BSB

Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne Races To Double BSB Season Opening Wins

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Shane 'Shakey' Byrne kicked off his campaign for a record breaking fourth title by securing the opening race win of the MCE British Superbike Championship season ahead of Chris Walker and James Ellison, who scored Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki's first podiums in the series.

The race started with pole-sitter Josh Brookes hitting the front of the pack from Walker, but the pair were instantly dicing for the lead, with the Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki charging ahead at Druids on the second lap.

Brookes was pushing hard to regain the position, but tipping into Druids for the seventh lap he lost the front end and crashed out of the race unhurt.

Walker then was being rapidly closed by Byrne after carving his way through from his thirteenth position on the grid. John Hopkins was duelling for third with James Ellison, with the Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki rider pushing ahead before the race was red flagged when James Hillier suffered a technical problem.

On the restart Walker dived into the lead on the opening lap and again was scrapping with Byrne for the lead. On lap two Byrne pushed ahead at Paddock Hill Bend, however Walker attacked straight back, regaining the position at Druids.

Byrne held off his challenges for the lead, but Walker then had his Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki team-mate to contend with as Ellison pushed him hard for the second place. Walker maintained second position on the final lap from Ellison as the team celebrated their first podium finishes in the championship.

"Yesterday was difficult but today we knew we had the pace in the dry." Byrne stated. "We knew I had my work cut out a little bit with our qualifying position, but it's the first race of a really, really long championship so I got my head down.

"I got a decent enough start and started picking people off; I just desperately didn't want to rush anything and make a silly mistake. I got up to second eventually and upped my own rhythm a little bit and there was quite a lot of laps to go, maybe 19 or 20 laps and I could see that Chris was away at the front. I got to Chris and then the race got red-flagged.

"The restart made it a little bit easier. I knew Chris would be really fast in the beginning, so I tried to get in the lead as quick as possible and just stay clean and tidy.

"It's a shame Josh (Brookes) wasn't there because I'm sure he'll throw a completely different element into the mix in race two, we'll see where we go from there." Byrne added.

Gearlink Kawasaki made an impressive debut into the championship with Ben Wilson holding off Tyco Suzuki's John Hopkins for fourth place with Stuart Easton taking advantage of the restart to finish sixth.

The lone Milwaukee Yamaha of Tommy Bridewell was seventh ahead of the Anvil Hire TAG Kawasaki team on their first appearance with Richard Copper and Jakub Smrz. James Westmoreland completed the top ten for Buildbase BMW whilst his team-mate Ryuichi Kiyonari dramatically stalled on the grid and finished 16th.

Race Two
Australian Josh Brookes stood on the second step of the podium in race 2 - Credit: https://www.britishsuperbike.com
Shane 'Shakey' Byrne fired in a second MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship race win in the second race of the day at Brands Hatch despite coming under pressure from Milwaukee Yamaha's Josh Brookes in the closing laps of the race.

Byrne had led the pack on the opening lap from his Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki team-mate Stuart Easton and the Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki pairing of James Ellison and Chris Walker, but Brookes was fighting his way through the pack from his fourth row start.

Ellison was pushing to get in front of his team-mate and he made a move on Walker into Paddock Hill Bend for the ninth time to move ahead and then close in on Easton. He moved to second to split the Rapid Solicitors Kawasakis at Graham Hill Bend a few laps later, then the pair jostled for the position but Ellison had his sights set on closing in on race leader Byrne.

Brookes meanwhile had been carving his way up the order and held onto fourth place by lap 18 and after a battle with Ryuichi Kiyonari on the Buildbase BMW, the Australian was then hard charging as he bid to secure his first podium finish for Milwaukee Yamaha.

Brookes moved to third with a determined move on Easton at Clearways and then the leading trio of Byrne, Ellison and Brookes were left to battle over the closing laps for the podium finishes. Brookes was shadowing Ellison and then dived up the inside at Druids and despite the Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki rider pushing to reclaim the position, he had to settle for third.

Byrne was holding the lead but Brookes had him in his sights and over the final three laps he was pushing to close the minimal gap in a bid to mug the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki of the victory, but it wasn't enough and the Australian held second place.

"In terms of the races everything has been perfect this weekend." Byrne stated after his second straight win. "The second race was pretty tough and the lap times weren't as fast, but I had a strategy where I wanted to get away as I knew Josh would come through like I had done in the first race as we have been similar on lap times all weekend.

"I figured I needed to get out the front and see what we could do, but the lap timer on my bike packed up, not making excuses, but it showed me the same lap time for six or seven laps and I thought there is no way I am that consistent!

"I hadn't realised they were reeling me back in and I was thinking 'this isn't in the script, this isn't my plan' but Josh held second and I tried to not make any mistakes. Fortunately it panned out and fingers crossed we can take it to them again at Oulton Park."

Kiyonari finished the race in fourth position after being a part of the early scrap for the podium as he pushed ahead of Walker who in turn held off Easton for fifth position.

James Westmoreland was the second Buildbase BMW rider in the top ten in seventh ahead of Dan Linfoot on the sole Quattro Plant Kawasaki. Tommy Bridewell and Ben Wilson completed the top ten ahead of the next races of the season at Oulton Park over the May Bank Holiday weekend.

MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Brands Hatch, race one:
1. Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki)
2. Chris Walker (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) +1.615s
3. James Ellison (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) +1.672s
4. Ben Wilson (Gearlink Kawasaki) +5.639s
5. John Hopkins (Tyco Suzuki) +6.007s
6. Stuart Easton (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +6.235s
7. Tommy Bridewell (Milwaukee Yamaha) +6.365s
8. Richard Cooper (Anvil Hire TAG Kawasaki) +7.328s
9. Jakub Smrz (Millsport Ducati) +7.735s
10. James Westmoreland (Buildbase BMW) +7.735s

MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Brands Hatch, race two result:
1. Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki)
2. Josh Brookes (Milwaukee Yamaha) +0.138s
3. James Ellison (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) +1.785s
4. Ryuichi Kiyonari (Buildbase BMW) +3.694s
5. Chris Walker (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) +5.376s
6. Stuart Easton (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +5.724s
7. James Westmoreland (Buildbase BMW) +10.826s
8. Dan Linfoot (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) +11.488s
9. Tommy Bridewell (Milwaukee Yamaha) +11.678s
10. Ben Wilson (Gearlink Kawasaki) +11.908s

MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings after Brands Hatch:
1. Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) 50 Pts
2. James Ellison (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) 32 Pts
3. Chris Walker (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) 31 Pts
4. Josh Brookes (Milwaukee Yamaha) 20 Pts
5. Stuart Easton (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) 20 Pts
6. Ben Wilson (Gearlink Kawasaki) 19 Pts
7. Tommy Bridewell (Milwaukee Yamaha) 16 Pts
8. John Hopkins (Tyco Suzuki) 16 Pts
9. James Westmoreland (Buildbase BMW) 15 Pts
10. Ryuichi Kiyonari (Buildbase BMW) 13 Pts

For the full race results CLICK HERE

Top Image: The 2014 British Superbike Season gets underway

Credit: https://www.britishsuperbike.com

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