Shane Byrne completed a memorable hat-trick of wins at Brands Hatch over the weekend to wrap up the British Superbike Championship for the third time in his career.
Byrne, riding the Rapid Solicitors Paul Bird Motorsport Kawasaki, knew going into the third and final race yesterday that he just needed to finish inside the top 13 to claim the title, but being the champion that he is he wanted to finish the season in style and took the lead from his title rival Josh Brookes on the 18th of the 20 laps and won by a third of a second.
A jubilant Byrne (35) said afterwards: “This is amazing. It’s all credit to the team, I’m just the final piece in the jigsaw and to have won all three races this weekend is superb. I’ve had a great bike all year and to pull the job off in the final race of the year is absolutely brilliant.”
Brookes, riding the Tyco Suzuki by TAS, finished third on Saturday followed by two runner-up positions yesterday, to leave him second in the championship, 28 points behind Byrne.
Michael Laverty ran wide whle challenging the leaders in Saturday’s race which was interrupted by rain, and he could finish only 10th, so the Toomebridge rider was effectively out of the championship chase and riding yesterday for pride.
He managed a third place in the first race and was again in third position on the last lap when Alex Lowes crashed into the Samsung Honda rider’s back wheel. Both riders somersaulted at high speed through the gravel trap at Paddock Hill Bend, thankfully uninjured handing third position to outgoing champion Tommy Hill.
Laverty finished the title showdown in fifth place.
The British Supersport championship came down to the final race with Glen Richards going into it eight and a half points ahead of Dubliner Jack Kennedy.
On lap two of the 18-lap race the Australian, right on Kennedy’s back wheel, missed a gear and ran wide, falling off his machine, his championship challenge seemingly lost, as all Kennedy had to do was finish seventh to clinch the title.
However on the seventh lap Kennedy’s dream was shattered when his Mar-Train Yamaha suffered a mechanical problem forcing the distraught 24-year old to retire to pit lane where he was consoled by his father.
The race was won by Billy McConnell, while new Cup champion Glenn Irwin retired on lap four. Senior Manx Grand Prix winner John Simpson finished 11th and Irish supersport champion David Haire was 12th.
Keith Farmer had already clinched the 1000cc Superstock title in the previous round, but ended the season with victory, fending off P J Jacobsen and Howie Mainwaring. Less than half a second covered the trio at the chequered flag after a race-long battle to make it four wins and a second British championship for the Paul Bird Motorsport Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki Team.