First win of season for Byrne
First win of season for Byrne

Sittingbourne’s Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne got his first win of the season and his eighth victory on the Brands Hatch Indy circuit at the weekend.

With a victory in race one and a fourth place in race two Byrne the six time champion left his home circuit with another excellent points haul as the season moves on to Oulton Park.

The Kent venue saw dry conditions for the opening 30-lap race, and six-times champion Byrne made a strong getaway off the line on the factory-backed Be Wiser Ducati Panigale R to tuck in behind early race leader Bradley Ray and the duo remained nose to tail for the majority of the race. Going into the closing stages, Sittingbourne-based Byrne was ready to make his move and duly grabbed the lead at Paddock Hill Bend on the penultimate lap from where he hung on to take his 85th BSB career victory.

With Shakey on the front row for the second 30-lap encounter, the team was confident of another strong showing but it was only six laps old before the red flag came out due to rain. Restarted over the shorter distance of 22 laps and in wet conditions, Byrne part of a six-rider group battling for the lead in the early stages of the race along with teammate Glenn Irwin.

Byrne slipped back to fourth as the race progressed, but Irwin continued to dispute the lead with Leon Haslam, Michael Laverty and Jake Dixon. Positions between them changed regularly and although Irwin led on the penultimate lap, he ultimately had to settle for second place.

Speaking after the weekend, Byrne said: “Overall, it’s been a good weekend with a good haul of points and the first race couldn’t have gone any better. Brad and I pulled a bit of a gap over the rest of the field and I had a plan for the closing stages but when he ran wide, I took advantage. I saw the job through though and it was great to get the first win of the season.

“The conditions for race two were far from ideal and I lost a bit of ground so with a good gap behind me, I settled for a solid fourth. With a first and a fourth place, it hasn’t been a bad day and with Glenn getting a podium too, it’s been a good day for the team.”

Images courtesy of PSP Images