Eazi Grip

Podium delight for Josh Brookes and FHO Racing at Donington Park

The FHO Racing BMW Motorrad team left the penultimate round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship in high spirits, after Josh Brookes returned to the podium in the final race of the weekend (Sunday 01 October) aboard the BMW M 1000 RR.

After a string of recent mixed results for Josh and his teammate Peter Hickman, the weekend at Donington Park’s GP track was a step back in the right direction for Faye Ho’s squad, with both riders finishing in the top ten across the three races, despite the challenging weather conditions.

Saturday’s opening Sprint Race was reduced to ten laps and with rain before the start it meant it was a crucial call on tyre choice. Lining up on the grid Hicky was eighth with Josh back in 16th, and over the shortened race distance it was Josh who came through the pack to cross the line seventh with Pete ninth.

Yesterday’s two races saw the FHO duo finishing again inside the top ten and with Race 2 declared on the 17th lap due to rain falling at the Leicestershire track, Josh was eighth and Pete completed the top ten.

However, it was the final race of the weekend where the FHO Racing team celebrated a long-awaited return to the podium, with Josh securing the third place spot. Starting from ninth, Josh worked his way through the pack and by mid race distance he was up to fourth. On the 16th lap the race was red flagged and with Leon Haslam out due to a technical issue, Josh completed the podium line-up, with Pete holding off Lee Jackson to come home in seventh place.

The FHO Racing team will now prepare for the final round of the 2023 season, which takes place on 13-15 October at Brands Hatch, where the team arrive mathematically still within reach of the title with Josh seventh in the overall standings, 76 points shy of the current standings’ leader.

Meanwhile in the ABK Beer 0% BMW Motorrad F 900 R Cup, Richard Cooper’s winning streak continued as he claimed his eighth victory of the season. With his main championship rival Thomas Strudwick 26 points behind in the overall standings, the title will be decided at the final round. Kate Walker enjoyed another strong weekend, finishing ninth in the Heat 2 race, she wrapped up the weekend 21st in the Main Event.

In the HEL Performance British Junior Supersport class Jamie Hanks-Elliott finished the year on a high with two top ten finishes. Finishing 10th earlier in the day, it was in the final race where she came home in an incredible sixth place. Holly Harris also had a positive weekend finishing 24th and 16th. Denise dal Zotto came home 22nd in the first race, but a technical issue forced her to unfortunately retire in the second race.

Peter Hickman – Race 1: 8th, Race 2: 10th Race 3: 7th

“The weekend was full of potential that never really turned into a result, I guess is probably the best way to describe it. Friday was okay, not brilliant but okay, I ended up 12th overall and we made a few changes ready for Saturday, which seemed to go in the right direction. Qualifying, I did my fastest-ever time at Donington Park GP circuit (1:27.967), which I was quite happy about, the leaders were a bit far away, but I was close to the front row so overall qualifying eighth I was quite happy with, especially where we’ve been and I’m not particularly good on one laps anyway. However it kind of went wrong from there, for the first race I gambled on the wet tyre which I think was actually the right decision but we left the hard set up on the bike and it just didn’t seem to work with the tyres. We had too much movement and I had loads of moments, I got into second place early on the first lap and then just really struggled resulting in us finishing ninth. We were then on the back foot going into the next race with the lap time, which put us 18th on the grid. My times in Sunday’s first race weren’t so bad and I was actually half a second faster than the leaders, but being so far back on the grid I can’t easily make passes and by the fourth/fifth lap the best of the tyre is gone, and you’re on the back foot again for the next race. In the final race, we started mid-pack in 15th and with the rain I struggled with the visor steaming up, something I’ve never had before in my entire career, which is really unusual. Not only was it steaming up, the water on the outside it was almost like it was sticking to the visor, which is really odd, so I literally couldn’t see which is not ideal. So getting up to seventh was okay, and I felt like I actually had pace to be on the podium if I hadn’t had visor issue. We’ve never really had a good set-up in the rain for a really long time, but we were pretty strong, which is a positive from the weekend, but again the results are not where we should be.”

Josh Brookes – Race 1: 7th , Race 2: 8th , Race 3: 3rd

“We haven’t been positive all the way through, in fact it’s been quite disappointing. We came here with high hopes and were definitely optimistic after having a strong round earlier in the year, I was on the podium and you expect you’re going to improve the bike and come back to the same track and your results will be better than you were before. Obviously that’s the same for everybody, so everybody improves and it makes that more difficult, but we felt like we should have had a better weekend. From the first practice I was really struggling with corner entry, we tried to improve it but what we didn’t seem to work and I qualified back in 17th. In the wet conditions our pace was strong and in the first race I came through to seventh, which gave me a good grid position for the next race. The small improvements we’d made from qualifying to the second race had improved the bike, and even though it was mostly wet conditions in the races, I managed to hold my place and not drop back too much, so I was in a good position for the final race. It was wet for most of the race and I was battling with other riders, making passes and it was positive you know, I felt like I had the ability to pass others and stretch away, which is as a racer you kind of want that feeling of being able to improve and progress, so to be in that position again this weekend was a great pleasure. We did kind of get gifted a podium position, as much as I was trying to close the gap to Christian [Iddon] it was coming down, but I probably wouldn’t have got to him before the end unless he made a significant mistake, but then Leon [Haslam] ended up going out with a failure and the race got red flagged, which gave me the third position. So, yeah obviously I’d rather get third on my own merit, but you know when it’s been this long without a podium myself, the FHO Racing team, all the sponsors and supporters, they need this as much as I do, so I’m really pleased for everybody involved that we’ve been able to get back to the podium and share champagne!”

Faye Ho – Team Principal:

“It’s been a really testing time lately for everyone in the team, but the hard work and perseverance we’re starting to turn a corner and this weekend both Peter and Josh were in the top ten and of course Josh’s podium to finish. We are a long way from where we should be, or where we know we can be, but hopefully we can continue to move in the right direction and finish the season strong at Brands Hatch. It’s been great to see Richard [Cooper] take another win and he heads to the final round with a strong chance of winning the title, Kate [Walker] also in the F 900 R Cup had a strong weekend. For Denise [dal Zotto], Holly [Harris] and Jamie [Hanks-Elliott], it was an emotional weekend with it being the last-ever British Junior Supersport race. But I’m so proud of them and the progress they made throughout the season, especially Jamie who finished sixth in the final race. We now have a week until the final round where we’ll arrive at Brands Hatch aiming for a successful weekend.”

Round 10, Donington Park GP Results:

Sprint Race:

  1. Ryan Vickers (LAMI OMG Racing Yamaha)
  2. Leon Haslam (ROKiT BMW Motorrad) +3.742s
  3. Luke Mossey (Tactix by Lloyd & Jones BMW) +5.332s
  4. Jack Kennedy (Mar-Train Racing Yamaha) +5.493s
  5. Lee Jackson (Cheshire Mouldings Kawasaki) +8.763s
  6. Franco Bourne (Marvel HCL Motorsport Honda) +29.700s
  7. Josh Brookes (FHO Racing BMW Motorrad) +33.342s
  8. Storm Stacey (Starline Racing Kawasaki) +33.995s
  9. Peter Hickman (FHO Racing BMW Motorrad) +37.127s
  10. Louis Valleley (Rapid CDH Racing Kawasaki) +39.895s

Race 2:

  1. Kyle Ryde (LAMI OMG Racing Yamaha)
  2. Leon Haslam (ROKiT BMW Motorrad) +0.224s
  3. Christian Iddon (Oxford Products Racing Ducati) +1.489s
  4. Lee Jackson (Cheshire Mouldings Kawasaki) +1.755s
  5. Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) +2.138s
  6. Ryan Vickers (LAMI OMG Racing Yamaha) +3.791s
  7. Charlie Nesbitt (MasterMac Honda by Hawk Racing) +6.387s
  8. Josh Brookes (FHO Racing BMW Motorrad) +6.678s
  9. Max Cook (Cheshire Mouldings Kawasaki) +9.655s
  10. Peter Hickman (FHO Racing BMW Motorrad) +10.938s

Race 3:

  1. Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha)
  2. Christian Iddon (Oxford Products Racing Ducati) +6.936s
  3. Josh Brookes (FHO Racing BMW Motorrad) +10.884s
  4. Charlie Nesbitt (MasterMac Honda by Hawk Racing) +13.561s
  5. Jack Kennedy (Mar-Train Racing Yamaha) +16.183s
  6. Storm Stacey (Starline Racing Kawasaki) +16.414s
  7. Peter Hickman (FHO Racing BMW Motorrad) +16.797s
  8. Lee Jackson (Cheshire Mouldings Kawasaki) +17.368s
  9. Tommy Bridewell (BeerMonster Ducati) +17.862s
  10. Davey Todd (Milwaukee BMW Motorrad) +19.937s

Bennetts British Superbike Championship standings (after 10 rounds):

  1. Tommy Bridewell (BeerMonster Ducati) 368
  2. Glenn Irwin (BeerMonster Ducati) 360.5
  3. Kyle Ryde (LAMI OMG Racing Yamaha) 333
  4. Leon Haslam (ROKiT BMW Motorrad) 327
  5. Lee Jackson (Cheshire Mouldings Kawasaki) 324.5
  6. Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) 317.5
  7. Josh Brookes (FHO Racing BMW Motorrad Team) 292
  8. Christian Iddon (Oxford Products Racing Ducati) 264

Posted on Monday, October 2nd, 2023 in News

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