Published: 06:00, 16 October 2020
Brands Hatch hosts a five-way British Superbike Championship season finale this weekend.
With 75 points up for grabs over three races at the Kent circuit there are four riders hoping to overhaul Australian’s Josh Brookes at the top of the tree.
Brookes won all five races during the two visits to Brands last year and leads the way ahead of Visiontrack Ducati team-mate Christian Iddon but snapping away at their heels are Glenn Irwin and Jason O’Halloran.
Fifth-placed Tarran MacKenzie is 46 points adrift, almost certainly too far off to challenge, but he hasn’t given up on his own hopes.
Honda Racing’s Irwin knows it’s a big ask to haul in hot-favourite Brookes, who is 18 points ahead of him, and says: “For me to win this championship I’ll have to beat Josh in all three races.”
Last year’s championship runner-up Brookes will take some stopping on a circuit he’s had plenty of joy on and that’s not lost on Irwin, who said: “It’s a huge task because Josh has shown phenomenal form at the GP track in recent years. I’m aware of how strong he’ll be.
“I go into the last round with a lot of hope and the realism that we can be the champion, but I don’t underestimate how difficult of a job that will be. What will be will be. It has been a great year for me regardless.”
O’Halloran is a point further behind Irwin and the racer is well up for the battle to try and chase down his fellow countryman.
“I like racing at Brands Hatch,” said the Wollongong-born rider
“I’ve had some really good races there in the past. I can’t wait to race there on the new Yamaha because we’ve been stronger at some tracks where we’ve struggled a little bit last year. I think this will be one of them.
“I’m expecting to be strong. Saturday will obviously be an important day for us, to try and beat our competitors, and make sure we take the title fight right down to the last race on Sunday and see if we can manage to lift the trophy on Sunday afternoon.”
Brookes himself, who is aiming for a second BSB title, said: “It’s nice to lead the championship going into the last round.
“I’ve often been going into Brands trailing and trying to win races to claw back. Hopefully this is enough this year to just enjoy the wins and hopefully the championship.”
Despite his triple win at Brands during last year’s finale, Brookes had to watch Scott Redding claim the title after being unable to overturn a 28-point gap.
Second placed man Iddon will be hoping to beat his Ducati team-mate for the 2020 crown and commented: “It’s all to play for at Brands Hatch and I’m looking forward to it.”
Title outsider Mackenzie said: “I am just going to get the best results I can and then the championship will sort itself out really.
“Brands Hatch is a track that I’ve been strong at in the past so there’s no reason why I can’t go and fight for three wins there.”
Race fans will be locked out of Brands due to Covid-19 restrictions but the action will be broadcast on Eurosport 2 over the weekend. Race one takes place at 3pm on Saturday while Sunday’s double-header goes off at 12.30pm and 3pm.
Current standings: 1 Josh Brookes (Visiontrack Ducati) 225, 2 Christian Iddon (Visiontrack Ducati) 209, 3 Glenn Irwin (Honda Racing) 207, 4 Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) 206, 5 Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) 179.