16-year-old Daniel Brooks from the Medway towns in Kent spoke to us at the beginning of 2018 as he was about to embark on his maiden British Motostar season. So we recently caught up with him to see whether it was what he expected and what his plans are for 2019.
With the demise of the KTM British Junior Cup at the end of 2017 he switched to a Honda NSF250R in the standard class of Motostar.
In 2018 he finished his rookie year in 15th position with 44 points. There will always be ups and downs, especially in your first year. There were a number of engine problems that dogged him and his team from Knockhill through Brands Hatch and on to Thruxton. At Brands Hatch he didn’t actually get to compete in either race as the issues continued.
“Brands Hatch was a disaster for us. The bike wasn’t running. We had a problem in qualifying and we couldn’t find it all weekend so we didn’t even start a race,” Brooks commented.
However, it wasn’t all bad news. There were some real positives too. His best race result was a 6th place at Cadwell Park in August although his highest scoring round was at the second visit to Oulton Park where he picked up two top ten finishes and 15 points.
Race one at Cadwell Park Brooks managed to hold off a strong challenge from both Ross Turner and Rhys Irwin to take sixth place. He had qualified 13th in the standard class and the three youngsters diced for the entire 8 lap race.
Brooks told us, “I climbed through into the pack and battled my way through and managed to get sixth. We were switching positions throughout the whole race.”
Unfortunately, he was unable to repeat the success in race two. In the morning warm-up he had a 100mph crash that left him with a swollen hand. He was passed fit to ride but ended with a DNF after an incident at the famous mountain part of the circuit whilst running near the top ten.
“I was running comfortably, I was in a good position, and just came over the mountain and there was no power. I realised the chain had come off which wasn’t ideal.”
Brooks added though, “I came away from Cadwell really positive because I knew I had the pace to run with that pack.”
At Oulton Park in September Daniel Brooks scored points in both races.
In the first race the original start was red-flagged when rain began to fall. With the riders all switched to wets Brooks started fifteenth but was quickly up to ninth and eventually crossed the line to finish eighth.
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Brooks and the team opted for slick tyres in the second race. Although the track was damp there was a clear line developing. Having carefully negotiated the first few laps he came home in ninth place.
Taking about race two Brooks informed us,” That race was a bit manic because at the start everyone thought it was wet. Then suddenly everyone changed to dry tyres. We had already changed tyres because we could see there was a dry line. The race was delayed [while riders swapped tyres]. When it got going I felt really good. It was another race-long battle with Rhys Irwin and Josh Whatley.”
He added, “Races like that are what I like. I gain experience of the others riders. I can then carry that on when I’m battling with others.”
At the final round Brooks didn’t manage to score points but made it to the final lap in race two which was better than most. In fact, in the treacherous rain he had launched from P10 to fifth in the first lap but with the finish line in sight he slid off. No points but he had showed he had the pace in poor conditions.
Brooks said, ” I had a great weekend despite the crashes. I had good pace in both wet and dry conditions and felt comfortable in each race. Race 1 I had a big crash on the final lap running in a good sixth place. After a night of repairing the bike we had a great warm-up and I was feeling good for race 2. The conditions were treacherous rain so it was a difficult one. I managed to hold fourth for the whole race until sliding off on the final corner. This was unfortunate but I gained experience and moved on.”
At the end of December 2018, and also back in October, Brooks was training with CircuiMoto out in Spain as part of his preparation for 2019. He hopes to make another visit before the season starts again.
However, like a lot of riders Brooks is looking for backers and at the moment his plans for 2019 have not been finalised. Ideally, he wants to be back in the BSB Paddock racing in the Hel Performance British Motostar standard class once more.