THE first British Supersport champion, Paul Brookes, could soon be back tearing up the clubland tarmac as he eyes a return to racing this season.
And although it’s been nearly 30 years since he took the inaugural British Supersport title, the former Auto 66 front-runner’s competitive side is urging him to get back in the game.
Brookes, who turns 50 years young this week, hasn’t been sitting idly by either – he’s kept his tools sharp with trackdays on a Fireblade and plenty of mountain biking. But as he admits, the need for speed hasn’t yet departed.
“I seem to have got that bug again, I just want to get back into racing,” he told UK Clubsport. “I fancy another go at club racing or classics if I can get into it, I’ve just lost all my contacts.
“Back when I was racing, Jamie Whitham, Brian Morrison, John Reynolds all raced in the 600 class. And when I signed with Loctite Yamaha, my team mates were Terry Rymer and Rob McElnea… so it was a really competitive time.”
Brookes was riding high in the British championship ranks, but took a step back from it all after he lent his Honda 600 FM to a fellow rider who was tragically killed road racing at the Isle of Man TT.
“I had the Honda FM model in 1991 and after a bloke borrowed it for the TT and got killed, it just frazzled my brain a bit…I sort of lost confidence and lost interest.
“But I’ve just got that itch again – the Endurance Legends race would be great if I can find a ride. I’ve also been building this Yamaha FZR600 up as a replica of what I rode and won on that I’ll parade there at Donington.
“A friend of mine has quite a few CB500s, and he’s tried to get me on one of those… but racing at the moment is cracking in all the classes. I know I’m 50 this week but I still feel like I’m 21!”
His multiple club titles and former Champion of Cadwell medal may hang beside his British championship trophy, but Brookes has no qualms about starting from square one if he has to.
“I’ll ride anything really. Club level is what started me off and I’ll probably end up back there with a novice jacket, but you have to start somewhere.”
*Images supplied by Paul Brookes