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  • Dominant double for Shane Byrne
  • Brookes clinches battling runner-up finish
  • Ellison on podium for Lloyds British GBmoto Kawasaki

Shane 'Shakey' Byrne wrapped up a double at the opening round of the MCE British Superbike Championship at Brands Hatch to take a maximum 50 points.

Byrne powered into the lead from team-mate Stuart Easton on the opening lap of 30, with Lloyds British GBmoto Kawasaki pair Chris Walker and James Ellison in hot pursuit.

However, Byrne gradually began to stretch a gap at the front and looked to be on course for a comfortable win until Milwaukee Yamaha's Josh Brookes began to emerge as a serious threat.

The Australian rider, who was a faller in the opening race, forced his way into second place in the final third of the race and seemed poised to strike until a slower rider thwarted his efforts at Druids on the penultimate lap.

That gave Rapid Soliciors Kawasaki rider Byrne enough breathing space to close out victory with Brookes, who started from tenth place on the grid, taking a fine runner-up finish.

Ellison came home in a safe third with Ryuichi Kiyonari (Buildbase BMW), Walker and Byrne's team-mate Easton rounding out the top six.

It was Byrne who seized the initiative into Paddock Hill Bend with Easton making a flying start to slot into second ahead of Walker and pole man Ellison.

By the end of lap three Byrne was already making a break for it as Walker and Ellison put pressure on Easton in second place, followed by Kiyonari, Jakub Smrz on the Millsport Ducati, Brookes and Tommy Bridewell.

Smrz's race was over when he slid off at Druids on lap nine as the battled raged behind Byrne.

By half distance Ellison was into second place after a pass on Easton at Surtees with Brookes up to fifth place behind Walker.

Brookes was on the move and swapped places with Easton on lap 17 before Kiyonari pushed the Aussie back fifth at Paddock Hill Bend at the start of lap 18.

Kiyonari drifted wide at Druids and Brookes didn't need a second invitation as he eased through into fourth. The Milwaukee Yamaha rider then took third from Easton and set about reeling in Ellison, who had caught Byrne.

Brookes eventually took up the running in second place with a move on Ellison at Paddock Hill Bend two laps from the finish and quickly slashed Byrne's deficit.

On the penultimate lap a slower rider came into play at Druids and Brookes' charge was hindered, preventing him from mounting one final attack.

Byrne won by 0.138s, with Ellison 1.785s down in third place behind Brookes. Buildbase BMW's Ryuichi Kiyonari made amends for his 16th place finish in race one as he took fourth, followed by Walker and Easton.

James Westmoreland (Buildbase BMW), Dan Linfoot (Quattro Plant Kawasaki), Tommy Bridewell (Milwaukee Yamaha) and Ben Wilson on the Gearlink Kawasaki completed the top ten.

John Hopkins was 11th on the Tyco Suzuki ahead of Martin Jessopp, while teenager Harry Hartley was an excellent 13th on the Halsall Bike Gear Kawasaki.

International road racing stars Ian Hutchinson (FFX Yamaha) and Michael Dunlop (Buildbase BMW) both retired from the race.