Shane Byrne records first podium finish of season in MCE Insurance British Superbike Championships
Shane Byrne's indifferent start to the 2012 MCE Insurance
British Superbike season continued at round two – but the
Sittingbourne rider left Thruxton confident smooth progress is just
around the corner.
Two-time former BSB champion Byrne (pictured) admitted he
was struggling to get to grips with his new Kawasaki machinery at
the season-opener at Brands Hatch on Easter Monday, finishing the
only race possible in seventh.
And there were more teething problems at Thruxton with the
35-year-old proven race winner forced to settle for an almost
unheard of qualifying display of 15th.
The Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki rider recovered more than a little
pride on race day, ending race one just outside the podium
positions in fourth before picking up his first taste of the podium
champagne of the season with third in the second contest.
And while quick to acknowledge there is plenty of hard work
still to come Byrne insisted his first podium appearance was
something to celebrate.
"I'm not happy but a podium is a lot better than what I got in
the first race," said Byrne. "You have to be positive and I've got
a podium credit at last.
"It was really nice to be fighting in the race up at the front
after a disappointing fourth in the first race.
"But to be honest I didn't want to lead in race two because of
the pace and wear on the tyres. I just tried to be as smooth and as
fast as possible. But I lost a bit of grip towards the end which
let Tommy (Hill) and Josh (Brookes) pass me on the breaks into the
last corner, and I didn't really have an answer.
"They stalked me properly and did exactly what they had to do so
fair play to them. So maybe I’m a bit disappointed overall, I am
happy for third but third isn't a win, so I am not ecstatic."
Byrne’s bittersweet emotions came on the back of being upstaged
on the podium in race two as Aussie Josh Brookes took the win ahead
of 2011 champion Tommy Hill.
Brookes’ race two heroics lifted him to second in the overall
championship standings with 47 points, behind race one winner and
surprise package Ian Lowry (49).
Byrne is in touching distance in fifth with 11 points ahead of
round three in early May and believes his machinery is just where
he wants it ahead of the trip to Oulton Park.
"The bike worked brilliantly all weekend, and to be fair it did
at Brands but the wet setting we chose there was not quite right,"
said Byrne. "When it's working this well we have to be fighting for
Meanwhile, Lydd racer Bradley Ray claimed two race wins in
the Monster Energy Motostar British Championship over the
Ray, on his Honda 125, won a close opening 10-lap race by just
under a second ahead of Kyle Ryde.
He then set the fastest lap in the second race - a five lap
sprint - where he won by an impressive margin of seven seconds.
The FAB-Racing teenager leads the championship with 50
Ashford's Ian Stanford claimed a 21st and a 20th place finish on
Also at Thruxton, in the National Superstock 600 Championship,
Dover's Jake Dixon added to last week's victory with a third place
Elsewhere, Maidstone's Tom Weeden only just missed out on a
podium place, finishing just 0.8 seconds behind the third place
finisher in the Triumph Triple Challenge.
Rob McNealy, from Sittingbourne, was competing in the National
1000 Superstock Championship and after finishing a promising 8th in
the shoot-out race he finished way down in 29 during the 15-lap
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