Features 31 Oct 2017

Five Questions Why: Josh Brookes

Experienced BSB contender speaks about a variety of subjects.

This year has been a mega one for Australian international Josh Brookes, focused on the British Superbike Championship with Anvil Hire Yamaha and finishing second, as well riding Phillip Island’s World Superbike opener as a wildcard, plus lining up at the Suzuka 8 Hours, the Isle of Man TT and the Classic TT. CycleOnline.com.au spoke to him this afternoon to find out the answers of five questions beginning with the word ‘why’.

Source: Supplied.

Why were you riding so many different events and bikes this year?

Because I wasn’t riding for a factory brand, so to get a ride in BSB I rode with Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha – they didn’t compete in the North West 200, Isle of Man or any other road racing stuff. So I was able to do a private deal with Norton because they weren’t racing in BSB and my team wasn’t racing in the Isle of Man TT. Also, Suzuki were looking for a rider for the 8-Hour and, because I wasn’t a contracted rider to a brand, it sort of left me open. It wasn’t a planned situation, it sort of unravelled itself in that manner.

Why was it that you enjoyed that variation so much?

I was just doing the things I wanted to do. Normally if you’re signed to a brand, you sort of live, breathe and speak everything of that brand’s name and under that brand’s direction. Because I was sort of an independent this year, I was able to pick and choose, so therefore I picked and chose the events I wanted to ride and who I wanted to ride for. It turned out to be a good experience, and yeah, I definitely enjoyed having the freedom – that was the main thing, having a bit of freedom.

Why do you feel finishing second in BSB with Anvil Hire Yamaha was so rewarding as a rider?

For a number of reasons, obviously when you ride for a high profile team that has lots of success in the past, people will automatically expect you do the same thing, irrespective of who the rider is or their capabilities. If you go into a successful team, you’re expected to carry on the success. Because I went with a team that hadn’t previously had success, it was sort of more satisfying to achieve those new targets. They weren’t basically just matching what people had done before, every time we had a good result, it was a new target for the team and myself within the team. Also, because – I don’t want to say criticism – people were skeptical of how successful the year would be. Early in the year before we started, there was talk and people’s comments were ‘he’ll only do three rounds and quit that team because they’re not good enough’, or ‘he’ll fight with the team owner and they’ll both want to go separate ways’ – there were all sorts of comments where people didn’t think it would be a success. To be able to get a good result was kind of rewarding on that front as well.

Source: Supplied.

Why did your previous title-winning R1 experience prove instrumental, if it did at all?

I think it did, I think also getting Stu [Winton] on board – the first couple of rounds we were kind of working on my experience and what I knew about the bike, but as a rider, as much as I knew, it was still limited. So I needed some support mechanism within the team, more than what they had already. So having Stu come over, you know, was also very helpful, and what he knew of me and the bike obviously paid dividends. I just think it was a hard enough task to run with an independent run – basically a family run team, and trying to run against a bigger supported team with more budget. The rules in BSB are quite good, it means a private team can build a bike that’s fairly competitive. At the end of the day, budget has a big affect as well. So being slightly short on budget, having that experience on the bike was important, because trying to learn a new or different bike as well as having a smaller team probably would’ve been too difficult to get the results that we got.

Why will your BSB championship hopes rise even further next year, considering your future’s not yet been announced?

I think having more financial support with the team I’m going to, it’s a more established Superbike team and has a greater budget and access to parts to further what I was able to do this year. My output is fixed, I can’t develop amazing new skills or talent, I’m sort of limited to what I can do. I already have a lot of experience, so to lift the level that I need to, I need more support in other ways. So moving to a more financially-supported team with more access to parts and things like that should be able to extend our ultimate performance – that’s the best way to describe it.