Podium for Byrne at Oulton Park
Podium for Byrne at Oulton Park

A weekend that promised so much for Kent’s Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne proved to be quite frustrating for the defending champion, with a third place finish in race one the highlight.

With Byrne starting the first 18-lap race from pole position, hopes were high for some strong results on the factory-backed Ducati Panigale Rs but although six-times and defending champion Byrne made a good start, he was pushed back to sixth at the completion of the opening lap.

Positions remained the same until lap five when Carrickfergus rider Irwin crashed out at Island Bend, fortunately without injury, which left Byrne on his own to fly the flag for Paul Bird’s Penrith-based team. At half distance, he was still in fifth but over the second half of the race, he was able to move forward and in doing so, secured yet another BSB podium.

Byrne had slightly more work to do this time as he was on the second row in sixth. Seventh at the end of lap one he found progress hard going in the hot conditions, but they continued to battle throughout.

Byrne managed to overhaul Peter Hickman on the third lap and the duo then did the same to Bradley Ray in quick succession leaving them in fourth and fifth at half race distance. Sittingbourne based Byrne overtook his team-mate at two-thirds race distance and although he closed the gap to third placed Jake Dixon, he couldn’t quite get close enough to make a pass.

As a result, he settled for fourth and the day’s results mean Byrne now sits in third overall in the championship table on 98 points with Irwin two places further back in fifth.

Speaking after the weekend, Byrne said: “It’s been a difficult weekend and after practice and qualifying went so well, with fast, consistent lap times, race day proved to be hard going and I’m sitting here now wondering what went wrong. We had a problem in morning warm-up and suffered with a bit of chatter on corner entry during the first race, so it was a struggle although I managed to salvage a podium which was a solid enough result all things considered.

“We made some changes for race two which definitely improved the bike, but it took me a while to get by Peter and then Glenn as he was very strong on the brakes and getting back on the gas. I made inroads into Jake but couldn’t get close enough to pass so it was quite a frustrating race as I felt I had the pace to go with the leaders. I wish we could race again tomorrow but we’ll regroup for the next round.”

Images courtesy of PSP Images