Yamaha Motor Co. is celebrating 20 years of its Yamaha R1 and with good reason. It’s been a leading 1000cc superbike ever since its release in 1998 – not just on the road but also on race tracks across the globe. The other good bit of news is that the latest incarnation of R1 is just as an effective tarmac missile today. Proof – if ever it was really needed – came at the end of race one from Brands Hatch this weekend (21-22 July), when McAMS rider Josh Brookes took the chequered flag.
Round six of BSB arrived at Brands Hatch in sunshine and high temperatures – a perfect combo for the riders, teams and spectators alike. In race one, McAMS Yamaha made the most of the conditions with the pairing of Josh Brookes and BSB rookie Tarran Mackenzie pushing their Yamaha R1 bikes to the limit.
Brookes eventually took the win (only just with 0.23sec splitting them) from Glenn Irwin on the Be Wiser Ducati – yes, another of our supported teams – Mackenzie saw a possible third place disappear in a cloud of sparks and dust when he unfortunately crashed out on the penultimate lap. Title leader Leon Haslam turned the pressure valve further open with a solid third place to nett more points and further increase his lead.
Andrew Irwin, the second team rider for Be Wiser Ducati finished race one in ninth, while the remaining EP supported teams also fared well inside the final top ten: Tyco BMW riders Christian Iddon and Michael Laverty finished fifth and tenth respectively; and Peter Hickman of Smiths Racing BMW finished in a hard fought sixth spot.
Come race two and all eyes were on Josh Brookes. After his pace in initial race warm up and the race one win, the prospect of Brookes delivering another fast get away from the lights was too good to miss. True to form, Brookes took off like he’d just clocked off after a hot Wednesday at work. From that first lap he maintained a tactical race, keeping just ahead of the pack until near the end, when once again the hard charging Glenn Irwin and his Be Wiser Ducati came perilously close to sneaking the win.
It was Brookes who crossed the line first but by only 0.09sec ahead of Irwin, who again had to be content with second place. Haslam again rocked up to take third place to make the top three result a mirror finish of race one. Brookes’ team-mate Tarran Mackenzie shook of his race one get off to edge closer to getting his BSB podium finish with a determined fifth place. Christian Iddon rode the footpegs off his Tyco BMW S 1000 RR to follow in sixth position. Peter Hickman of Smiths Racing BMW closed the top ten finishers.
It would be fair to say that all members of McAMS Yamaha celebrated their weekend’s results on Sunday evening. We can only wonder if staff at Yamaha Motor Co. put away some saki with the result that Josh Brookes became King of Brands on a Yamaha R1… in the same year the Japanese brand celebrates the Yamaha R1 20th Anniversary.
Next month (3-5th August) BSB heads south-west for round seven at Thruxton. Wonder if it’ll still be scorchio?