BSB 2015 Knockhill Images A

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BSB 2015 Knockhill Images A – By Jon Jessop

Shane Byrne doubles Knockhill

Defending champion Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne has set himself up perfectly for his home round of Brands Hatch (17/18/19 July) by scoring a Scottish double at Knockhill, holding off the challenges from his closest rivals in two intense races.

Byrne took the lead in the opening race with a decisive move over his team-mate Stuart Easton at the Hairpin on the opening lap and despite the Scot trying everything in his power to fight back, it wasn’t enough and he had to settle for a podium finish.

Michael Laverty had claimed second place on the Tyco BMW after a late surge to pass Australian Josh Brookes on the Milwaukee Yamaha at the Hairpin, but following a review by Race Direction he was later issued a one second penalty for overtaking in a yellow flag zone which dropped him back to fourth. The issued penalty moved Easton to second ahead of Brookes.

The second race started with Laverty hitting the front of the field on the Tyco BMW from Easton and Byrne with Brookes in fourth place. Laverty was defending hard until Byrne made a move to take the lead on the 13th lap and then the pack were dicing for positions when the race was red flagged for a sharp rain shower.

The 11-lap restarted sprint race to the finish was held in dry conditions and Byrne hit the front, holding off the attack from Easton and Brookes as a rejuvenated Ryuichi Kiyonari claimed fourth place for Buildbase BMW after a race one crash. 

Jason O’Halloran completed the top five for Honda Racing but it was disappointment for James Ellison at Knockhill as he crashed out of the opening race and then was forced to retire with a technical problem in the second race.

Shane Byrne (PBM Kawasaki) – R1: 1st, R2: 1st – “It might have looked easy, but I can tell you it wasn’t! The first race was long and the pace was not as quick and I had expected it to be, but I was desperate to be in front. In the second race I was one of the riders who put my hand up to get the race stopped. There are people saying if it had run another lap or so it would have been two thirds distance and a result declared – OK, I would still have the win, but to those people I would say come and ride at 155mph into the first turn with rain and see what it is like – it had to be stopped for safety reasons. I had a plan for the sprint race and  that was to start at the front and finish at the front. I was able to push hard and the bike was perfect and I can’t wait for Brands Hatch now!”

Knockhill upped Shakey’s tally to 66 career wins, with ten of those coming in Scotland and combined with his double victory at the previous round at Snetterton, his count of doubles now stands at 15. The results also mean that now he has extended his championship lead over Josh Brookes to 35 points with Easton moving up to third overall thanks to the Scot’s pair of second place finishes.

Shane Byrne: “The pace in the first race wasn’t the fastest but each time I tried to push hard and make the break, the bike was spinning up a bit and it didn’t quite feel right. My lead stayed around the 0.2 seconds mark so I tried to stay consistent, hitting all my lines, and then waited until the last couple of laps to go again. In the second race, the plan was to start from the front and finish at the front and with not having a full tank of fuel for the restart; I knew I could push hard straight away. The bike was perfect so a big thanks to the team and also to the guys at K-Tech and with Stuart in second, it’s been a great weekend for Paul Bird Motorsport.”

Stuart Easton: “I still haven’t managed a win at Knockhill after all these years but I’m pleased with second and third even though I was a bit disappointed with the result in the first race as I felt settled sitting behind Shakey and was strong in the last sector. Then Michael Laverty came under me and there was a bit of contact so I lost the tow to Shakey, I got beat up a bit but at least I got a podium. The second race was a lot better and it’s more points and podium credits so thanks to the team and well done to everyone at Knockhill for doing a great job.”

Paul Bird, Team Owner: “We’re on a roll at the moment and right from Friday morning the boys were on it and clearly showing their intentions. I had a feeling it would be a good meeting for the team as Knockhill’s traditionally given us good results and so it proved again. We’ve made further improvements to the bike which both riders took full advantage of and to take a double one-two on my Dad’s birthday is an excellent outcome, well done to everyone at Paul Bird Motorsport.”

Josh Brookes continued his run of podium finishes with his pair of third places. 

Josh Brookes – “We weren’t in a position to win this weekend and all we can do is try and improve things ready to try and come back stronger at the next rounds. I will watch the races at home and improve myself and look where I went wrong or even where I can improve to be better too. It is not the win that we were looking for today, but I am pleased to be on the podium for my sponsors and supporters.”

Billy McConnell found himself up against it all weekend as a bout of chicken pox left him severely under the weather and left his participation in doubt. However, the South Australian fought bravely on race day and, after taking 18th in qualifying, he was rewarded with 12th place in the opening race for the Tyco BMW squad.

Starting from 11th on the grid for race two, the 28-year-old reigning British Supersport Champion was lying in 13th place when it was stopped due to rain just after half race distance. Restarted over just 11 laps, he was lying in a similar position and on for more hard-earned points but a mistake at the hairpin saw him run off track, eventually finishing in 21st position.

Billy McConnell: “It’s been another tough weekend but for vastly different reasons and getting chicken pox certainly wasn’t in the script! I looked like something out of a horror movie with all the spots and getting my helmet on was extremely painful although when I was riding it wasn’t too bad. I did feel more fatigued than normal though and Knockhill’s a demanding circuit at the best of times. I gave it my all in both races and picked up a few more points so am looking forward to testing at Mallory next week and then bouncing back at Brands Hatch in two weeks’ time.”

Broc Parkes was determined to move forward after qualifying in 23rd on the grid but he was left battered following a crash in warm up. In the race the Australian continued to climb the order to finish 14th and salvage two points. Parkes again endured a tough second race and improved his pace to finish in 14th position.

Broc Parkes – “I am pretty happy to leave Knockhill to be honest and get to Brands Hatch as it wasn’t the easiest of weekends. I found more pace in race two as I got more familiar with the bike and circuit but I am still not happy with the results and definitely want more at Brands Hatch which is one of the circuits I know well.”

Josh Waters was looking for a solid points haul in race one after improving the bike and his times all through practice. After an intermittent problem he retired in race one, but raced to 15th in race two.

Josh Waters: “It’s been a frustrating weekend results-wise but we’ve further improved the bike and we are definitely moving in the right direction. It’s so tight around Knockhill and the times are so close, but we’re taking the positives away from the changes to the bike and we’ll keep working at Brands Hatch.”

Countryman Jed Metcher scored strong 15th and 16th place finishes on the PR Racing Kawasaki. His 2015 BSB campaign only started at Snetteron after the Victorian struggled with VISA problems for the early part of the season.

Race one

1: Shane Byrne (PBM Kawasaki)

2: Stuart Easton (PBM Kawasaki) +0.495s

3: Josh Brookes (Milwaukee Yamaha) +0.952s

4: Michael Laverty* (Tyco BMW) 1.345s

5: Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) +3.657s

6: Danny Buchan (Be Wiser Kawasaki) +5.360s

*Laverty received a 1 second time penalty for overtaking in a yellow flag zone

Race two

1: Shane Byrne (PBM Kawasaki)

2: Stuart Easton (PBM Kawasaki) +0.436s

3: Josh Brookes (Milwaukee Yamaha) +0.771s

4: Ryuichi Kiyonari (Buildbase BMW) +4.518s

5: Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) +5.064s

6: Michael Laverty (Tyco BMW) +6.134s

Championship standings

1: Shane Byrne (PBM Kawasaki) 201

2: Josh Brookes (Milwaukee Yamaha) 166

3: Stuart Easton (PBM Kawasaki) 139

4: James Ellison (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 118

5: Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) 96

6: Tommy Bridewell (Tyco BMW) 86

British Supersport

Kyle Ryde took his second victory of the campaign to move within a single point of Motorpoint British Supersport Championship leader Glenn Irwin who dropped back to third in the Feature race under late pressure from Jake Dixon.

Gearlink Kawasaki’s Irwin had set the initial pace holding off the Profile Triumph of Luke Stapleford with Ryde and Dixon in close contention but the turning point in the race came after the intervention of the Nissan GT-R Safety Car after Ben Wilson crashed out of contention.

Ryde was switched on to the job as the Safety Car pulled in, upping the pace when it mattered the most to take Irwin by surprise and charge his PacedayZ Trackdays Yamaha into the lead.  Irwin tried to stay with him  but was also having to fight off the determined challenges of Luke Stapleford.

They traded places with Dixon on the fringe of that scrap while up front Ryde had the edge and en route to victory by 0.647s and he said: “It was a weird race for me, I didn’t think I had the pace to get-away. Then going past a back-marker Glenn came by but I put in two good last laps and it came good for me.”

Dixon who was running under the lap record, pushed his Smiths Triumph into second place, with a neat move at the Hairpin as Irwin strayed a little off line.  Dixon felt he should have done better: “We should have won it but for my mistake when the Safety Car came in – I was just to slow to get going again. And I have to thank my team for working late into the night to fix my bike after my crash.”

Irwin took third, but with a single point lead over Ryde, but he is not thinking about the title: “Five rounds in not yet, rather taking it race by race. I thought I was going to win that one but made a little mistake at the Hairpin but fair play to the other guys it was a great race.”

Luke Stapleford ran fourth, which dropped him to third in the standings with Sam Hornsey fifth ahead of James Rispoli with in seventh place the Supersport EVO class winner Joe Collier. Luke Hedger despite having to start from pit-lane start, finished eighth.

South Australia’s Levi Day took third and fourth in the EVO sub-category across the weekend – “Happy enough with those results, probably pushed a little to hard today and made some errors while fighting for 2nd. Some good points for the championship and nice to grab a trophy at another track.”

Motorpoint British Supersport Championship, Knockhill, Feature race result

1: Kyle Ryde (PacedayZ Trackdays Yamaha)

2: Jake Dixon (Smiths Triumph) +0.647s

3: Glenn Irwin (Gearlink Kawasaki) +0.723s

4: Luke Stapleford (Profile Triumph) +1.823s

5: Sam Hornsey (Profile Triumph) +3.742s

Motorpoint British Supersport Championship standings

1: Glenn Irwin (Gearlink Kawasaki) 172

2: Kyle Ryde (PacedayZ Trackdays Yamaha) 171

3: Luke Stapleford (Profile Triumph) 169

4: Jake Dixon (Smiths Triumph) 130

5: Joe Collier (Haribo Starmix Triumph) 83

Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Championship race

Josh Elliott tightened his grip on the title chase with a comfortable victory, some six seconds clear of the pack in an incident-packed race in which the Morello Kawasaki’s key rivals Hudson Kennaugh, Alastair Seeley and Luke Quigley all crashed out.  Michael Robertson ran second ahead of John Ingram with Jesse Trayler fourth from Alex Olsen and Tom Tunstall.

Pirelli National Superstock 600 Championship race

Tarran Mackenzie enjoyed home winning glory in the series in a race halted at two thirds distance by rain. The Stauff Connect Academy Kawasaki rider was well in charge, heading off Andrew Irwin with series leader Mason Law third ahead of Snetterton winner Ben Currie.

Ben Currie – 4th position: “A tough day in the office. Morning warm up got off to a great start with me finishing the session in P1 and we carried the momentum into the race by making a great start and snatching 1st place off Mason Law who we knew we had to beat in terms of the championship. I led for a few laps until the rain came down and I started riding conservatively. The others pushed on like there was no rain and came past me so I ended up 4th which is still good as I only dropped 3 points to championship leader Mason. Huge credit to the team for getting my bike competitive enough to win after a few little dramas during the weekend. I’ll be strong at Brands, I know I can win there.”

HEL Performance British Motostar Championship race

Taz Taylor saved the best for last with a neat move to regain the lead through the Hairpin on the last lap and that gave the RS KTM rider his first weekend double of the campaign and increased to 13 points his lead over Scott Derouse, who ran second, with Ed Rendell third. Cameron Horsman won the 125GP category ahead of the series leader Josh Owens  with Liam Delves third. 

Santander Consumer Finance KTM RC390 British Junior Cup – Sunday race one

Kevin Keyes snatched a dramatic last lap victory, bettering the lap record, as he reeled in series leading Thomas Strudwick and won the dash to the line by just 0.017s. Cameron Fraser took third ahead of James Nagy.

Santander Consumer Finance KTM RC390 British Junior Cup Sunday race two

Thomas Strudwick rounded off a productive weekend by taking his second win, albeit by less than a third of a second, ahead of Chris Taylor and Cameron Fraser, but together with his two seconds at the Scottish circuit he has opened up a 27 points advantage over Taylor going into the second half of the campaign.

Ducati TriOptions Cup race

Rob Guiver overcame the close attentions of Dennis Hobbs, trading places several times on the final lap to take his first victory of the season by 0.121s over the local hero. Leon Morris, who had led for a number of laps before running wide at the Hairpin fought back to third ahead of Greg Gilfillan and Robbie Brown.

Hyundai Heavy Industries British Sidecar Championship race

Ricky Stevens/Ryan Charlwood completed a Scottish double to extend their lead in the title stakes ahead of Andy Peach/Charlie Richardson who crossed the line a couple of seconds adrift of them. Roger Lovelock/Aki Alton with a late charge took third ahead of Ben Holland/Lee Watson who slowed in the closing stages with a machine issue.