BSB Rider of the Year: 3rd
3rd – Shane Byrne
Average poll score out of ten: 7.312
Shane Byrne's talents in the British Superbike championship grew to legendary status in 2014 after claiming an unprecedented fourth title which meant the only question remaining was whether the Londoner still had the hunger for a fifth title.
The defending champion silenced any doubters immediately on his PBM Kawasaki with a win and a second place at Donington Park's season opener.
A solid start to the season was tarnished somewhat by three-time BSB champion Ryuichi Kiyonari's ambitious lunge in race two at Oulton Park which resulted on the pair barrelling out and he subsequently lost his championship lead to James Ellison.
The Kent-born rider had to bide his time between the mid-season break and at round four at Snetterton he produced perfection with two wins, two poles and two fastest laps. A double-double shortly followed at Knockhill and he became firm favourite in the title race.
However, his year was turned on its head with a heavy crash in the round six opener at Brands Hatch GP and despite an impressive recovery with second place in race two, Byrne was considerably off the pace at the following two rounds, taking just one podium in four races.
Evidently frustrated by his sudden drop in performance, Byrne's Kawasaki ZX-10R underwent a complete rebuild which saw his pace duly return and with it two race wins in the Oulton Park triple-header.
Going into the Showdown, Byrne had cut Brookes' lead to single-figures but despite his best efforts he couldn't live with the Australian's race pace on the new Milwaukee Yamaha R1.
Despite four further rostrum results Byrne failed to get the better of Brookes and ended the season 41 points adrift in second place.
The 39-year-old rider, who has finished no lower than second in the final BSB standings in the past four seasons, is already preparing his challenge to regain the BSB crown having re-signed with long-term backers PBM, while also switching to Ducati machinery for 2016.
Shane Byrne in the BSB Rider of the Year poll
BSB Rider of the Year poll 2014: 2nd
BSB Rider of the Year poll 2013: 2nd
BSB Rider of the Year poll 2012: 1st
BSB Rider of the Year poll 2011: 3rd
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About the vote:
Rather than repeat the Riders' British Championship standings, the BSB Rider of the Year poll asks viewers to take into account factors such as machinery, performance relative to a team-mate, riding style, experience, injuries, progress and personality just as much as race results and scoring each of the top twenty from this year's BSB standings with a mark out of ten.