Shane Byrne says the first successful defence of a MCE British Superbike title has allowed the Be Wiser Ducati rider to achieve a career-long goal as he clinched an unprecedented sixth title.

Byrne overturned a 33-point deficit on Leon Haslam at the three-race season finale at Brands Hatch thanks to two wins followed by a dramatic decider in which the JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider crashed out due to brake failure, effectively handing the crown to Byrne.

Despite the pressure being off, Byrne still had to ensure he finished higher than 13th place to seal the title but held on to take a comfortable eighth place and with it the 2017 crown.

It marks the first time Byrne has successfully defended a BSB title, adding it to his 2003, 2008, 2012, 2014 and 2016 triumphs and extending his dominance of the series.

Byrne says if he failed to retain his BSB title at a fifth attempt it would have “broken” him as he relished one of the toughest championship fights in his career.

“Not defending the title would have broken me as it was one thing I’ve always wanted to do,” Byrne said. “We’ve gone and done it so huge thanks to the Ducati team and my whole team. I’m over the moon to defend the title and go into the winter now as a champion is absolutely amazing.

“To defend the championship after the bike hadn’t won a championship for eight years or something is amazing.

“I think it is fair to say over the past four rounds we’ve had a rough run, sometimes through no fault of our own, but things haven’t gone our way. When you put in as much to racing and it means as much to you as it does to me, to go away and grind yourself into the ground but still have a bad weekend you starting thinking ‘what am I going to do’.

“This has been my worst season overall not winning many races but I came into this weekend thinking I wanted to just enjoy the weekend with my Be Wiser PBM Ducati team and have some fun by going out and seeing what the weekend would bring us.”

Byrne says his hopes for the 2017 BSB title only sparked back into life after winning race two at Brands Hatch to slash the gap to Haslam to two points ahead of the decider, knowing that a winner-takes-all proposition was set up.

The new six-time BSB champion says he was disappointed to miss an all-out battle with Haslam after he crashed with brake fail on lap six of the final race but felt he would have had the pace in hand to complete the job to defend his title.

“After winning race two suddenly the gap was two points and it threw a different kind of perspective on the final race,” he said. “I figured that all I needed to do was see where Leon was as there was no way he was going to give up because he is so determined. He is such a bull terrier and when he got into fourth at least I knew where he was so I could take it steady for a few laps behind him.

“I knew I had the pace at the end from the past two races so I was ready but then he had the crash at Hawthorns and I really threw me because we were supposed to race for the championship. After that I was worried about the bike and a couple of guys came by me but I knew it was okay.”



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