By Christian Tiburtius
An exclusive interview with Tyco Suzuki star Josh Brookes in which the Australian speaks in detail about all aspects of his career, including this year's BSB title challenge and 'evo' technical rules, his impressive Isle of Man TT debut and much more...
You've just come back from Australia, do you enjoy living in England?
I enjoy racing in England, everything in life's comparative though. It's the same with motorbikes, the best bike is the one you know. If you've never ridden a great motorbike then the one you've got is perfect, when you ride a better one though... It's the same with where I live. Once you've experienced Australia as home, it's difficult to compare somewhere else to it.
I don't think it matters where you're born, you've always got that strong connection. Australia's a lovely country and it's definitely home. I like being in the countryside there and I feel really uncomfortable in built up areas.
I left Australia in '06 so I'm starting to be able to handle the weather too, I just have to accept the place for what it is and that includes the weather. The last couple of years I've been living in Northern Ireland anyway, and that's not the best place to pick for weather but that's just where the team is and that's where I've chosen to be.
For sure, when I get the opportunity to duck home though, I take it because I figured this year I'd only get one chance because of the TT, Northwest 200 and Japan for the Suzuka 8 hour.
How did you get into racing?
There's no racing history in my family, my dad was a social rider though and before he had a family he'd go out camping in the outback with some mates on a bike and go dirt bike riding. My elder brother was the one who really got me into it, he was always pursuing bikes and getting at dad to ride all the time so when I was born there was always a motorbike around. We grew up in five acres so had plenty of space to run about in.
We started to compete at motorbike events as kids and at the age of six I'd decided what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I just got this notion into my head that that was going to be my life. When I was a kid I used to watch videos of Rick Johnson, probably the best motocrosser in America at the time, because I was just into dirt bikes then. In '86, '87 and '88 he was the main man and I just thought he was the greatest guy in the world and wanted to be the same as him.
I can't remember the year, but dad took me to Eastern Creek, the second nearest road racing circuit to the western suburbs of Sydney where we live, to see my first race and that made a great impression. I remember looking out of the window of the car and could see bikes that happened to be on a session when we were arriving at the circuit cut through turns four and five and I was just amazed by it, I thought it was brilliant.
I remember Wayne Gardner being a significant figure but where it really hit was when Doohan was winning races and championships. I remember, it was Sunday night, 2 o'clock in the morning watching the Grand Prix and my mum shouting up to tell me I had school in the morning, I just had to watch the race though. It kind of became an obsession.