Josh Brookes has ended his 2011 MCE British Superbike Championship campaign with fifth in the standings, in what turned out to be a positive first year with Relentless by TAS Suzuki.
The Australian made the switch to the newly Suzuki UK-backed team after two seasons on the HM Plant Honda, but struggled in the early stages after two spectacular crashes in the first few races.
Nonetheless, a determined mid-season push, which peaked with a victory in the weather-affected Brands Hatch round, launched Brookes back into the top six title showdown, culminating in a strong end that had him winning again at Silverstone.
Getting as high as third at one point, Brookes took another podium in the first Brands Hatch race, only to crash out in difficult conditions at the start of the second. Starting from 20th, Brookes fought his way up to sixth at the chequered flag, but it wasn't enough for him to get any higher than a final standing of fifth.
Despite a few ups and downs, Brookes is pleased with his first season on the Relentless by TAS Suzuki, saying he enjoyed himself in 2011.
“In that first race I was full of confidence knowing that I was starting from pole position. We've had an awesome weekend as far as lap times and the pace is concerned, but like a similar pattern to the rest of the year luck just hasn't been on our side. If that first race had just stayed wet… well I love it in the wet as much as I do in the dry. But it didn't stay wet and it wasn't exactly dry either and I caught one water patch in the middle of Paddock Hill bend.
“The spooky thing is I fell off running second at the first round of the year and also in the last race of the year here at Brands – both times chasing Shakey at Paddock Hill. This time I didn't go up so high and just slid off the low side! I damaged the bike pretty bad as it usually does and the last thing the guys want to be doing at the last round is working on motorbikes, but full credit to them. The bike was mint exactly as it has been all weekend for the final race.
“I had to start from twenty-first on the grid, so I just put the hat backwards and went as hard as I could. I bridged the gap but by the time I got to the leading group I'd worked that hard my tyre was shot to pieces.
“I was able to pass Michael Laverty and thought I was going to keep going, but I was riding as hard as I could and started to lose ground in certain areas and Michael ended up getting back by me as well. It's a tough way to end the season but I've enjoyed it all the way.
“Whilst we're putting on a good show and the crowd are cheering for us, it takes all the riders to do that and I think I played my part. I certainly enjoyed racing it this year. Thanks to everyone in the team for their support and also our sponsors.”