The 2020 Bennetts British Superbike Championship came to a head this weekend at Brands Hatch with any one of five riders still able to claim the title prior to Saturday’s first race of the weekend. Here’s how the action played out.
Jason O’Halloran took the initiative in Saturday’s race, one of the greatest in BSB history, by producing a masterful ride to win the first of the weekend. O’Halloran’s compatriot Josh Brookes set the early pace, holding off a resurgent Glenn Irwin who soared from seventh to second.
The Honda man took the lead from a stuttering Brookes and was soon joined at the front of the pack by O’Halloran and VisionTrack Ducati’s Christian Iddon. Irwin himself began to fade and was soon usurped in the top three by O’Halloran’s McAms Yamaha team-mate Tarran Mackenzie.
As a battle ensued between Iddon and Mackenzie for second place, O’Halloran was able to pull the pin and race clear of the chasing pack to seal the victory and leave the title picture with more questions than answers as he cut Brookes’ championship lead to just seven points heading into the decisive final Sunday of the season.
While he was swallowed up by the chasing pack in the opening race, Josh Brookes wasted little time in asserting his authority in race two by turning out a dominant performance to firmly swing the championship pendulum in his direction.
Brookes grabbed the lead in the early stages of the first lap and wouldn’t relinquish his position, swatting away the challenge of Tarran Mackenzie who drifted away on lap seven, falling more than two seconds adrift of Brookes. Jason O’Halloran managed to shake off Christian Iddon’s advances and place himself as Brookes’ main rival for the chequered flag.
Despite managing to eat into the Ducati rider’s advantage, the Yamaha man still found himself more than a second behind his fellow countryman which allowed Brookes to extend his advantage to twelve points meaning that a top three finish would seal the championship for the VisionTrack Ducati man.
It was more of the same from Brookes who won the championship in emphatic style, five years on from his first when he came top of the standings on the Milwaukee Yamaha in 2015.
It was another dominant performance, fitting for a champion as he once again held off the challenges of O’Halloran and Mackenzie respectively, knowing that falling behind the Yamaha pair could spell the end of his championship ambitions.
The final standings saw Brookes take the title, 22 points clear of nearest challenger Jason O’Halloran. Christian Iddon ended his first season on the VisionTrack Ducati third in the final table with Glenn Irwin and Tarran Mackenzie rounding out the top five.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic restricting the BSB action we’ve seen this year, 2020 will go down as one of the most fiercely competitive seasons in recent years with no less than eight different riders tasting victory over the course of the year. Thoughts now turn to 2021 when hopefully we’ll see more of the same over a longer calendar. All that remains to say is congratulations to Josh Brookes on winning the title.
Featured Image courtesy of Ducati.