Just a week after securing his place in the all-important Showdown which will determine the winner of the 2017 MCE British Superbike Championship, Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne heads to Oulton Park this forthcoming weekend aiming for a maximum points haul.
The five times and defending champion hasn’t enjoyed the best of luck in recent races but still leads the series going into the three deciding rounds aboard Paul Bird’s factory-backed Be Wiser Ducati Panigale R, at the track he took his first victory of the year at back in May.
The Sittingbourne-based Londoner’s advantage, now that the Showdown system is in place, is just six points ahead of Leon Haslam but had it not been for a couple of technical failures and a pair of crashes in recent races, that gap should have been bigger and Byrne is relishing the opportunity to rectify the situation, especially with improvements to the Be Wiser Ducati following a visit to Silverstone by senior Ducati Corse personnel.
Meanwhile team-mate Glenn Irwin put aside his injury problems at Silverstone to record his maiden BSB race win when he took the Be Wiser Ducati to victory in the opening race of the weekend.
The Carrickfergus-based rider has struggled with serious arm and shoulder injuries he sustained at Knockhill and resulted in him not being able to maintain his top six position for a place in the Showdown, but is now gradually returning to fitness and is planning to do what he can to help Byrne secure maximum points available.
Shane Byrne: “Clearly Silverstone last weekend never went to plan for my side of the garage, there was the possibility of 15 more Podium Points and we ended up with just one. That said there were plenty of positives for me too which I certainly plan on taking into the Showdown starting this coming weekend. We had a win and a second at Oulton Park earlier this year so the aim is obvious, to go one better and do the double whilst keeping a watchful eye on our closest rivals.”
Glenn Irwin: “Obviously I won’t forget Silverstone in a hurry but that’s now done and dusted and I intend to keep building and making progress. We made positive steps at Silverstone outside of our victory, we made the SC1 tyre work much better in the second race and I felt content that I could have this option in the future races. My role is now wingman to Shakey and I want to be a good one at that, we all know my objective this weekend.”
Championship standings (after nine rounds)
1 S Byrne 532pts
2 L Haslam 526
3 J Brookes 522
4 J Dixon 518
5 P Hickman 509
6 J O’Halloran 503
11 Irwin 107
Pictures attached (courtesy of Jon Jessop Photography) Shane Byrne (67) and Glenn Irwin (2)