Airwaves Ducati's Shane Byrne has taken the first British Superbike race victory at Brands Hatch this afternoon, cruising to a near-two second win over HM Plant Honda's Cal Crutchlow with Hydrex Honda's James Ellison taking his third podium of the year.
Crutchlow's team-mate Leon Haslam, who is riding with a separated shoulder, couldn't quite manage to get past Ellison and finished fourth but now has one hand on the tropy for second place in the championship.
The first race of the day was quite calm compared to the usual edge of seat action. After a slight delay eventually the green lights went out HM Plant Honda Cal Crutchlow led into the first corner,followed by Airwaves Ducati Shane Byrne and the injured Leon Haslam on the second HM Plant Honda. It wasn’t long before Bryne took to his usual position at the front and Haslam was pushed down to fourth by Hydrex Animal Honda James Ellison.
These are the positions they held until the finish line, there were a few glancing moves looking for an overtake by Crutchlow and Haslam to gain a position, but the opportunity never came. Byrne won the race by just under 1.9s and Haslam never gave up the battle for third, but lost out by a mere 0’046s.
The battles took place further down the order with replacement rider Jon Kirkham for Rob Mac Racing. After qualifying ninth he initially lost a few places, but battled against regular riders to finish to regain the position in time for the chequered flag. There was some determined race battling between the two front Daily Star Cup riders Quay Garage Racing Gary Mason and NW200 John Laverty, with Mason having the final say before he moving ahead of MSS Kawasaki Billy McConnell to take 11th overall.
Shannon Etheridge of MAR Adept team took the final podium step after running strong all weekend and beating his team manager Malcolm Ashley, who came back on track to end the season finishing 24th overall. With the short lap distance it was five laps before the end when the leaders started to mix in with back markers, which fortunately didn’t cause any problems. There were only four riders who did not complete the 30 lap race of which Francis Williams of Moto Rapido Racing and MSS Kawasaki rider Stuart Easton crashed out.
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