Howie Mainwaring celebrated both his and the Quattro Plant Kawasaki team’s first victory in a dramatic opener to the triple-header final round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship in the damp conditions at Brands Hatch.
Byrne and Kiyonari chasing a record-breaking fourth title ended the opening day on the same points as they started with after both crashed out of contention, meaning the title will be decided at the Kent circuit tomorrow (Sunday).
Kiyonari high-sided off his Buildbase BMW on his second lap in the morning free practice, fracturing his left collar-bone. The Japanese rider opted to sit out the Saturday race, but he is bidding to keep his championship hopes alive by lining up in the final two races of the season on Sunday.
Kiyonari will go into the two races twelve points down on Byrne who had started his Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki from the front row of the grid, alongside first time pole-starter James Ellison on the Lloyds British GBmoto Kawasaki.
Byrne was running in second place to Quattro Plant Kawasaki’s Dan Linfoot as the race continued but on the seventh lap disaster struck for the local hero as he crashed out unhurt at Clarke Curve.
Byrne said: “I thought I’ll just sit here, watch the gap behind me and sat in second but you know you come into Clearways, and we had a similar situation in the wet qualifying in August when loads of us fell down, nothing any different and then the next thing you’re on your rear. I was sliding through the gravel actually thinking how did that just happen?! I’ve done nothing different why?”
Byrne could only watch as Mainwaring, amid a frantic finish held off the fierce challenge of Tyco Suzuki’s Josh Waters. The pair were side-by-side as they ran through Clearways on the final lap but Mainwaring won the dash to the line by just 0.047s.
Mainwaring said: “It has been a long time coming – we have had a few issues during the season but here everything fell into place and came together.”
Jon Kirkham riding the Halsall Biker Gear Kawasaki scored his first podium of the season in third with Linfoot back in fourth.
Tommy Bridewell moved into third place in the title stakes, by a single point, at the expense of his Milwaukee Yamaha team-mate Josh Brookes. Bridewell finished fifth with Stuart Easton and Ellison pushing Brookes back into eighth. James Westmoreland and Chris Walker completed the top ten.
1: Howie Mainwaring (Quattro Plant Kawasaki)
2: Josh Waters (Tyco Suzuki) +0.047s
3: Jon Kirkham (Halsall Biker Gear Kawasaki) +2.390s
4: Dan Linfoot (Quattro Plant Kawasaki) +4.297s
5: Tommy Bridewell (Milwaukee Yamaha) +14.219s
6: Stuart Easton (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +20.018s
1: Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) 632
2: Ryuichi Kiyonari (Buildbase BMW) 620
3: Tommy Bridewell (Milwaukee Yamaha) 561
4: Josh Brookes (Milwaukee Yamaha) 560
5: Dan Linfoot (Quattro Plant Kawasaki) 559
6: Chris Walker (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) 519
British GT preview 2017Read more...
Peugeot 208 WRX to break cover in Barcelona
Ahead of the opening round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship this weekend, Sébastien Loeb and Timmy Hansen are to take the wraps off the all-new, 2017-configuration PEUGEOT 208 WRX which proudly boasts a bold new livery and a strikingly aggressive look.Read more...