News 23 May 2016

Haslam and Byrne race to Brands Hatch BSB victories

Australia's O'Halloran claims a pair of top 10 finishes.

Source: Supplied.

Source: Supplied.

Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne has become the fifth different winner in the 2016 MCE British Superbike Championship as the home hero claimed an emphatic victory in the second race at Brands Hatch after a fierce fight to the finish.

In the opening race points leader Leon Haslam had carved his way through the pack as at the front of the field his JG Speedfit Kawasaki teammate James Ellison, Luke Mossey, Richard Cooper and Tommy Bridewell scrapped it out for the advantage.

Haslam had to use all of his experience to close in on the leaders after an early safety car period when the Nissan GT-R was deployed when James Rispoli, Jenny Tinmouth and Vittorio Iannuzzo crashed out at Druids.

The ‘Pocket Rocket’ first battled his way ahead of Cooper and Mossey, with the leading quartet inseparable and covered in the closing stages by just 0.3 seconds. Haslam’s hopes of victory came down to the final lap and he put in an incredible last lap to first pass Tommy Bridewell into Paddock Hill Bend and then out-drag his teammate Ellison to the line by just 0.057 seconds.

Bridewell completed the podium to reward the Bennetts Suzuki team with their first podium finish of the season and Suzuki’s first since 2014. Aussie Jason O’Halloran crossed the line eighth for Honda Racing.

In race two Mossey and Ellison again got a lightning start off the line and the pair traded blows to hold the lead ahead of Cooper and Haslam. The Nissan GT-R Safety Car was deployed on the ninth lap when Michael Laverty suffered a technical problem with his Tyco BMW.

Ellison held the lead and when the race resumed Cooper was pushing him all the way as Ellison was forced to retire with a technical issue. Four-time champion Byrne though was ready to bounce back from his ninth place in race one and he was moving up the pack rapidly; joining the fight for the victory between Cooper, Haslam, Mossey and Bridewell.

Byrne then delivered a master class of moves at Clearways, first on Bridewell and then just four laps later on Haslam, leaving just Cooper ahead of him in his quest for his first win of the season. The Be Wiser Ducati rider left it until two laps remaining to make his move; completing the hat trick at Clearways to take the lead and hold off his rivals to the line.

Cooper returned to the podium ahead of Haslam who now holds the lead in the standings by just three points ahead of Knockhill next month. Bridewell narrowly missed out on a double podium finish in fourth place with Dan Linfoot and Honda Racing completing the top five, while teammate O’Halloran was sixth.