“I have won for the last two years in a row”
Yamaha World Supersport Team rider Broc Parkes has been racking up record laps and pole positions this season but in the approach to the Brands Hatch round he will be going for three in a row in the most valuable contest there
is, securing race wins.
For the past two seasons Parkes has won the World Supersport race at Brands Hatch and this year, having already notched up a race win at Qatar, he has already proved that his new YZF-R6 is up to the job once again.
In the most recent rounds Parkes has scored five Poles in a row but each time an unexpected development on raceday itself has seen Parkes not quite able to secure more race victories to add to his Qatar triumph.
Joining Parkes for the Brands and Donington WSS rounds, substituting for the injured Fabien Foret, is local rider Karl Harris. No stranger to the WSS paddock, Harris normally rides a YZF-R1 Superbike in the BSB series but has been drafted into the top Yamaha WSS team to make best use of his vast Brands Hatch experience, and of course to help Parkes in his championship challenge.
In the championship table, after eight rounds have been completed, Andrew Pitt leads on 133 points with Josh Brookes on 101 and Parkes, overall third, on 100.
Parkes, who knows that he has to make up ground in the championship chase this weekend, knows Brands is a layout that suits both Yamaha man and Yamaha machine. "I just want to do my thing and get a good result at Brands because we will have one month off immediately afterwards. We have five races remaining in the championship and we are 33 points behind. I wasn't happy with the result at Brno so I want to have a really good race result in the UK this weekend.
I have won for the last two years in a row, so I'm out to make it three. Brands is a special track because you can hear the fans sometimes, they are really enthusiastic and so close to you. It's not a very long track but it is one of the most flowing and the data tells us that the corner speeds are generally high. Our bike seems to work very well there, its character seems to suit the racetrack."
Harris, who came close to scoring WSS podiums in this class after winning the European Superstock Championship in 1999, said "I'm just happy to have this chance this weekend, especially at a British track that I know very well. I rode an R6 recently and it felt great to ride; the handling was fantastic. I will be doing my best to help the team and to get the best results possible. I am ready for this and ready to do well."
Wilco Zeelenberg, the Yamaha World Supersport Team Manager is confident that all the team's preparations have been made as well as they can be ahead of the latest WSS round. "We didn't have to work on the bike so much for the Brands weekend because our tests and preparations before Brno meant that we are ready now. Broc has won the past two races at Brands Hatch and we want to put him in the position to do that on raceday this year as well. He is so fast in one lap and his style works best when he has a lot of grip from the tyres. Brands should be a good place for him again. After Fabien got injured we have had to make some preparations for Karl's arrival, check the details a bit and adjust footpegs, handlebars, etc, but not so much. Karl knows the way around Brands and has also been on an R6 lately. We have to wait and see how he goes on the weekend. We went for a UK rider because it's Brands and Donington next. I think it is fair to say that Karl never really had the best bike in World Supersport but in the UK, when he was racing in that class, he had very good bikes, and stayed in the British series. He normally runs an R1 in the British Championship but when he rode an R6 recently, prepared by Rob Mac, he was fast straight away. Karl is more than welcome in the team and we will help him all we can, but of course he is not our first priority. Broc should do his job well so I hope Karl can compete with the other top competitors and put himself between Broc and the rest of the WSS paddock. We will have to wait and see what happens on raceday! After his big crash Fabien is doing fine, making good recovery and is today returning to his home from the hospital in Marseille. He is now up and about and able to move which is great news."