BSB Rider of the Year: 3rd - Josh Brookes
After another epic season of racing, MCN’s sports team of Michael Guy (Sports Editor), Simon Patterson (MotoGP Reporter) and Oli Rushby (Superbike Reporter) sat down to discuss who impressed them the most in each race series we cover to establish MCN’s top five riders in each category.
And with this year’s BSB championship closer than ever, it wasn’t an easy call to decide who deserved what spot in our top five riders of the year in the class. Here’s what we think – but feel free to disagree with us in the comments!
3rd: Josh Brookes
Considering people scoffed at Josh Brookes when his 2017 plans were announced, the Aussie enjoyed an incredible season to finish second, just three points off champion Byrne.
Signing for an unproven team which had scored just three points last year and suffered a number of technical difficulties, many BSB pundits expected Brookes to have a tough time of it, with some even claiming he wouldn’t finish the season with the Swadlincote-based Anvil Hire Yamaha squad.
However, with Brookes’ experience and that of his 2015 title-winning crew chief Stewart Winton, the team steadily made progress to the point where Brookes was challenging a dominant Byrne mid-season.
Taking the team’s first ever BSB win at Thruxton, Brookes edged himself further towards championship contention despite crashing out of two podium finishes.
While it was clear it wasn’t all plain sailing for Brookes and the small, private family team, he put up a valiant effort against two of the most ‘factory’ efforts you’ll find in BSB – Be Wiser Ducati and JG Speedfit Kawasaki. In some ways, for doing that alone on a private bike in BSB he deserves to be higher than third in this ranking!
Throughout the year he’d beat the Yamaha-backed McAMS team, enough to earn a ride within their ranks for 2018.
Another thing that impressed me this year was his never give up attitude, seen right until the end. Brookes knew he had the slimmest of chances at winning the 2017 crown. He needed to win the race and both Byrne and Haslam to suffer, and while the latter was out of his control, he did what he needed to do, just in case, and took the final top step of the year.