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BSB Rider of the Year vote: 3rd
14 December 2011 Top 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2011:3.
HM Plant Bike:
15 Championship points:
625 (Showdown)Championship position:
On paper, Shane Byrne came into the 2011 MCE British Superbike Championship as the favourite, a status buoyed by his two previous titles and his decision to join the title-winning team. In fact, though strange to think so now, Ryuichi Kiyonari was probably his closest rival pre-season.
With that in mind, HM Plant Honda may feel a little hard done by at the end of 2011, Kiyonari's form fluctuating wildly, while Byrne scored more points than anyone over the season, but didn't lift the BSB trophy.
At some stage, the controversial 'Showdown' format was bound to have a year where title winner wasn't the highest scorer and Byrne himself – returning after two years in the more conventional World Superbike Championship - has indicated his displeasure that his efforts were not more recognised in 2011.
Indeed, Byrne was the championship leader – and had been since round two – before the points were equalised, but a fairly lacklustre Donington Park and Silverstone event scuppered his title dreams before even reaching the final round.
Discounted from the title fight heading to Brands Hatch, Byrne restored some dignity by winning twice at his home circuit, results that would subsequently see him out-score Tommy Hill and John Hopkins overall. Naturally, however, it must be remembered that both riders had skipped a meeting each through injury.
Cynics of the system will state that Byrne was the rightful winner of the 2011 BSB Championship, but history will show him as finishing in third position.
Nonetheless, Byrne has plenty to be pleased with on his return to the series, winning on six occasions in 2011 and climbing on the podium another nine times, signalling a successful comeback for the popular 2003 and 2008 champion.
A switch of team and machinery beckons in 2012 for Byrne - and it's fair to say the newly-signed PBM Kawasaki man has some unfinished business…Top 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2010:
N/ATop 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2009:
N/ATop 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2008:
1stTop 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2011:4.
Michael Laverty 5.
Michael Rutter 6.
Jon Kirkham 7.
Graeme Gowland 8.
Josh Brookes 9.
James Ellison 10.