Be Wiser Ducati’s Shane Byrne made up for an average start to soar his way through the pack from as low as eleventh, to clinch his second MCE British Superbike race win of the day to bring home maximum points for his Paul Bird team at Brands Hatch.
Once again the final laps went down to a battle between Byrne and title rival, JG Speedfit Kawasaki’s Leon Haslam, with the Smalley racer looking on course to take a possible win today.
But with only three laps remaining Byrne ploughed ahead passed the ZX-10R at Druids and never looked back, and extends his lead to 25 points and it is his first double victory of the season. But the fight for second literally went down to the wire, with Haslam taking second place on the podium by 0.006s from Honda Racing’s Jason O’Halloran, who also looked on course to win his second BSB race of his career after getting a phenomenal start.
Initially it was O’Halloran who got the hole-shot from Haslam, Mossey and Bridewell. But two rotations later Haslam slipped back a place to his team-mate James Ellison at Hawthorns, with the Cumbrian having a stellar start. But the former World Superbike rider fell further down the grid on lap five and was sixth behind Bridewell and Irwin. Meanwhile on the same lap Byrne was eleventh, just behind Parkes.
But his rookie garage buddy was having a much better race, and with fourteenth laps left was up to third after overtaking Ellison to place his Ducati on a provisional podium spot.
But Byrne got muscled wide on two consecutive laps and hit back on lap eight. Meanwhile Bennett’s Suzuki’s Tommy Bridewell had a technical problem while sixth fastest, to add to his earlier race one crash, and the Devizes Swearbox came to a halt at Surtees.
While Byrne gained some pace, the other Be Wiser Ducati of Irwin made a move on Mossey to edge into second on lap nine of twenty. Elsewhere Haslam regrouped and out-paced both Mossey and his own JG Speedfit team-mate, Ellison to go back into third.
Ellison then was overtaken by Byrne coming out of Hawthorns with the multiple champ going up the pack like a freight train with Mossey his next target a rotation later, and the experienced racer was speeding on ahead and snatched fourth from the pole-man, and now had team-mate Irwin in his sights.
At the front Haslam was still charging down the Honda of O’Halloran and on lap fourteen he clinched the lead at Paddock Hill, only for the Aussie to take it back, then the Derby rider made another more successful pass at Hawthorns that stuck.
It appeared, with five laps remaining that Byrne won the battle of the Be Wiser backed Panigale’s with Byrne going quicker than the Northern Irishman to go up to third. But a lap later O’Halloran fought back and snatched the lead at Paddock Hill on lap sixteen, but then the safety car came out, as Tyco BMW’s Michael Laverty’s S1000RR spilt liquid out on the track after his engine went bang, bringing an abrupt end to his race weekend. Then two laps were added on to the race to make it a 22 lapper.
When the safety car went back in to the pits Haslam found something extra to edge ahead, only for Byrne to get up the inside of the ZX-10R at Druids, and that is where he stayed when
the chequered flag appeared.
But it was a tight finish for second with Haslam narrowly grabbing P2 by a tiny 0.006 seconds from O’Halloran on the finishing line. Irwin and Cooper completed the top five. It was also a solid race for Buildbase BMW’s Lee Jackson who finished the day in sixth, just behind his team-mate, with Linfoot, Ellison and Iddon completing the top ten. The ZX-10R of Ellison appeared to lose pace in the final laps and was inside the top five, but at the flag slipped back to ninth. Hickman, Dixon, Parkes, Smrz and McConnell were the last of the points finishers.
Most of the riders stayed with the same tyre choices that they had in the opening race with everyone opting for the soft rear SC0 tyre, and the only one’s who were running the harder front was Mossey, both ePayMe boys, Honda Racing and the JG Speedfit Kawasaki bikes. The only racer who changed from the earlier outing was Cooper who decided to go for the harder front compound.
But there were a few incidences out on track; there was another crash for WD-40’s Jack Kennedy, but this time at Sheene Curve and it was his second DNF of the day for the Dubliner. Returning from injury, was ePayMe Yamaha’s John Hopkins and he is still recovering from his crash at Knockhill, and did retire his R1 to the pits.