon leaving here but we’re still second, which is a big thing going into the last round, there is still lots of points to play for, we’ve got a good chance and anything can happen. We’ve got to push on now when we get back to the workshop and get the job done at Brands.
“Shaun had a big crash on Friday, so to even ride the bike after that was brilliant, I’m really proud of him, he gave it his all, he’s battered, bruised and sore but he’s going to rest up now and come back stronger at Brands for the final round and get back into the points.”
Following this weekend, Josh stays second in the MCE British Superbike Championship standings on 580 points, 32 points behind Leon Haslam, with three races and 75 points left to play for at the final round.
The team now has a two week break to plan and prepare for the final round of the 2017 MCE British Superbike Championship at the triple header which takes place at Brands Hatch.
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Let it snow! We took time out to build a snowman outside the workshop! ☃️☃️ pic.twitter.com/IXJ4CFbEyb