Josh Brookes has admitted he was never able to relax as he powered to the double and the King of Brands title over Tommy Bridewell today.
Be Wiser Ducati’s top finisher crossed the line just 0.238s clear of the Oxford Racing ace with fellow PBM rider Redding in third, but the Australian looked to be coming under serious threat in the latter stages of this afternoon’s second race.
And with tyre spin in the closing laps, Brookes was at risk of giving up the circuit crown and, more importantly, the second consecutive win en route to what he hopes will be six across the next two rounds – which would bag him the £75,000 Integro Summer Triple Crown cash prize.
“I pulled a small gap for a few laps and then it snuck out to about 1.5 and I was thinking ‘this is good’,” Brookes said. “But then all of a sudden my board showed Tommy was second and I only had a 0.3s gap so that plan had to be dropped.
“Our bikes are so evenly matched and everything I tried to do to break away from him he could match with his speed. So I was thinking to myself ‘as long as I don’t make any mistakes he can’t ride faster, he can’t physically make something different happen to what we’re actually doing’.
“My bike was starting to spin a lot with two or three to go and I was starting to really find it difficult, but Tommy just stuck it to me all the way to the end.
“I was almost doing identically lap after lap the same as my best lap time and Tommy wasn’t dropping, I couldn’t believe it – he was right there pushing me the whole way.”
After narrowly scooping the victory, Brookes’ attention now turns to Knockhill where, despite two DNFs in his last two seasons at the Scottish circuit, he’s hoping to put what he’s learned this weekend about the Panigale V4 to good use.
“At the Knockhill test last week, it highlighted the areas that I was already concerned about with the performance of our bike. While it works very well in some places, there’s a couple of points that really need more work and Knockhill really highlighted those.
“Fortunately, when we first came [to Brands] this weekend, a few of those same problems cropped up even here early on. By the time we got to qualifying we’d made big inroads on those problems, so now I’m quite eager to get back to Knockhill to see what we’ve fixed here and how well it fixes the problems I had there.”