Ahead of Brands Hatch we wanted to start doing something different here at OMG for fans who want that little bit of extra insight, so over the upcoming months we’ll be introducing lots on new content here on the OMG site – with guides, info and the usual fun and games coming from people who know a little bit about the world of British Superbikes…
So without further ado, here’s our first mini-series! We collared @PaddockChatter’s Dave Neal (one-time motorstar commentator and BSB paddock hospitality connoisseur) at Silverstone and asked him if he fancied writing us up a little look back at some iconic moments from the archives, take it away Dave!
Brands Hatch, the jewel in the MSV Crown, is the venue for Round 4 of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship as arguably the most competitive domestic series in the world rolls in to the Garden of England for the Brands Big Summer Bash…although with the weather this week it could well be the Big Summer Splash!
With stunning vantage points all around the track it’s more difficult to find a bad spot than a good one. Either end of the start-finish straight is hugely popular as the bikes exit Clark Curve on full gassssss, as the kids say, to get the drive across the line before peeling into the blind, off-camber Paddock Hill Bend. On the infield at Druids gets you close to the action at the hairpin for those hold-your-breath-and-hope overtakes before wandering through the trees to the back section where the corner speed of man and machine can only be marvelled at.
Scene of some of the most iconic BSB moments of recent years and WorldSBK moments of years past, the history of Brands Hatch is there to see on almost every corner. The banks of sun-kissed fans that lined the circuit in the hey-day of ‘King’ Carl Fogarty and the excitement of watching long-lamented BSB wildcards showing the best of the world the way home on more than one occasion to more recent times as Tommy Hill edged John Hopkins by (and you can hear Jack Burnicle in your head when you say it) 6 thousandths of a second for the 2011 British Superbike title before Shane Byrne, Josh Brookes and Leon Haslam took their titles at this wonderful venue.
At least one round of the championship has been held at Brands Hatch on the GP or Indy layout, and occasionally both, since 1996 making a grand total of 69 BSB races providing 22 different race winners and 45 different podium finishers (no, I’m not going to name them all!). The most winningest – is that really a word?! Commentators use it often! – rider is Kent’s own Shane Byrne with 19 followed by Aussie Josh Brookes with 12. I suspect JB will be amongst the front runners again this weekend after a tough Donington Park.
Keep an eye on the lap times if the weather is good (hmmmm…) the fastest-ever 2 wheel lap was set during Q3 in 2017 by Shane Byrne at 1m 24.163, which is proper quick! The official lap record, which is the fastest RACE lap…it’s always confusing with fastest ever laps and then the lap record usually slower…was set by Josh Brookes 1m 24.873s, which itself isn’t shabby!
Good news for OMG Racing Suzuki is that the last winning manufacturer at Brands was a Suzuki so there’s some solid positivity going into the weekend.