Croft - Preview.

Shane 'Shakey' Byrne could be crowned the 2008 Bennetts British Superbike champion this weekend at Croft, an event the Zurich-based Londoner will start with a 110 point lead over nearest rival Tom Sykes.

Byrne may not have tasted the winner's champagne since victory at Mallory Park back in June, but consistency is the keyword of his season, with only one blemish, a tumble at Knockhill.

That apart, he has finished every race in the top three and that record has put the title comfortably within his reach and two top two finishes in this round could see him crowned champion.

"I know I can't afford to drop more than ten points to Sykes so first up we are going to have to work hard to get to the front and then think about wrapping up the championship after that," explained Byrne, the BSB title winner in 2003. "Winning the championship at Croft is a possibility, and that would be fantastic.

"However Croft is not a favourite circuit of mine but I don't dislike it either; it has not been particularly kind to me in the past but hopefully my luck might change there this year."

Among those aiming to give the Airwaves Ducati rider a tough time will be Sykes and Cal Crutchlow, who go into the action at the North Yorkshire circuit buoyed by their world class form of last Sunday.

Then, Sykes led the opening World Superbike race at Donington Park but the Rizla Suzuki rider had to settle for second best to twice champion Troy Bayliss while Crutchlow, aboard the HM Plant Honda, ran former twice British champion Ryuichi Kiyonari a close second next time out.

"I've taken a podium at World level, we've gained some valuable wet settings and I'm now looking forward to Croft where I want to add to my three victories in the British Championship," said Sykes. "Riding in the World Superbikes at Brands and Donington has been a brilliant experience and I will be using that to the full.”

Crutchlow is also intent on building on his strong performance that impressed the World Superbike regulars: "I was confident that I could catch Kiyo, but the conditions were not good and in the end decided that discretion is the better part of valour and took second, but now I want more strong results starting at Croft."

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Byrne, Crutchlow, Haslam, Sykes, Front row. Race 1.
Shane Byrne - HM Plant Honda [pic credit: Honda Racing]
Shane Byrne - HM Plant Honda [pic credit: Honda Racing]
Shane Byrne - HM Plant Honda [pic credit: Honda Racing]
Shane Byrne - HM Plant Honda [pic credit: Honda Racing]
Shane Byrne - HM Plant Honda [pic credit: Honda Racing]
Tom Tunstall - Doodson BMW
Jenny Tinmouth - Splitlath Aprilia
Jenny Tinmouth, Hudson Kennaugh - Splitlath Aprilia
Michael Rutter - Rapid Bathams Ducati
Michael Rutter - Rapid Bathams Ducati
Shane Byrne, John Hopkins, Stuart Easton
Patric Muff - Tyco Honda
Michael Laverty - Swan Yamaha
Michael Laverty - Swan Yamaha
Ian Lowry - Buildbase BMW
Ian Lowry - Buildbase BMW

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September 11, 2008 1:07 PM

Nothing confirming it yet Gaz tho it is being rumoured elsewhere (eg the Alstare blog) If Yam really are set to loose Nori Haga to Ducati and keep Troy C to lead development Sykesy could be a very good investment option for them. But they'll be worrying he has no form on many of the circuits having not ridden on 'em, which consequently he won't know so that will be a bit deterrent for 'em. So most of what he brings to WSB will be expected to come in year two and later. And with some equally great talent (Rea fer instance) riding supersprouts now who *do* know the circuits I think it'll be had for Grinner to break straight in. Which is a shame, cos he's clearly good enough.

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