Brookes nails Supersport opener Josh Brookes (Joe Rocket Honda CBR600RR) fired the opening salvo in the 2005 Australian Supersport Championship with a runaway victory in race one at Phillip Island today. The 21-year-old New South...
Brookes nails Supersport opener
Josh Brookes (Joe Rocket Honda CBR600RR) fired the opening salvo in the 2005 Australian Supersport Championship with a runaway victory in race one at Phillip Island today.
The 21-year-old New South Welshman was at his belligerent best, taking maximum advantage of pole position to score a start-to-finish win in the eight-lapper by an emphatic 5.817sec over teammate Adam Fergusson. In a clean sweep for Honda, Rocket Racing's impressive teenager Jason O'Halloran was third after a race-long tete-a-tete with Fergusson.
"That's a great way to start the year, but let me assure you there wasn't much in reserve," said Brookes. "My lap times were consistent though, and it proves that we've again got a brilliant package to work with.
"I'm looking forward to this afternoon's five-lapper, because I think you'll see the lap times get close to my Supersport lap record (1:37.111), which I set in 2003."
Brookes was the fastest rider on the 4.448km circuit in race one with a best of 1:38.036, set on lap three.
Brookes won the 2001 Supersport championship on a privateer Suzuki, and was on track to prevail again in 2004 -- he took the chequered flag in seven of the first nine races -- before breaking his pelvis in a sickening crash in Western Australia. He then missed the final three rounds, with Fergusson the eventual champion from Yamaha's Glenn Allerton and Honda's Russell Holland.
While Brookes enjoyed carte blanche, the battle for second between the evergreen Fergusson and O'Halloran -- another to miss most of 2004 with injury -- was a beauty, eventually won in favour of the reigning champion after an ambitious outside maneuvre by O'Halloran on the final turn came to naught.
"I simply ran out of room when I tried to get around Adam, and before I knew it I was off in the dirt," said O'Halloran, who finished second behind Josh Waters in the 2003 125 GP title. "These things happen, but it was still a great race for me -- and Honda."
Further afield, Waters, making his debut on the Team Kawasaki Australia ZX-6RR, improved three spots on his qualifying position to finish fourth, just inches ahead of race-long nemesis Mark Aitchison (Fraser Motorcycles Yamaha YZF-R6).
Jordan Coote (Yamaha GYTR YZF-R6), the 2002 national 250 Production champion, and Jeremy Crowe (Rapid Bikes Magazine CBR600) also fought out an illuminating battle, with the former eventually getting the better of that scrap. Caleb Stalder (John Holland CBR600RR), Jarradd Curran (MSC Products YZF-R6) and teenager Bryan Staring (Allect Racing CBR600RR) saw out the top 10.
Meanwhile, the only notable non-finisher was Queenslander Robbie Baird (YZF-R6), his first ride back in the factory Yamaha fold resulting in mechanical failure on the final lap. He sat in eighth position at the time.
The second Supersport race will be held at 4.55pm this afternoon, followed by the third and final instalment at 10.25am tomorrow.