Shakey still in with a shot
Shakey still in with a shot

Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne scored an important podium to keep his title chances alive whilst enduring contrasting fortunes this weekend at Assen in The Netherlands where the historic track hosted round 11 of the MCE British Superbike Championship.Aboard the factory-backed Be Wiser Ducati Panigale R, the five times and defending champion overcame a pair of crashes during yesterday’s wet Datatag Extreme Qualifying to start today’s opening race from row six of the grid but the Sittingbourne-based rider was soon on the case in the dry conditions.

Knowing he needed to maximise his points haul in the second of the Showdown rounds, race one saw Byrne battle with the leading bunch before a pass on James Ellison netted him second place, as main title rival Leon Haslam took the win.

However, with the fastest lap of the race, Byrne started the second 18-lap race from pole position and he made it count as he grabbed the holeshot to lead into turn one. From there, Shakey led and started to pull a gap but a mistake going into turn one saw him run off track and try as he might, he was unable to make up any more places with fifth place the end result.

Going into the triple-header finale at his local Brands Hatch track in two weeks’ time, Byrne is third in the standings, 33 points behind series leader Haslam.

Speaking after the weekend, Byrne said: “We were able to take a lot of positives out of the first race and to come through from 16th on the grid to second was pleasing. The one person I’m focused on at the moment is Leon as he’s leading the championship so getting involved with riders not part of the Showdown made life difficult. I should have been really happy with second place but the reality was I still didn’t beat Leon.

“Starting race two from pole made my life easier although I knew it would still be tough but I gave myself the best possible chance by leading for the majority of the race. The pace dropped when James (Ellison) passed me and I tried to fight back but made a mistake and dropped back to fifth so all I can do is go to Brands Hatch and do my very best. If that gets us the championship, then great, if it doesn’t, no-one can say I didn’t try.”