Shane Byrne took a triumphant hat-trick of victories at Brands Hatch this weekend to win his third British Superbike Championship.

The local Kentish rider entertained a massive crowd as he threw caution to the wind to push hard for the three wins, including a final race overtake on series runner-up Josh Brookes, despite a safe points cushion. Interestingly ‘Shakey’s Championship win for Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki was achieved on the 20th anniversary of the Japanese manufacturer’s last title in 1992.

The prestigious Pirelli supported BSB series has supplied season long drama across twelve rounds, including an historic foray into Europe at Assen, accommodating bumper recession beating crowds at every event. With new power and budget equaling regulations plus single tyre supply, the series has never been more open and level, producing an incredible eight different winners during the year.

Shakey entered the weekend with a nine point lead from Brookes but looked determined to put on a determined show for his local fans. Meanwhile Brookes knew that only wins would suffice while the man in recent great form; Alex Lowes held third, narrowly leading reigning Champion Tommy Hill in fourth.

Qualifying took place early on Saturday afternoon in cooler conditions as Lowes continued his devastating practice form, taking pole position with a 1:26.020 circulation in the final short Q3 session.

Race one was then held shortly after qualifying, only delayed by a major clean-up operation after a freak oil slick from a demonstration car. The racing again took place in cooler conditions (air 11C, track 17°C) with threatening clouds overhead. Byrne took the holeshot and extended his lead to just over a second by the half way mark, but Silverstone victor Lowes began to up his pace and started to close in on the lead. However the clouds lived up to their promise and as rain began to fall, Lowes slipped off on the exit to Clearways as the red flag was issued and a result declared. Reigning champion Tommy Hill claimed his first podium of the Showdown with second while Josh Brookes came in third overcoming a brake fade problem early on – giving Byrne an 18 point lead into Sunday’s final two races. By virtue of their fastest laps in the opening race, Lowes would again start from pole position with a 1:26.317 while Byrne’s time set on lap 12 was good enough to secure second on the grid as Josh Brookes remained in sixth.

Race two was held on Sunday, registering warmer temperatures but the track remained cool under the expansive wooded sections on the ‘long circuit.’ Byrne took the holeshot with his teammate start Easton riding shotgun. Brookes, mindful that he had to keep Byrne in sight to have any chance of keeping his title aspirations alive, slipped back to sixth before having to battle back through the field. Behind Byrne Barry Burrell was a surprise front runner holding onto second until late in the race before being overwhelmed by Michael Laverty and Brookes. Lowes again featured strongly, battling with Brookes until a gearchange issue forced him out of the reckoning. The pace car was introduced twice due to incidents and the race extended from 20 to 23 laps. Brookes forced his way past Burrell but didn’t have enough time to reel in Byrne, forcing the title crown to the final race of the Championship.

The final race of the day saw the massive crowd stay to watch their local hero complete his championship mission with a comfortable 23 point lead over Brookes. The determined Australian set-off with a lightening start from pole position and started eking out a lead before Byrne, Lowes and Laverty closed him down. Byrne made a determined pass on Brookes on the penultimate lap at the fearsome Pilgrims Drop section to take the chequered flag to fevered celebrations and a track invasion. Behind them Lowes and Laverty crashed out together to hand Hill a final podium of the season.

In cool, dry conditions teams used Pirelli Diablo Superbike slick tyres throughout the weekend with the softer SC1 selection used extensively front and rear, with notable exceptions Alex Lowes and James Westmoreland using the harder SC2 front tyres.

In the Motorpoint Supersport 600 Championship, series leader Glen Richards uncharacteristically crashed out of the final race but in a strange twist of fate, Jack Kennedy was also forced to retire with a technical DNF, giving Richards the title. The Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa  tyre shod series have produced some fantastic racing and seven separate winners; Richards, Kennedy, Sam Warren, Billy McConnell, Christian Iddon, PJ Jacobson and Ben Wilson.

Pirelli Racing Manager Jason Griffiths commented, “Congratulations to Shane Byrne and the Paul Bird Motorsport team on a faultless weekend which secured the BSB title. Cooler track temperatures meant that machine set up to gain the benefits of the higher grip level of the SC1 solution was very important. The PBM team certainly achieved this. On behalf of Pirelli thanks to the teams & riders for their contribution to this fantastic series and also to all the volunteers that play a huge part in the awesome spectacle that is the BSB series. ”

Race One (Saturday):
1: Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki)
2: Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha)
3: Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki)
4: James Westmoreland (WFR Honda)
5: Stuart Easton (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki)
6: Barry Burrell (Buildbase BMW)

Race two (Sunday):
1: Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki)
2: Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki)
3: Michael Laverty (Samsung Honda)
4: Barry Burrell (Buildbase BMW)
5: Tommy Bridewell (Supersonic BMW)
6: Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha)

Race three:
1: Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki)
2: Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki)
3: Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha)
4: Tommy Bridewell (Supersonic BMW)
5: Barry Burrell (Buildbase BMW)
6: James Westmoreland (WFR Honda)

MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship final standings:
1: Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) 683
2: Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) 655
3: Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) 612
4: Alex Lowes (WFR Honda) 584
5: Michael Laverty (Samsung Honda) 581
6: Tommy Bridewell (Supersonic BMW) 577

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