Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki’s Shane Byrne was victorious in an epic three-way battle in the opening MCE British Superbike race between title rivals, Buildbase BMW’s Ryuichi Kiyonari and Milwaukee Yamaha’s Josh Brookes.
The fight for maximum points went down to the last lap on the final corner, with the lead changing a total of six times on the last rotation – with Byrne having the slight edge of Kiyonari. Brookes had a superb race and managed to match the pace of the two leading riders, and bagged the final step on the rostrum.
Kiyo got the hole-shot from Byrne and Brookes, on the opening lap. But it was not a good start for Tyco Suzuki’s John Hopkins as he took at tumble at Village. Brookes was not holding back and overtook Byrne to go into second, only for Byrne to get the better of him once again going into the final corner on the third rotation.
But the formidable Australian was up close and personal with Byrne with the bikes touching on the historic track but Byrne pulled away. But the battle was far from over with the lead changing between Byrne and Kiyonari. By lap eight it was the Japanese rider who was taking up the top of the provisional podium, only for Byrne to go back into the lead at Stowe.
A rotation later Kiyonari regained the lead at the Loop with the bikes tyre to tyre on the circuit. While all that was going on Halsall Racing’s Jon Kirkham was powering through the field and was up to sixth – but had a technical problem bringing an end to a solid race for the Derbyman.
At the flag it was Quattro Plant Kawasaki’s Dan Linfoot who got fourth, ahead of Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki’s Stuart Easton and Honda Racing’s development rider – Julien Da Costa. Tyco Suzuki’s Josh Waters managed to cling on to seventh and out-paced Buildbase BMW’s James Westmoreland, RAF Reserves Honda’s Peter Hickman and Milwaukee Yamaha’s Tommy Bridewell.
The Devizes swearbox finished ahead of fellow title challenger GBmoto Kawasaki's Chris Walker, who ended the opening race in 11th, just behind team-mate James Ellison.
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