Published: 17:00, 15 October 2017 |
Updated: 17:03, 15 October 2017
Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne rode to an unlikely sixth British Superbike title win on Sunday at Brands Hatch, writes Sandy Burr.
The Sittingbourne rider was 21 points adrift of title-rival Leon Haslam ahead of Sunday's showdown.
Byrne closed the gap on Haslam after winning Saturday's race at his home circuit, having been 33 points behind originally.
Be Wiser Ducati's Byrne followed up his win on Saturday by taking first place in Sunday's opening race too, to set up a dramatic finale.
Ahead of the last race Byrne was just two points behind Haslam but was ahead of his rival on the grid.
There was drama when Byrne dropped to sixth after a near collision with third place championship contender Josh Brookes, allowing Haslam to squeeze through ahead of the Kent man.
But the pendulum swung back dramatically Byrne’s way when Haslam crashed out on lap six, leaving Byrne only needing a finish in the points to clinch the title.
He eventually crossed the finishing line in eighth place.
Byrne said: "I never envisaged being able to pull back 33 points, but what I did envisage was coming here to do the best job I possibly could this weekend and try and win three races.
“That’s never a given in BSB because it’s really, really difficult to win, but after we won the first race and pulled back some points and then there was only two points between us I had a bit of a game plan for the final race of the day, and that was to keep an eye on my pit board to see where Leon was and basically remain a place or two in front of him.
“I knew he was starting on the fourth row and when he came past me on the start I thought “seriously, what sort of a start did you get?” but it was perfect because I was sat in fourth or fifth with Leon right in front of me and I felt absolutely cool with that because I knew towards the end of the race I’d be really strong,
“Then as we went down into Hawthorns Leon didn’t get on the brakes or whatever happened and jumped off his bike.
“I hadn’t actually won a race since we were here in July and that never happens. BSB is so tough right now that it’s really, really difficult to win. We’ve ended up champions so I’m super, super happy to have defended the title."
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