Sunday, July 22 2012
Shane 'Shakey' Byrne sensationally scored his third race win of the season in an intense opening first race for the MCE Insurance British Superbike riders on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit. The Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki rider first held off the challenges from Noriyuki Haga and then Josh Brookes to win in style at his home round.
Michael Laverty had a flying start from the front row of the grid to lead the pack into Paddock Hill Bend from Byrne, Tommy Hill and Haga but the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki rider moved up to take the lead on the run down Pilgrims Drop whilst Haga had moved into third in a frantic opening lap. Laverty onboard the Samsung Honda then dived down the inside at Paddock Hill Bend to regain the lead the next time around, but Byrne forced his way back to the front of the pack just a few corners later.
Haga was pushing hard to move up the order and a move at Clearways on the third lap saw him move ahead of Laverty to take second, but it wasn't for long as Laverty made a move back at Paddock Hill Bend but ran wide on the exit to give the position back to the Swan Yamaha rider. Byrne then was being closed at the front by Haga as Laverty and Brookes diced for third. Meanwhile Ian Lowry's hopes of moving back inside the top six took a setback when he crashed out of seventh place at Paddock Hill Bend unhurt.
Tyco Suzuki's Brookes then carved his way through to third with a move on the inside at Druids on Laverty, and then two laps later he repeated the move on Haga at Druids. The Australian had gained time on Haga when the Swan Yamaha rider tried an ambitious move on the inside at Surtees a few laps earlier on Byrne but lost ground when the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki rider defended the line.
Brookes then was pushing Byrne for the lead but was unable to force ahead of the double champion and he had to settle for second whilst Haga dramatically crashed out of third place on the final lap unhurt at Graham Hill Bend. As Haga missed out on the podium it promoted team-mate Hill to third after he had forced his way through the field after running sixth over the opening laps following a problem with the clutch on the Swan Yamaha.
Byrne said: "It feels good to win here at Brands Hatch and I was aware Josh was there at the end. I made a mistake on the first or second lap at Stirlings and Michael Laverty got by me. I wanted to just get the start and try and get some laps in and then settle into a rhythm. I spent time getting past Michael; but when I did first my board said Michael was there, then it changed to Haga then it changed to Brookes and I thought 'give me a break!' It was a long race and I knew at the end Josh was on me and if it was just the two of us then I would have to keep smooth as it would have been a bummer if we had led and then got pushed back to second on the final lap. The Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki team have worked really hard since Oulton Park and the bike is working great so now we need to do the same in race two."
Laverty claimed fourth place whilst Tommy Bridewell was able to recover from the fifth row to finish fifth ahead of Chris Walker and Alex Lowes on the leading WFR Honda. Stuart Easton, Alastair Seeley and Michael Rutter rounded out the top ten.
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Brands Hatch GP, race one result:
- Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki)
- Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) +0.469s
- Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) +6.434s
- Michael Laverty (Samsung Honda) +7.197s
- Tommy Bridewell (Supersonic BMW) +9.172s
- Chris Walker (Pr1mo Bournemouth Kawasaki) +9.738s
- Alex Lowes (WFR Honda) +11.024s
- Stuart Easton (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +12.057s
- Alastair Seeley (Tyco Suzuki) +14.335s
- Michael Rutter (MSS Bathams Kawasaki) +20.18s
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings after Brands Hatch GP race one:
- Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) 250
- Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) 230
- Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) 226
- Michael Laverty (Samsung Honda) 159
- Tommy Bridewell (Supersonic BMW) 115
- Noriyuki Haga (Swan Yamaha) 102
The second MCE BSB race is at 16:35 this afternoon.
The next round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship takes place at Cadwell Park over the August Bank Holiday weekend (25/26/27 August). Weekend tickets are available in advance for £31 online with children 12 and under free. For more information visit www.cadwellpark.co.uk or call 0843 453 9000.