Round 1 Brands Hatch Indy Circuit 21 April
Shane “Shakey” Byrne kicked off his bid to take the MCE Insurance British Superbike crown for a record fourth time in stunning style as he held off the opposition to win both races in the opening round at his home circuit of Brands Hatch.
The Rapid Solicitors rider had bounced back after starting from the fifth row of the grid for the opening race after crashing in qualifying yesterday, but he was up for the challenge and remarkably was running seventh on the opening lap as Chris Walker aboard the Lloyds British GBmoto Kawasaki forged ahead at the front.
Byrne was carving through the pack though and soon had moved to second, closing down Walker at half distance when the race was halted after James Hillier’s Quattro Plant Kawasaki suffered a technical problem dropping oil on the track. On the re-start Walker led briefly before Byrne forced his way ahead to win by 1.615s whilst James Ellison aboard the second Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki ran solidly in third to give the team their first podium finishes in MCE BSB ahead of Gearlink Kawasaki’s Ben Wilson.
Byrne took charge from the start in race two, running ahead of his team-mate Stuart Easton with Walker in third and Ellison in fourth, whilst behind them Josh Brookes was powering his Milwaukee Yamaha into contention. The Aussie who had crashed three times in qualifying had also slid out in the opening race and he was keen to set the record straight.
Brookes was riding hard to be in third place at two thirds distance and attacking Ellison whilst Byrne continued to lead. However the Milwaukee Yamaha rider hadn’t given up on his chance of victory and Brookes passed Ellison to go second and then closed in on Byrne. On the final lap Byrne had the narrow edge to complete the double, taking his victory tally to 53 in the series and taking the lead in the overall standings.
Byrne said: “This is the perfect start to the championship for me and it really has been a great team effort and I am proud of the boys for the work they’ve done to turn the bike around after the crashes. I’m feeling a bit second hand after two crashes but winning is a wonderful drug, although I’m ready for a day or two off now before Oulton Park!”
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