Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne clinched an unprecedented sixth MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship title in dramatic style at Brands Hatch, as the title fight went down to the wire in the final race of the season.
The last race of the season started with Leon Haslam and defending champion Byrne separated by just two points after Byrne won race two and Haslam finished tenth, ahead of the crucial decider at the Kent circuit.
On the opening lap James Ellison had taken the advantage from Christian Iddon and Michael Laverty. The title contenders were in formation, with Josh Brookes in fourth ahead of Haslam and Byrne, but the Australian knew he was still in contention and he was pushing to move through the field.
At the front Iddon took the lead, but on lap six Haslam’s title hopes ended in heartbreak as the JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider suffered brake failure on lap six.
The ‘Pocket Rocket’ had to jump off the bike at 172mph at Hawthorns and subsequently sustained a broken right wrist, right thumb and left ankle. He heroically returned to the grid for the championship celebrations at the end of the race to congratulate Byrne on his title victory before heading to the medical centre.
The crash brought out the BMW Safety Car and when the race resumed Brookes was instantly on the attack and took the lead into Paddock Hill Bend which he held to the finish, but in the closing stages Jason O’Halloran charged through into second to push Ellison back to third.
Byrne ended the race in eighth place but it was enough to seal his sixth title as he defended his title for the first time in his career, finishing behind Laverty, Iddon, Peter Hickman and Dan Linfoot.
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Brands Hatch, race two result:
- Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati)
- Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) +0.524s
- James Ellison (McAMS Yamaha) +1.406s
- Josh Brookes (Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha) +6.073s
- Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) +8.147s
- Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) +10.424s
- Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati) +11.216s
- Michael Laverty (McAMS Yamaha) +11.547s
- Dan Linfoot (Honda Racing) +15.053s
- Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +18.531s
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Brands Hatch, race three result:
- Josh Brookes (Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha)
- Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) +0.687s
- James Ellison (McAMS Yamaha) +0.857s
- Michael Laverty (McAMS Yamaha) +1.929s
- Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) +2.144s
- Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) +5.254s
- Dan Linfoot (Honda Racing) +5.281s
- Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) +6.512s
- Bradley Ray (Buildbase Suzuki) +6.923s
- Richard Cooper (Bennetts Suzuki) +7.628s
2017 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings:
- Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) 637
- Josh Brookes (Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha) 634
- Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 631
- Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) 578
- Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) 567
- Jake Dixon (RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki) 562
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