It’s been a weekend of highs and lows for the FHO Racing BMW Motorrad team and its riders Josh Brookes and Peter Hickman at the fifth round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Snetterton.
Yesterday Faye Ho’s team were celebrating as Josh returned to the podium in the opening race of the weekend finishing second aboard his BMW M 1000 RR, after an exciting 12-lap race.
For today’s first race, Josh lined up on the front row in second place and as the longer 16-lap race got underway he was leading the pack by turn one. The next few laps were fast paced as Josh’s BSB rivals set about hunting him down and on the seventh lap he was back to third when the race was red flagged.
The race was restarted, and it was an eight-lap dash at the 2.96-mile circuit. Starting from third, Josh again got ahead aboard his BMW machine on the opening lap and with a chasing field behind it was set to be another frantic dash.
Holding the lead for a few laps, Tommy Bridewell passed Josh and he was then defending the second-place spot from Leon Haslam who was closing the gap. Keeping Leon at bay, Josh crossed the line to claim his second podium of the weekend in the runner-up spot.
The final race of the weekend Josh was fourth on the grid and moving up places as soon as the race started he was up to second, and quickly moved to take the lead on the second lap. Keeping the chasing pack behind a win was looking on the cards for the FHO Racing team, but on the ninth lap disaster struck as Josh was forced to retire from the lead following a sensor failure.
After the fifth round Josh is sitting fourth in the overall standings with 168 points, and is three points shy of Kyle Ryde in third, and 49 points behind current leader Tommy Bridewell.
On the other side of the garage Snetterton has been a weekend to forget for teammate Peter Hickman, who crashed out of both races today. Thankfully unhurt from both falls, Pete struggled throughout the weekend with various issues, which hampered his progress.
With the sixth round of the championship taking place at Brands Hatch on 21-22-23 July, the team has a short break between rounds to regroup and come back fighting at the Kent circuit.
Meanwhile in the ABK Beer 0% BMW F 900 R Cup, Richard Cooper continued his domination of the class as he took his fourth consecutive win. Kate Walker enjoyed a good weekend where she claimed her best qualifying result of 24th and came home 21st in the race.
The FHO Girls were also in action at Snetterton with Denise dal Zotto finishing 20th and 16th, Holly Harris was 23rd and 18th, while Jamie Hanks-Elliott finished the weekend in the points in 14th after a disappointing DNF in yesterday’s race.
“Where do I start! It’s hard because everything was going so well. Earlier in the weekend we had some setbacks, but we worked hard and got past those. We qualified good and then race one we had a podium, race two we had another second place, so we kind of felt like we were building more and more momentum as we went through the weekend. We made a small change for the final race, and it felt like we’d really improved, maybe found that sweet spot and made it a littler sweeter. I was in the perfect position leading the race and then we had a sensor failure and was forced to stop. I’ve said it’s better to have been in the lead and lost it, than never to have been in the lead at all, so I think that’s the most positive way to look at it. We now move to Brands Hatch, we’re fit, healthy and everyone will be motivated to try and bounce back and get us back at the front again where we have been this weekend.”
“That’s probably the worst race weekend I think I’ve had in my entire career; I’ve never been as far back on the grid I don’t think even when I started! I had three crashes, obviously one of them wasn’t my fault, we’ve struggled all weekend and it’s been super tough. It’s been hard on the team as much as me, they’ve all been trying 110% as always and unfortunately I just wasn’t able to give them what they deserve. The only real positive is in the first race today, as much as I crashed I was a lot closer than I had been all weekend. I had been well over a second off the pace the majority of the time, even nearly two seconds off what I did here last year, which is mental to think, but in that second race I actually closed the gap to the leaders to about half a second, so was more in the ballpark. Starting way back of course doesn’t help, but at least to only be half a second away was a step in the right direction. It was great to see Josh on the podium, he’s proven how good the bike and the team is again and it was a real shame for him to have pulled out of the final race, it seems to have been a sensor issue, which isn’t anyone’s fault. This weekend has been what is it, we’ll move on and now look forward to Brands Hatch.”
Faye Ho – Team Principal:
“What a weekend, we really have experienced it all! The highs of the two second places, leading the race and then the lows of not finishing and of course the struggles Pete has experienced. Josh’s results have been fantastic and I’m so pleased for the team and Josh to have continued yesterday’s good form with the second podium today, he showed great pace and it was such a shame for the outcome in the final race. The team are working so well together and it was great to see him back on the podium for FHO Racing. The weekend for Pete didn’t go to plan at all but some weekends it can happen and it’s about how you deal with them and move on which is important. Thank you to all the team for all their hard work across the weekend.”