The FHO Racing BMW Motorrad team are celebrating once again after Josh Brookes retuned to the podium not once but twice on Sunday, storming to victory in the second Bennetts British Superbike Championship race at Silverstone, then wrapping the day up second aboard the BMW M 1000 RR.
Having already visited the podium in Saturday’s 15-lap sprint race, Brookes started the longer 30-lap race from the front row in third place. Taking the lead on lap five, the FHO Racing rider held his position at the front fending off the chasing pack behind. The win was Brookes’ 55th in the championship and his first since 2020.
The final race of round one saw Brookes complete the podium positions across the weekend as he came home second, scoring his 150th BSB podium to date. Leaving the first round of the 2023 season Brookes and the FHO Racing team are leading the championship with 48 points.
Meanwhile for teammate Peter Hickman the weekend was a frustrating outing at the 1.64-mile circuit. Having finished 11th in Saturday’s opening race, Hickman crashed during Sunday’s morning warm up on the outlap, which saw significant damage to his BMW machine.
The FHO Racing squad worked hard between sessions and got ‘Hicky’ out on track for the second race. Despite the teams’ efforts he retired from the race on the second lap, with an issue that is believed to have been an electrical fault due to the crash earlier that day.
For the final outing of the weekend Hickman lined up at the back of the grid in 24th, but it wasn’t long before he’d made his way through the pack and at the end of the first lap he was up to 15th place. With strong lap times across the race, ‘Hicky’ impressively matched teammate Brookes with a best lap time of 53.537, who was in the leading pack. Hickman eventually crossed the line 12th.
In the all-new ABK Beer 0% BMW F 900 R Cup, Richard Cooper got the season off to a strong start with a pole position and two wins. Winning one of Saturday’s heat races, ‘Coopes’ also claimed the first-ever Main Event victory after a hard-fought battle with Thomas Strudwick and Michael Rutter. Kate Walker also enjoyed her debut BSB event, where she secured a place in the Main Event race after finishing sixth in the LCQ Race.
The FHO Racing BMW Motorrad team now have a quick turnaround before heading to Oulton Park for a two-day test (11-12 April), ahead of the second round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship, which takes place across the May Bank Holiday weekend (29 April – 1 May).
Josh Brookes: “I’ve spent a long time speaking about this moment, when I was winning regularly I used to think the next one is at the next race and then the last two years have been quite hard to accept knowing I can’t get the results. People start to doubt you and I don’t blame anyone for that it’s only natural, whether its fans or other teams, maybe they’re thinking you’re slipping and you’re getting old. So, I have thought about this moment a lot the past couple of years, so I don’t really have quite the emotional words to say, but it certainly feels good to win for myself and for the team.”
“It’s perfect leading the championship after the first round. We are always optimistic that we are going to have a good bike, a good package, but to get into the opening round and already have three podiums it’s just ideal! We are in a perfect place to build for the rounds to come.”
“I always believe that if things were good that we could do this and better, but you’ll also have that realistic mind that it’s a difficult series, lots of good riders and it’s always hard for racing, so you can never be sure you’re gonna get good results like this, so yeah definitely pleased for these positions.”
Peter Hickman: “The crash in warm up was probably the most unusual crash I’ve ever had in my career, and it unfortunately really destroyed the bike. The bike absolutely demolished itself and the boys did a great job to get it back together again for the race, but going to the grid there was some sort of misfire, which we thought we had fixed on the grid. I then went for the warm up lap but it actually got worse, so I came in and we then thought it could have been the quick shifter so we disconnected it and I was just going race without the shifter, which is possible, it’s hard work and you’ll never be as fast but it is possible.”
“I went out from pit lane and actually it wasn’t that at all, there was something else going on as the bike was still misfiring, so I ended up pulling out of the race which was really disappointing. I then started the final race from the back row of the grid and I had an interesting first lap, I think I moved up nine places! I was feeling really strong actually and I think by lap 20 I was still only two seconds off the leader, which is not a lot at all, especially from the back row of the grid.”
“Afterwards the team told me that my times were actually faster than the leaders for the majority of the race which is really positive to know, but really frustrating at the same time! Silverstone has been one of those weekends, it’s round one, we can’t win the championship here but we can certainly lose it and we definitely did not lose it, so let’s move onto Oulton Park and see what happens.”
Faye Ho – Team Principal: “We came into the first round wanting to achieve the best we could, and I think with Josh’s results we did just that. FHO Racing was on the podium in all three races, and I’m so pleased we were able to give Josh a package that he was able to win with again.”
“Of course the weekend hasn’t been without it’s difficulties, but that’s racing. Although Pete’s results weren’t what he wanted, he had pace with strong lap times and matching Josh’s best time in the final race, showed just that.”
“This year we have a new bike, as well as a new team and I’m so happy with how everyone has gelled and worked together across the weekend. It’s early days, but I think we’re in for an exciting season.”