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Byrne bounces back for double

5 May 2008

Shane Byrne bounced back from an early error in the second Bennetts British Superbike Championship race at Oulton Park to secure his first double victory since his 2003 championship winning campaign.

Byrne made a mistake at Britten's in the early stages but was able to storm back through the pack to secure a somewhat unexpected win in a race shortened by a red flag.

At the start, Tom Sykes made the best getaway on his Rizla Suzuki to lead into Old Hall for the first time, with Cal Crutchlow settling into second place ahead of HM Plant team-mate Leon Haslam. Michael Rutter held fourth after battling ahead of Byrne, with James Ellison rounding out the top six.

On the second lap, Byrne was able to move back ahead of North West 200 Ducati rider Rutter but then made a mistake entering Britten's when he put a wheel onto the white line on the side of the circuit and was forced to stand the bike up and straightline the chicane – slipping down to 13th place in the process.

Out front. Crutchlow was pushing Sykes hard for the lead, with Haslam not far behind and ready to pounce should the chance arise. Further down the pack, Leon Camier had stormed his way though the top six bit was then demoted by Stuart Easton on lap three. Sykes therefore led at the end of the lap from Crutchlow, Haslam, Ellison, Rutter and Easton with Byrne having climbed back to eleventh; setting the fastest lap in the process.

Clearly deciding that Crutchlow wasn't going to be able to find a way past the leader, Haslam moved past his team-mate at Old Hall at the start of lap four and set about trying to move up into top spot himself.

On lap six, he briefly took the lead at the first corner only to run wide and allow Sykes to cut back through into the position and the pair were soon joined again by Crutchlow who remained in contention and Ellison, who wasn't too far behind on the Hydrex Honda.

Meanwhile, Byrne was a man on a mission and a series of quick laps saw him quickly into the top ten. Indeed, by lap seven, the Ducati man was back into the top five after he passed team-mate Camier at Lodge and another fastest lap on lap eight – this time quicker than he managed in qualifying – enabled him to close onto the rear of Ellison in the fight for fourth.

On lap ten, Byrne made his move at Island to go fourth but within a lap, he was up into second place after a controversial coming together between Haslam and Sykes at Hizzies. Haslam tried to go down the inside of the Rizla Suzuki man into the right hander but when Sykes then took his line into the corner, the resulting contact saw the Suzuki go down and led to Haslam taking a trip over the grass to drop down to fifth.

It moved Crutchlow into the lead of the race ahead of Byrne, Ellison and Camier but a lap later, Byrne had hit the front after making a move at Island similar to the one he had pulled on Ellison a couple of laps earlier. Further down the top ten, lap twelve saw the demise of Karl Harris, whose miserable start to the season continued as he ended his race in the tyre wall at Druids for the second time.

A lap later, the race took its final dramatic twist when Crutchlow followed Harris in going off at Druids. With the HM Plant man picking up an ankle injury in the fall, and with Steve Mercer and Dean Ellison also having gone off earlier in the lap, the red flag was thrown and the result declared with Byrne ahead of Ellison and Camier.

Haslam was classed in fourth ahead of Michael Laverty and Stuart Easton, with Michael Rutter seventh and Simon Andrews rounding out the top eight.

In the Cup Class, victory went to John Laverty ahead of Luke Quigley and Chris Burns.

For full result, CLICK HERE.


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