Brands BSB: Byrne crowned 2017 British Superbike Champion

Picture: Impact Images

Be Wiser Ducati rider Shane Byrne has won his sixth MCE British Superbike championship title today at Brands Hatch as brake problems for rival Leon Haslam saw him bail off his Kawasaki at the superfast Hawthorne corner.

Byrne cruised home in eighth place to take his first back-to-back brace of titles as Josh Brookes bagged victory in the final race of the season and missed out on his second championship by three points, leapfrogging the luckless Haslam who was rewarded with championship third and a suspected broken wrist and ankle for his troubles.

Byrne has rewritten the BSB history books again as he is the only rider to win six titles and did it in style on the Panigale, as he managed to keep out of trouble at his local track.

Honda Racing’s Jason O’Halloran finished second in the race behind Brookes with McAMS Yamaha’s James Ellison in third.

Ellison got the hole-shot with Christian Iddon close on his tail. As in race two, all the riders opted for the softer option rear Pirelli tyres, then on lap four Iddon got the lead at Paddock Hill. Meanwhile Laverty was third with Brookes, Haslam and Byrne in fourth, fifth and sixth.

But a rotation later, Brookes gained pace and went up to second after overtaking both McAMS Yamaha bikes. But then on lap six Haslam crashed at Hawthorns and the safety car went out. The Smalley rider was up and talking and it was reported that he may have broken his ankle, and that he apparently did not have any front brakes when he fell.

The safety car then went away with 12 laps to go with Iddon retaking the lead, only for Brookes to bite back. With Haslam out, Byrne was able to settle down on track and was seventh on lap 12. Elsewhere the McAMS team-mates were dicing between second and third place, with O’Halloran gaining pace to go fourth. When the chequered flag came out Michael Laverty kept hold of fourth with Riders Cup victor, Tyco BMW’s Christian Iddon rounding up the top five.

Honda Racing’s Dan Linfoot was sixth, followed by showdown rider, Peter Hickman, Byrne, Bradley Ray and Richard Cooper completing the top ten. Guintoli, Dixon, Irwin, Jackson and Bridewell were the last of the points finishers.

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