British Superbikes: Josh Brookes is at the double as Eugene Laverty fights back
Josh Brookes extended his British Superbike Championship lead at the weekend after recording a double victory in round 10 of the series in Assen, Holland.
The two races were ran in contrasting conditions, the first on a dry track with Toomebridge ace Michael Laverty (Tyco BMW) having his best ride of the season to fight for a podium behind run-away winner Brookes.
At the chequered flag, Australian Brookes was over six seconds clear of James Ellison, who had one and a half seconds to spare over Laverty, who was taking his first podium finish of the season.
He finished just ahead of defending champion Shayne Byrne, who had made a last-lap lunge to pass Laverty at the final chicane, running wide to allow the Tyco BMW a clear run to the flag.
Laverty said: "It's nice to be back where I feel we belong. This was a good moment. I moaned a bit after the last race, but credit to the Tyco BMW team, they basically built me a new bike and it was a lot better. It was a good way to start the showdown."
After rain and a delay, race two was eventually started with the majority of the grid on slick tyres. The lead changed hands five times with Dan Linfoot the early pacesetter in treacherous conditions.
Brookes was ahead on lap five of 15 before Luke Mossey and then Ellison had a turn at the front.
Brookes remained patient and passed Ellison two laps from the end, the Milwaukee Yamaha streaking clear to take the race victory. His championship lead is now 28 points over Byrne, who could only manage fifth.
Laverty, now fourth in the title chase, started the race cautiously and ended up ninth while Tommy Bridewell, eighth in race one, crashed out in spectacular fashion and lies fifth in the championship.
In British Supersport, also at Assen, Glenn Irwin came away with finishes of fifth and third, both races won by champion-elect Luke Stapleford.
Irwin said: "This podium was long overdue. I let the team down and I wanted to make up for that. It was a good race and congratulations to my brother Graemeon the birth of his first child."