Josh Brookes's hopes of making the 2011 British Superbike title shootout were given a boost and a setback in equal measures after his first race win of the season was negated by a costly retirement.
The Australian did his chance of making the showdown a great service with an impressive ride from 13th to victory in the first race of the weekend, Brookes rewarded for an inspired tyre choice and a canny ride in difficult conditions to claim his first victory for Relentless by TAS Suzuki.
“The bike was perfect for the conditions and despite many other riders also on intermediate tyres, I didn't have any problems at all, even on the first four or five laps when water was still visible,” Brookes said after his race win. “I was confident to push and I had to because I was starting from row four. It proves how good a team we have to work through these conditions.
However, having been forced to start race two from 13th again after being unable to lap as fast as the newly slick-shod riders, Brookes could only make it back up to sixth position.
Furthermore, a technical issue in race three would force him out altogether, enabling his rivals to close up again in the fight for that all-important top six placing.
“I feel bad for the team. They always work so hard and for a tiny oil leak to end our race - after all the hard work - is disappointing. Bitter and sweet is how I'd describe this weekend. I did try very hard but sometimes you just need that little bit of luck too. I'm happy with race two where I came from thirteenth to sixth but it doesn't change the fact that it was only sixth when we are looking for podiums.”
Brookes is fifth in the standings, 11 points ahead of sixth place Ryuichi Kiyonari and 16 points up on seventh place man Michael Rutter with three races remaining.