Shane Byrne has clinched his first win since July to close up the MCE British Superbike championship points deficit on Leon Haslam who finished fourth in the Brands Hatch opener.

After the initial start of the first race was red flagged due to fluid on track which took down five riders, the season finale opener was reduced to 16 laps which saw a close battle develop between early leader Christian Iddon and Byrne.

After the Tyco BMW rider led the opening lap, Byrne made his move up the inside on the drive down to Hawthorns and from there he gradually built and maintained a useful lead for his fifth win of the season.

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With Iddon second and Anvil Hire Yamaha’s Josh Brookes in third place, Haslam could only manage a distant fourth place by holding off former team-mate James Ellison at the chequered flag.

Byrne’s win coupled with Haslam in fourth means the points different is now down to 21 points with two races to go, while Brookes remains in contention thanks to his podium result which sees him 29 points off Haslam and eight points behind Byrne.

With Haslam holding off Ellison at the line it also denied Jason O’Halloran the chance for a late attack for Honda with a lonely race in sixth place but ahead of Smiths Racing BMW duo Peter Hickman and Lee Jackson, which marks the end of Hickman’s title chances.

Bradley Ray got the better of fellow Suzuki rider Richard Cooper on the final lap to take ninth place on the Buildbase Suzuki in front of Tommy Bridewell (Team WD-40 Kawasaki) and Luke Mossey (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) as Jakub Smrz, James Westmoreland and Kyle Ryde rounded out the points places, the latter scoring a point on his BSB debut with Quattro Plant FS-3 Kawasaki.

Jake Dixon's BSB title chances are also over having been one of the riders to fall in the red flag incident along with Sylvain Guintoli, Dan Lifoot, Michael Rutter and Martin Jessopp.