Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne celebrated an unprecedented fifth MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship title at his home circuit of Brands Hatch this afternoon after a season-long battle with arch rival Leon Haslam.
Byrne held a 27-point advantage ahead of the second race of the weekend and the Kent contender knew what he needed to do to deliver the title for the Be Wiser Ducati team to strengthen his statistics as the most successful rider in the history of the series.
Ellison had hit the front of the field in the second race of the weekend in drying conditions on the Grand Prix circuit ahead of Christian Iddon and John Hopkins but title rivals Haslam and Byrne were initially languishing outside the top ten on the opening lap.
The pair were on the move and then continued to gain ground, but at the front the leading trio had edged away from the pack and Ellison ensured that he defended hard to hold off his American rival who scored the ePayMe Yamaha team their first podium finish.
Race one winner Peter Hickman was back on the podium for the second consecutive race after Iddon suffered the heartbreak of a technical problem with just two laps remaining which forced him out of third place.
Haslam and Byrne had battled the nerves of the title fight to move into fifth and sixth respectively after some hard charging moves on Glenn Irwin, Tommy Bridewell and Jason O’Halloran who dropped to ninth in the closing stages of the race.
Ellison was focused on a repeat performance in race two and he gave it his all to celebrate a double victory to claim third in the overall standings and end his 2016 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship season on a high in a ten lap sprintfor the third and final race of the season.
The race began with Ellison, Hopkins and Ryuichi Kiyonari duelling at the front of the field, but the race was red flagged when James Rispoli’s Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha suffered a technical problem, leaving an oil line at Hawthorn.
A ten lap restart saw a sprint race to the finish line, again Ellison hitting the lead at Paddock Hill Bend on the opening lap with Hopkins, Kiyonari and Iddon in close contention. Iddon was instantly attacking and on the second lap fired the Tyco BMW ahead of Kiyonari at Paddock Hill Bend, closely followed by a hard-charging Haslam.
Ellison was under pressure from the growing freight train; Hopkins, Iddon, Haslam and 2016 champion Byrne were all battling for the final podium positions of 2016. An incredible scrap went all the way down to the wire with Haslam and Byrne making contact on the final lap in their last dash for supremacy in 2016.
Byrne made it through to third, pushing Haslam back to fourth on the final lap as Ellison celebrated the final spoils of the 2016 season ahead of double podium finish Hopkins for the ePayMe Yamaha team.
Jason O’Halloran was in the hunt for the title all season but the final showdown rounds saw the Honda man experience a few problems and he eventually slipped to fifth overall in the championship, with the Brands Hatch finale a disappointing end to what had been a stellar season for O’Halloran.
After Yamaha lifted the BSB Championship in 2015 with Josh Brookes, the highest finishing Yamaha rider in the 2016 BSB Championship was John Hopkins in 14th place overall ahead of 15th placed South Australian Billy McConnell.
Despite only contesting four of the series’ 12 rounds Broc Parkes managed to build an impressive 45 points and finished the season’s final race in tenth position, and 19th in the championship.
Josh Hook joined the championship at Knockhill with Team WD-40 Kawasaki, after parting ways with the Grillini WorldSBK squad. The Taree youngster managed to bag a few points, with his best performances at Thruxton and Donington Park.
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Brands Hatch, race one result
Peter Hickman (JG Speedfit Kawasaki)
Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) +1.010s
Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati) +4.634s
Dan Linfoot (Honda Racing) +5.638s
Tommy Bridewell (Bennetts Suzuki) +5.686s
Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) +13.538s
John Hopkins (ePayMe Yamaha) +15.182s
Lee Jackson (Buildbase BMW) +15.245s
Alastair Seeley (Royal Airforce BMW) +16.818s
Jakub Smrz (Smiths Racing BMW) +20.548s
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Brands Hatch, race two result
James Ellison (JG Speedfit Kawasaki)
John Hopkins (ePayMe Yamaha) +0.093s
Peter Hickman (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +4.559s
Dan Linfoot (Honda Racing) +21.528s
Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +24.422s
Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) +24.513s
Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati) +26.109s
Tommy Bridewell (Bennetts Suzuki) +26.679s
Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) +26.752s
Luke Mossey (Quattro Plant Teccare Kawasaki) +27.043s
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Brands Hatch, race three
James Ellison (JG Speedfit Kawasaki)
John Hopkins (ePayMe Yamaha) +0.083s
Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) +0.254s
Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +0.335s
Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) +0.896s
Dan Linfoot (Honda Racing) +2.245s
Ryuichi Kiyonari (Smiths Racing BMW) +6.139s
Tommy Bridewell (Bennetts Suzuki) +6.428s
Luke Mossey (Quattro Plant Teccare Kawasaki) +6.556s
Broc Parkes (ePayMe Yamaha) +6.635s
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings:
“I must admit, it’s a strange feeling to have won the championship with a sixth place finish but to do so with a new manufacturer is a massive achievement for both myself and the team. The conditions in the first race today were very tricky and the bike was strong in the wet part of the track and not so strong in the other parts so it made it very difficult to overtake. Leon came by and I realised I needed to keep one place behind him to clinch the title and whilst he pulled away initially, he gradually came back to me and we got the job done. Winning my fifth title will probably sink in later and it’s certainly a weight off my shoulders and whilst I was desperate to end with a win, we signed off with a podium. The whole Be Wiser Ducati team have worked incredibly hard all season long so a massive thank you to them especially my crew chief Giovanni, and team of Kev and Sam.”
Paul Bird, Team Owner
“To win our fifth title and become the most successful team ever in BSB means a lot to us especially with Ducati coming back with us after a long time away. It’s hard to find the words at present to describe just what we’ve achieved and for once I’m speechless! Conditions were difficult all weekend but you just have to deal with them and Shakey obviously showed his class once more. He knew what he needed to do, Shane Byrnedidn’t panic and delivered exactly what he had to. Glenn had a late season flurry of results and got his confidence back so it’s good to see him have a solid debut season in BSB.”
Tarran Mackenzie has claimed his fifth win of the season at Brands, taking the 2016 Dickies British Supersport title in the process. It was 2016 Champion Mackenzie who grabbed the holeshot, but Saturday race victor Brad Ray swiftly moved into the lead, where he was able to pull away from the pursuing pack. It was drama behind him however as Mackenzie, Andrew Irwin, David Allingham, Ben Currie, James Westmoreland and Luke Jones battled for the final podium positions.
A retirement from Allingham on lap three was followed by an accident on lap five between Championship contender Westmoreland and Jones, bringing out the red flag.
On the nine lap restart it was Irwin who grabbed the holeshot ahead of Ray, but positions had changed by the time the riders headed out to the back part of the circuit. Mackenzie moved up to second at the start of the second lap, running in close contention behind the leader. Pulling away from the pursuing pack, it came down to a last lap dice as Mackenzie sliced his way past on the final corner, taking his fifth win of the season to be crowned Champion.
Ben Currie finished what had been up and down season with a strong 4th place in the Supersport feature race.
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