Be Wiser PBM Ducati
Sun, 15 Oct 2017
Coming in to Race 3, Shakey needed to ensure he finished ahead of his title rival Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) on track to ensure a 6th British Superbike title.
Shakey started from the middle of the front row in 2nd, while Haslam started from the middle of the 4th row in 11th. But as the lights went out Haslam got a fantastic start to launch himself just ahead of Shakey, who had dropped back to 6th.
But drama struck on Lap 6, when Haslam crashed out at Hawthorn Bend, ending the Kawasaki rider’s shot at the title. With Haslam out of the race, Shakey had to bring his Panigale R home in the points to ensure his first ever successful title defence.
Josh Brookes (Anvil TAG Hire Racing) won the race, but Shakey finished in 8th to collect 8 points and win the British Superbike Championship for the 6th time with 637 points. Brookes finished 2nd with 634 points, while Haslam‘s DNF saw him demoted to from 1st to 3rd in the championship.
Shakey’s teammate Glenn Irwin had started from 12th and was running well, until a false neutral forced him off-track at Sheen Curve. He re-joined the race back in 18th, fighting back to a 13th place finish, just 0.07s behind Showdown rider Jake Dixon (RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki).
Shakey has now won 4 British Superbike titles using Ducati machinery.
2017 British Superbike Champion: Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne - Ducati Panigale R
2016 British Superbike Champion: Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne - Ducati Panigale R
2008 British Superbike Champion: Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne - Ducati 1098
2002 British Superbike Champion: Shane 'Shakey' Byrne - Ducati 998
Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati #67) – 8th
Championship position: 1st - 637 points
“After the first race yesterday when we won, we got 14 points closer and then the 2nd Race today we got 2 points away from Leon. If I’m honest, when Leon came past at the start [Race 3] I thought, you know what, that’s the Leon we all know and love. He’s out here, he’s going to fight for it. I was more than happy sat there following for a bit and I thought towards the end of the race I’d make some moves and you know go forward again. But when he went down I was just, I can’t believe this. It kind of deflates things a tiny bit but at the end of the day we came here to win a championship and we got it done. So, commiserations to Leon for coming out. We’ve had a quick chat and a quick hug and my heart goes out to him. 33 points into the last round and he’s had it snatched away again. But, for all my fans, my team, my sponsors I’m so, so happy.
Every time I’ve been a champion, I’ve gone away to another championship or been beaten to the championship and finished 2nd. So, when you look at my record over the 5 or 6 years it’s been, 2-1, 2-1, or whatever it’s been and it looked like being 2 this year with a 33 deficit but we turned it around and won back to back titles. That’s a big tick of my bucket list and my career. There’s a few other little numbers out I want to hit and then start to think about what we’re going to do next.”
Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati #2) – 13th
Championship position: 12th - 132 points
“We started off Friday competitive and I knew I sort of brought myself out of that horrible dip of form I was in, if that’s a way to put it. Not back to where we were or where I’m going to go to but back to a competitive level and not feeling negative about everything. Saturday was difficult, we had an electrical problem all day that plagued us in qualifying and Race 1.
Race 2 today was really good. 7th has been my best finish in a long time. Unfortunately, in Race 3 we had a false neutral going into Sheene that put me basically at the back of the grid. The safety car certainly helped, but also, I didn’t know it was coming in and I’d left the gap to Kyle [Ryde] - probably about a second gap. So, I had to work hard to gain that ground back, managed to pass Kyle, Mossey, Jackson and you know Dixon is a championship challenger and we crossed the line right behind him. Our pace was good enough to do what we did in Race 1, but we just had a little false neutral in there and unfortunately in an unforgiving part of the track. It’s the way it goes.”
John 'Hopper' Hopkins (Moto Rapido Ducati #21)
Championship position: 15th - 121 points
Iain Hopcroft (Moto Rapido Ducati Team Manager)
“We started the season strong in pre-season testing and consistently at the sharp end and hoping for good things. We went into the first round and felt confident but I think John felt the pressure of expectation and crashed three times and that was the next four rounds for us really. It was a shame because it lost us the Showdown chase. But you come back stronger from that and we got a few podiums, we had some tough weekends and I think John felt some pressure in the middle of it trying to chase the Showdown.
It was just out of our grasp this year and we wanted to finish the year strong at Brands where he is always quick and we are always quick here. Throughout the practices we are always fast and we were top 5 in every session and going into qualifying John felt super comfortable and was breaking into those 1.24 minute laps was going to be easy for him and he didn’t quite do it in Q3. In Q2 Wilf [Moore – Team Owner] said to him you are going to need a 1.25.4 and John laughed and said no sweat man as he always does. He put in a 1.25 dead to get into Q3 and he said there is a good half a second still to come. So, our confidence was high all weekend and we wanted to get at least one podium in the three races and unfortunately John has ended up in hospital. He has gone in for some surgery today and everybody wishes him a speedy recovery and we look forward to getting him on the bike next year.”
Read the Race 2 report here.