Shane Byrne and Leon Haslam share the Brands Hatch BSB spoils
Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne has become the fifth different winner in the 2016 MCE British Superbike Championship as the home hero claimed an emphatic victory in the second race at Brands Hatch after a fierce fight to the finish with Richard Cooper and race one winner Leon Haslam, who now holds a three point lead in the standings.
In the opening race Haslam had carved his way through the pack as at the front of the field his JG Speedfit Kawasaki team-mate James Ellison, Luke Mossey, Richard Cooper and Tommy Bridewell scrapped it out for the advantage.
Haslam had to use all of his experience to close in on the leaders after an early safety car period when the Nissan GT-R was deployed when James Rispoli, Jenny Tinmouth and Vittorio Iannuzzo crashed out at Druids.
The ‘Pocket Rocket’ first battled his way ahead of Cooper and Mossey, with the leading quartet inseparable and covered in the closing stages by just 0.3 seconds.
Haslam’s hopes of victory came down to the final lap and the JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider put in an incredible last lap to first pass Tommy Bridewell into Paddock Hill Bend and then out-drag his team-mate Ellison to the line by just 0.057 seconds.
Bridewell completed the podium to reward the Bennetts Suzuki team with their first podium finish of the season and Suzuki’s first since 2014.
In race two Mossey and Ellison again got a lightning start off the line and the pair traded blows to hold the lead ahead of Cooper and Haslam.
The Nissan GT-R Safety Car was deployed on the ninth lap when Michael Laverty suffered a technical problem with his Tyco BMW.
Ellison held the lead and when the race resumed Cooper was pushing him all the way as Ellison was forced to retire with a technical issue.
Four-time champion Byrne though was ready to bounce back from his ninth place in race one and he was moving up the pack rapidly; joining the fight for the victory between Cooper, Haslam, Mossey and Bridewell.
Byrne then delivered a master class of moves at Clearways, first on Bridewell and then just four laps later on Haslam, leaving just Cooper ahead of him in his quest for his first win of the season.
The Be Wiser Ducati rider left it until two laps remaining to make his move; completing the hat trick at Clearways to take the lead and hold off his rivals to the line.
Cooper returned to the podium ahead of Haslam who now holds the lead in the standings by just three points ahead of Knockhill next month. Bridewell narrowly missed out on a double podium finish in fourth place with Dan Linfoot and Honda Racing completing the top five which represented as many different manufacturers.
Jason O’Halloran was the top finishing Australian rider with 8-6 results across the Brands Hatch Indy weekend which saw the 28-year-old slip from fifth to sixth in the overall BSB Championship standings.
Billy McConnell failed to score any points at Brands Hatch and completed only four laps in the opening bout.
Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne – Ducati – 9th in race one, winner in race two
“It’s great to get the first win of the season and I’m sure it’s the start of some really good times for us. The bike’s proving hard to get off the line at the moment and the first race was dreadful whilst the second one was average and that gave me a better chance. In race two, I was able to get with the leading group and with two laps to go, I managed to get by Richard by running up the inside at Clearways where I was able to get the power down more effectively and held on for a victory. We have our first batch of upgrades coming in the next few weeks, so we’re in a good place for the next round. All credit must go to the team so a massive thank you to Paul Bird, Be Wiser, Ducati UK, Ducati Italy and all my crew for working so hard for me.”
Tommy Bridewell – Suzuki – 3rd in race one, 4th in race two
“It feels good to get that first podium of the season, especially after the start we had and some of the bad luck we’ve suffered. I felt really confident coming into the weekend. We had the test at Anglesey, which was positive for us, and I’ve known all along that the potential was there in both the team and the GSX-R1000. It’s still a competitive package. I knew we shouldn’t be down in the positions we were in at the first two rounds, and here we’ve been up at the sharp-end all weekend and fast in every session. I felt very comfortable in the first race and it was good to be at the front. In race two we had a small issue with rear grip; it dropped-off a lot earlier in the race than it had in race one, which meant I couldn’t maintain my pace. It was a shame to miss-out on another podium, but it’s done our championship position a lot of good. We’ve got the Snetterton test next and I fully-expect the same sort of performance at Knockhill.”
Luke Mossey – Kawasaki – Pole Position – 5th and 10th place finishes
“Everything felt perfect this weekend on my Kawasaki and I was really looking forward to a strong weekend. I wanted to make amends for Oulton Park and we found a really good set-up early on Friday which helped me massively. I felt really comfortable on the bike and happy with the lap times I was producing throughout the weekend. Qualifying couldn’t have gone any better and it was brilliant to gain my first ever pole position, it was a credit to the team and how hard they worked. I got to the front in race one and everything felt good, the safety car caught me a little off guard and I lost a bit of confidence when it pulled back into the pit lane and I dropped a few positions. I was happy with fifth and it showed we had made good progress from Oulton Park. I was on pole again for race two and we didn’t make many changes to the bike between sessions as it felt good. I got a great start and was leading and having a really good battle with James (Ellison) for several laps. After half distance I just couldn’t get the grip I needed to push hard at the front and knew I was dropping back. I didn’t change the way I was riding or anything but just couldn’t keep the pace I’d managed to have all weekend. I am disappointed with the second race result but really pleased generally with how the rest of the weekend went. The Quattro TECcare Kawasaki team worked really hard all weekend and I know we can continue to make progress through the year.”
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Brands Hatch Indy, race one
- Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki)
- James Ellison (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +0.057s
- Tommy Bridewell (Bennetts Suzuki) +0.458s
- Richard Cooper (Buildbase BMW) +0.801s
- Luke Mossey (Quattro Plant Teccare Kawasaki) +2.216s
- Michael Laverty (Tyco BMW) +2.325s
- Peter Hickman (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +5.235s
- Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) +5.415s
- Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) +5.847s
- Dan Linfoot (Honda Racing) +8.333s
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Brands Hatch Indy, race two
- Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati)
- Richard Cooper (Buildbase BMW) +0.554s
- Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +1.778s
- Tommy Bridewell (Bennetts Suzuki) +2.549s
- Dan Linfoot (Honda Racing) +2.892s
- Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) +3.616s
- Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) +4.012s
- Peter Hickman (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +4.410s
- Stuart Easton (ePayMe Yamaha) +7.539s
- Luke Mossey (Quattro Plant Kawasaki) +9.465s
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings after Brands Hatch
- Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 93
- Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) 90
- Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) 86
- Richard Cooper (Buildbase BMW) 74
- Michael Laverty (Tyco BMW) 66
- Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) 62
Series returnee James Westmoreland led home his TTC Yamaha team-mate Joe Francis in a restarted Dickies British Supersport race one at Brands Hatch.
Starting from pole position, Tarran Mackenzie took the holeshot as spots of rain fell on the grid. A scary looking crash at Graham Hill Bend saw two riders dance out of the way of the oncoming pack and run to the side of the track unscathed. The red flag then came out two laps later for lack of adhesion.
In the restart series leader Andy Reid went to the front as several more riders went down at Graham Hill bend including Tarran and Oulton Park winner Ben Currie. On lap eight Westmoreland took the lead as Reid slipped back to fifth with more rain falling.
Westmoreland’s teammate Joe Francis powered his way through to second and Jake Dixon took a well deserved podium on his Tsingtao Hampshire MV Agusta.
Came BPT Yamaha rider Joe Francis was in a class of his own in the second Dickies British Supersport race, taking his maiden win by 1.5s.
Taking the lead on the second lap, Francis eased away at the front, leaving an intense battle behind him.
It was a five rider battle for much of the race for the final rostrum spots, but it was rookie rider Tarran Mackenzie who took second place making it a good day for the Mackenzie family as older brother Taylor dominated the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 race earlier.
Rounding out the podium was Acumen Industrial Services Triumph rider Luke Jones, who started from 21st on the grid.
After his fall in race one Benjamin Currie was not allowed to race in the second race of the weekend.
Ben Currie – DNF
“Qualifying went well and we managed to get another front row start which was ideal for the sprint race. I made a great start and was soon up to 2nd and threatening the leader when the red flag came out due to rain. On the restart I got sucked back into the pack and dropped to 5th. I was unsure of how hard to push because of the conditions, made a pass for 4th and was then tight for the left hander at Graham Hill Bend. As I got on the gas I lost the rear and crashed which damaged my shoulder. With little movement and severe pain the medical team wouldn’t let me race the feature race which is disappointing for me and the whole team as they did a great job all weekend as they always do. There is a bit of a gap until Knockhill so I will train hard to be ready for that and next week I will go to the World Superbike event to support Taz.”
Levi Day was cleared to race after being deemed fit enough after recovering from the injuries the South Australia sustained at Oulton Park earlier in the year and was working to get back up to speed on the CPE Motorsports Kawasaki.
“I knew this weekend would be tough at Brands Indy. Started on the back of the grid today after yesterday’s difficulties, managed to work my way up to 18th. This isn’t where I know I should be, and my team know that too. I’m looking forward to getting to Knockhill in a few weeks where I love riding and know I can be up where we should be! Thanks to my team at CPE Motosport and everybody for sticking by me, keeping my head up and working hard to be fighting at the next round!”
“It’s been a great weekend, we knew we had the pace from the first practice session to challenge for the win. In the first race yesterday we took it a bit steady and it was fantastic to get my first podium. Starting from pole in this race, I knew I had to get a good start and as soon as I was in the lead it was just a case of getting my head down and keeping the gap!”
Carl Phillips took his first win of the season in a dramatic Pirelli National Superstock 600 race, picking up the pieces on the penultimate lap, after leaders Tom Ward and Lewis Rollo crashed out at Druids hairpin.
Jordan Weaving took second place, with Sam Thompson rounding out the podium.
Buildbase BMW’s Taylor Mackenzie has extended his Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Championship lead, after a dominant victory at Brands Hatch.
Mackenzie took the holeshot, and controlled the race at his own pace, taking the fastest lap on lap four.
Tyco BMW rounded out the podium with Ian Hutchinson occupying second and defending champion Josh Elliot in third.
Tim Reeves and Gregory Cluze ensured their strong start to the 2016 season continued at the weekend with the Team E-Aide Motorsport/Remse Racing pairing taking a double victory at Brands Hatch, venue for round two of the Hyundai Heavy Industries British Sidecar Championship.
Having set the third fastest time in free practice on Friday, Tim and Gregory shaved seven tenths of a second off their lap times in Saturday’s qualifying session and a time of 48.504s gave them pole position for the opening 15-lap race later in the day. A brilliant start saw them grab the lead at the first corner and they controlled the race throughout. Despite coming under pressure from Ricky Stevens/Ryan Charlwood, and also experiencing a slight gearbox issue, the Anglo-French pairing successfully kept the reigning champions at bay and duly took the chequered flag for the win albeit by just 0.053s.
Sunday’s race saw a similar race between the duo although the intervention of the safety car closed up the pack during the course of the race. There was little to choose between Tim and Gregory and Ricky and Ryan with the latter nosing ahead at Druids in the closing stages. However, the five-time World Champion wasn’t going to be denied and he immediately fought back to eventually claim the win by 0.370s to open up a 15-point Championship lead at the head of the table.
“I’ve really enjoyed the racing this weekend at Brands, especially the second race, and it’s certainly been hectic stuff around the Indy circuit. In the first race, I was experiencing a bit of trouble with the bike jumping out of gear between third and fourth but we got the win although we did change the engine prior to Sunday’s race. I thought the safety car was going to mess things up for me but it was great to have a battle with Ricky and Ryan all the way to the end and I’m naturally over the moon to have taken the double. That’s a 100% winning start to the British Championship season so a big thanks to the whole team especially everyone at E-Aide Motorsport, Remse Racing, H&S Contractors, LA Marketing, Metrail and DFDS Seaways.”
Tim now heads to the Isle of Man TT Races where he’ll be reunited with Patrick Farrance, the duo campaigning the F13K Cancer/Klaffi Honda in the two three lap Formula Two races. Practice gets underway on Saturday 28th May with the first race scheduled to take place at 2.00pm the following Saturday.