Defending BSB Champ Byrne takes first blood at Brands
Brookes races strongly to podium and still in the game
Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne closed Leon Haslam’s advantage in the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings ahead of tomorrow’s title-deciding final two races at Brands Hatch.
As the race got underway, Byrne had a slow start off the line as Josh Brookes, Christian Iddon and Haslam stole the advantage.
On the second lap Iddon fired the Tyco BMW into the lead at Paddock Hill Bend as Byrne closed in on Haslam.
A lap later though and the race was red flagged when Dan Linfoot suffered a technical problem which subsequently caused several riders to crash out of contention with Jake Dixon, Sylvain Guintoli, Michael Rutter and Martin Jessopp all involved.
On the restart Iddon led the pack after a lightening start ahead of Haslam, Byrne and Michael Laverty with Brookes, Jason O’Halloran and James Ellison in close contention.
Byrne though was on the attack and he made a move into second place and then had his sights set on the Tyco BMW ahead of him, passing Iddon to hit the front of the pack. The pair edged out an advantage, but behind Michael Laverty was forced to retire out of the battle.
Brookes was getting into a rhythm and was making moves through the field, forcing his way through into third place and gapping the battle for fourth behind him.
It was a fierce battle for supremacy but Haslam was not giving up without a fight and a typically determined performance saw him hold off Ellison and O’Halloran.
Peter Hickman held seventh place, just ahead of team-mate Lee Jackson and Bradley Ray. Richard Cooper completed the top ten for Buildbase Suzuki.
Shane Byrne – P1
“The bike’s been working well all weekend and pole position set me up nicely for the race. Everything was working well and when I saw the time I’d done, I was more than happy so I didn’t need to do anything else. In the re-started race, I got away at the front and it’s all I can do to try to win races. With the run of bad luck we’ve had, I’m in a situation where I’m so far behind Leon, the pressure’s off and I can just go out there and focus solely on racing. Christian pushed me hard but towards the end, I lowered my lap times to finish the race strongly. I haven’t won a race since July, which is a long time ago, and it’s almost like I’ve forgotten how to do it but I’ve got a great team behind me at PBM and with two races tomorrow, I’ll be trying to do exactly the same again.”
Jason O’Halloran – P6
“Well that’s race one done and to be honest you can never really be happy with sixth place, but I am happy with the pace we had. We’ve had a few rounds with crashes, small injuries and a few ups and downs, so to have a solid race like today and finish with the group I was in, is a positive. We do have a few things to work on for tomorrow, we made some changes for qualifying earlier in the day, which worked and improved our pace, but during the last quarter of the race as the tyre went away it did become difficult. So we do have some things to work on for tomorrow to be able to take that step to the next group and fight for the podium.”
Race one (16 laps)
- Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati)
- Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) +1.799s
- Josh Brookes (Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha) +2.196s
- Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +8.724s
- James Ellison (McAMS Yamaha) +8.785s
- Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) +8.994s
- Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) +14.568s
- Lee Jackson (Smiths Racing BMW) +17.260s
- Bradley Ray (Buildbase Suzuki) +17.305s
- Richard Cooper (Bennetts Suzuki) +17.576s
- Leon HASLAM 91 625 Kawasaki
- Shane BYRNE 67 604 Ducati
- Josh BROOKES 25 596 Yamaha
- Jake DIXON 27 558 Kawasaki
- Peter HICKMAN 60 558 BMW
- Jason O’HALLORAN 22 536 Honda
- Christian IDDON 24 207 BMW
- James ELLISON 77 196 Yamaha
- Luke MOSSEY 12 184 Kawasaki
- Dan LINFOOT 4 147 Honda