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Byrne wins second race as Hopkins and Hill split by two points

Sunday, October 09 2011

Shane 'Shakey' Byrne won a dramatically tense second MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship race as several of the Title Fighters had their title dreams left in tatters as Michael Laverty and Josh Brookes crashed out of contention. Championship leader John Hopkins suffered a technical problem on the opening lap and once he had restarted the Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki he had to fight his way back from last to twelfth to hold a two point advantage over Tommy Hill ahead of the final race.

Byrne said: "That win feels to me like I have just won the championship! We have been giving it everything and I wanted nothing less than two wins today. We had a good start but in the first laps I didn't do a very good job of avoiding the damp patches and I had a few moments - in fact more than I think I have had in my whole career! I didn't know who was behind me but I knew I wasn't prepared to let them through. I have to thank the HM Plant Honda team as I have had two crashes this weekend and they deserve this result after their hard work. We have done everything we can and all I can say is I have done everything I can to try and win the championship." 

Brookes had taken the lead off the pole position on the opening lap from Byrne who hit the front on the HM Plant Honda at Druids, whilst Laverty moved up the order to third ahead of Brookes. Hopkins then dramatically suffered a problem with the Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki on the opening lap and after a frantic rush to get the bike started again the American rejoined the race at the back of the field and then had to fight his way through to twelfth.

The second lap was just as dramatic as Laverty crashed the Swan Yamaha at Druids, he was able to rejoin and limp back to the garage in order to return to the track to set a lap to fight for a grid position for the final race. A lap later and another Title Fighter crashed out as Brookes spectacularly ended his race at Paddock Hill Bend and Martin Jessopp and Peter Hickman also ended their race in the gravel. Alex Lowes, Ian Lowry and Barry Burrell were also riders to crash out of the frantic penultimate race of the season.

Byrne still held the advantage at the front of the field from Kirkham in second who had benefitted from Brookes crashing out with Hill holding third from James Ellison and Michael Rutter. The Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati rider though had his race ended prematurely when he was forced to retire with a technical problem.

 Kirkham was closing on Byrne in the closing stages but the HM Plant Honda had enough to hold off his Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki rival. Hill was meanwhile coming under pressure from Ellison on the Sorrymate.com Honda and on the penultimate lap he took the advantage into Clearways as the pair drafted ahead of a lapped rider. Ellison secured third to give the team their first BSB podium finish whilst Hill secured fourth to move within two points of the championship leader.

Chris Walker on the Pr1mo Racing Kawasaki took a top five finish ahead of Mirror.co.uk BSB race winner Graeme Gowland who also took sixth overall. Tommy Bridewell gave the Motorpoint Yamaha team a strong finish in seventh ahead of James Westmoreland on the 2012 specification WFR Honda. Dan Linfoot and Karl Harris rounded out the top ten as they took solid race finishes.

MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Brands Hatch, race two result:

  1. Shane Byrne (HM Plant Honda)
  2. Jon Kirkham (Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki) +1.150s
  3. James Ellison (Sorrymate.com Honda) +11.994s
  4. Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) +12.825s
  5. Chris Walker (Pr1mo Racing Kawasaki) +23.993s
  6. Graeme Gowland (WFR Honda) +27.829s
  7. Tommy Bridewell (Motorpoint Yamaha) +29.403s
  8. James Westmoreland (WFR Honda) +40.713s
  9. Dan Linfoot (Tyco Honda) +46.981s
  10. Karl Harris (Splitlath Aprilia) +49.918s

MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings ahead of the final race:

  1. John Hopkins (Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki) 629
  2. Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) 627
  3. Shane Byrne (HM Plant Honda) 600
  4. Michael Laverty (Swan Yamaha) 590
  5. Josh Brookes (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) 588
  6. Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda) 521