Byrne back to winning ways at Brands
7 August 2011
Shane Byrne has won his fourth race of the 2011 MCE British Superbike Championship season after prevailing in an absorbing battle with key title rival Tommy Hill.
Both Byrne and Hill came into the second race of the weekend determined to make up for failing to score in the opening encounter, both riders having been caught out by an ill-advised tyre choice in tricky conditions.
Nonetheless, having taken advantage of a grid determined by fastest laps from race one – with those who pitted for slick tyres benefitting over those that stayed on intermediates -, Hill got away well from pole position to lead into the opening bends.
Joan Lascorz and Michael Rutter gave chase, the latter edging ahead of the factory Kawasaki rider by the end of the lap, though both would soon find themselves behind Byrne as he carefully worked his way into contention.
On the tail of Hill's Swan Yamaha by lap four, Byrne pushed ahead into the lead on lap six and set about trying to pull away from his rival.
As it happens, Hill stayed close to Byrne, but his efforts to wrest the lead off the HM Plant Honda rider were restricted to a failed overtake at Paddock Hill Bend on lap 13, Hill going through but running wide and allowing Byrne back ahead.
Indeed, though Hill stayed close to the chequered flag, Byrne rebuffed his every effort, enabling him to come home a winner for the first time since Thruxton.
Behind Hill, John Hopkins made good progress from 12th on the grid to come home in third place, the American unable to do much about the leaders once he had dispatched of Rutter.
Another bold ride from Rutter was rewarded with fifth place, just behind Michael Laverty, while race one winner Josh Brookes was a solid sixth after being forced to work his way up the order again from 13th on the grid.
The fight for seventh went down to the wire, with four riders covered by less than four tenths of a second. In the end, Lascorz secured the spot, just ahead of Jon Kirkham and Martin Jessopp, the latter making up good ground in the closing stages, while Peter Hickman rounded out the top ten.
Graeme Gowland took EVO honours once again with a fine ride to 11th, ahead of reigning champion Ryuichi Kiyonari, whose poor start from the front row saw him languishing at the bottom end of the top fifteen throughout the race.
Broc Parkes, Glen Richards and Chris Walker completed the points, while there was disappointment for race one podium winner Gary Mason after he crashed out of a top ten finish.
The grid for race three, meanwhile, will see Hill on pole for a third time, ahead of Byrne, Hopkins and Laverty.