Ryuichi Kiyonari powered BMW to their historic first ever victory in the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at Knockhill in Scotland today. The Japanese rider came tantalisingly close to making it a double, but was denied the victory by just 0.176s in race two by Shane “Shakey” Byrne after an epic duel between the triple title-winners.
It was Kiyonari’s first victory in three years and the result was even more impressive after he bounced back from a crash during the morning warm-up session. Kiyonari made the perfect get-away on his Buildbase BMW to lead throughout the opening race with Byrne pushing to overcome a sluggish start and unable to close the gap in the final stages.
Kiyonari reflected: “I was very nervous before the start as I was very disappointed to have the crash which was my big mistake. When the race started though it went and I thought ‘I can’t let Shakey’ get me’. I got the gap and tried hard to hold off Shakey which is never easy, but I enjoyed the race and the win. It feels so good to win again.”
Byrne blamed himself for his slow start and despite giving chase to his rival was forced to settle for second ahead of his team-mate Stuart Easton who scored his first podium finish of the season at his home round.
Byrne was determined to set the record straight in race two, but he was unable to shake off the resurgent Kiyonari who closed him down and then snatched the lead with a decisive move at the Hairpin. The Buildbase BMW rider had the edge until a dramatic moment when he was flicked up out of the seat and it handed Byrne the opportunity to pass. Kiyonari hadn’t given up though and chased him down hard, closing from 0.8s to just 0.176s at the finish line and within striking distance of his rival.
Byrne said: “It’s fair to say that Kiyo has been the man to beat all weekend, his pace has been phenomenal. He came past me and then when he made a mistake I knew that was my chance. I got it back, but he still tried to get me, like a little robot with a chip in him not wanting to give up.”
Kiyonari added: “I am disappointed to not have won again. I am happy to show that I can still win and finish on the podium and I have to thank the team. I was strong in race two and Shakey was very fast but it was difficult and I made mistakes. Next time I will try for no mistakes and for more podiums or wins at Brands Hatch, my favourite circuit.”
Walker, despite the pain of a broken finger sustained in a crash during Friday free practice returned to the podium in third place ahead of a disappointed Brookes and Easton.
Brookes said: “I am a bit confused with today really. I used the same bike and the same tyres all weekend, but yesterday we were able to set a better pace than we have today. It wasn’t a particularly different day from the rest of the weekend here in terms of conditions and yet I don’t know where the lap time went. I tried everything to go faster and ride harder, but what was really frustrating for me was not that I came fourth, but that Shakey wasn’t his dominant self and I wasn’t able to capitalise. It is when he is having a bad day that I have got to have a good day. When he is having a poor weekend by his regular standards it was an opportunity for me to pounce and I fumbled. I am frustrated and I don’t have any answers so I have just got to put this round behind me and work on going further ahead at Brands Hatch.”
British Superbike Championship Standings
- Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) 190
- Josh Brookes (Milwaukee Yamaha) 111
- James Ellison (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) 108
- Tommy Bridewell (Milwaukee Yamaha) 88
- Ryuichi Kiyonari (Buildbase BMW) 82
- Chris Walker (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) 76
Luke Mossey celebrated the victory in the Motorpoint British Supersport Championship Feature race at Knockhill whilst yesterday’s race winner Graeme Gowland crashed out of contention.
Gowland’s race was over before it started as he crashed at turn two, ending his hopes of making it four wins in a row. Chaz Beale crashed at turn one and the Nissan GT-R Safety Car was deployed and as the pack settled down behind the order was Luke Stapleford, Luke Jones, Luke Mossey, Jake Dixon and Billy McConnell.
When the race was resumed the riders jostled for position at the front with Mossey and Stapleford switching positions throughout before Mossey edged ahead. McConnell and Stapleford then were dicing for positions and with contact between the pair neither we giving an inch. On the final lap McConnell had the edge and he held on to second for the Smiths Racing Triumph team.
Dixon held fourth with Alastair Seeley heading off the challenge from Glenn Irwin for fifth position. In the Motorpoint British Supersport Evo race Alex Olsen claimed the victory from Tim Hastings and Ben Field.
Motorpoint British Supersport Championship standings after Knockhill
- Billy McConnell (Smiths Triumph) 152
- Graeme Gowland (Smiths Triumph) 111
- Alastair Seeley (MarTrain Yamaha) 102
- Luke Stapleford (Profile Triumph) 102
- Glenn Irwin (Gearlink Kawasaki) 100
Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Championship race
Series leader Danny Buchan charged to victory at record pace but behind there was a spectacular duel for the placings with Lee Jackson snatching second place from David Johnson with Jason O’Halloran fourth.
Pole starter Buchan led throughout, pulling clear and his cause was helped when reigning champion Hudson Kennaugh tipped out of second place at quarter distance. Adam Jenkinson took over in second but he later crashed too.
Johnson held second through to the start of the final lap but Jackson had other ideas, pushing ahead of him and winning the dash to the line to be a distant second to Buchan who enjoyed his third win in four starts.
David Johnson – “Decent weekend! Podium finish. Had 2nd position most of the race under control until we had problems, which caused a couple of bad laps and let Lee Jackson and Jason O’halloran to close in… Lee got past and I held third. All good. On to the next round, thanks to Lloyd & Jones PR Kawasaki! Faultless once again!
“Really happy with our race pace as we were making ground on the riders in front of me. We are making points back on a good group of riders in front of me in the championship which is really positive, just need to keep working hard and smart to get these podiums and decent championship points! Thanks to my team at CPE Motosport for all the hard work and support in giving me such an awesome Kawasaki to ride! Thanks to my family and all my sponsors and supporters.”
Pirelli National Superstock 600 Championship race
Series leader Andy Reid aboard the FFX Yamaha held off the determined late challenges from Tarran Mackenzie on the WD40 Kawasaki to take the victory by half a second. Reid said “I pushed hard at the start to try and pull a good gap but then I started making a few little mistakes and told myself to calm down, it is a long race, take the pace back a bit, and preserved the tyres. I had problems with front brake fade in the closing stages of the race but I am on top again and have extended my lead in the championship.” That win increased Reid’s lead to 37 points over James Lodge who finished back in sixth place. Joe Collier took third place ahead of Snetterton race winner Kyle Ryde.
Levi Day – “Pushed hard in the race today! Got held up a little in the first few laps, then tried creating more of a gap than was probably there into the first turn. Came into contact with another rider, somehow we both stayed on the bikes but ran off track and gave the fairings a bit if a battering! I rejoined in 10th to work my way back up to 7th at the end of the race.”
Ducati TriOptions Cup – sunday race
Dennis Hobbs overcame early pressure from Paul McClung to completed a “home” double and move himself closer into contention for the title.
Hobbs led the opening lap but then McClung snatched the initiative to take the lead, but crashed as he battled with Hobbs. Series leader Leon Morris settled for a safe second, some 2.378secs down on Hobbs with reigning champion Marty Nutt third.
Motul British Motostar British Championship race
Jordan Weaving held off the determined Joe Irving to take a hard earned victory in the Moto3 class, crossing the line 1.487secs clear after an epic battle. Irving had a problem just before the start, and that meant a back of the grid start for the pole-sitter but he charged into contention to be running second at half distance. Irving closed in dramatically, running barely a quarter of a second down, and the making a last lap lunge at the Hairpin in a vain attempt to snatch the victory, only to run wide and lose ground. Jayson Uribe ran third while the winner of the 125GP class was Ed Rendell, fifth overall on the Banks Honda, with Arnie Shelton and Elliott Lodge completing that podium.
Eastern Airways British Sidecar Championship – Sunday race
Sean Hegarty/James Neave completed the double over Roger Lovelock/Aki Alto to extend their lead over them to 38 points but in contrast to the close finish in the Saturday race, this was much more comfortable with the victory margin some eleven seconds. Andy Peach/Charlie Richardson finished third after Tony Brown/Ashley Hawes pulled off with a machine problem.