amid three hard-fought races in which three different riders (Ellison, Byrne, Brookes) and three different manufacturers (Yamaha, Kawasaki, Suzuki) all celebrated victories.
Milwaukee Yamaha’s Ellison had denied Byrne in Saturday’s race by 0.186 seconds, in a frantic affair that set the pattern for the weekend with Lowes completing the podium.
However in race two Byrne pushed the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki to the limit during the race to keep Lowes and Ellison behind him in the early stages. Brookes was aggressively pushing to take the advantage from his leading rival over the final laps but the defending champion had the edge.
Byrne celebrated the victory by 0.173 seconds from Brookes, but there was despair for Ellison who crashed out of third at high-speed with three laps remaining. Lowes also had his aspirations of a podium shattered when he slid off at Lodge on the final corner of the last lap handing third place to his Samsung Honda team-mate Ryuichi Kiyonari.
Byrne reflected that it was mix of elation and relief that he had completed a record haul of 50 victories: “They kept me honest all of the way in that race! It is a fantastic feeling, but I went into the race feeling quite nervous after missing out on Saturday in such a close race. We are all riding absolutely on the limit so to get level or pass someone you are going beyond your comfort zone. That 50th win was for my team manager Paul Bird as he has played such a massive part in my career.”
Byrne was targeting an action replay in the final race of the weekend as he set the early benchmark at the front of the pack with Ellison in close contention before being taken by Brookes in the closing stages. The Aussie, who had not previously won at the circuit, had a point to prove and after a huge duel with Lowes took the fight to Byrne.
Brookes snatched the lead at Shell Oils corner with five laps remaining to take his second victory of the season and he said: “From the first lap, I pushed and pushed. I was going as hard as I could to win for the first time here as in the past I have had great performances and still finished second or third. I got my head down and got ahead of Shakey to take the victory which is fantastic for me and the Tyco Suzuki team.”
Byrne claimed another podium finish with a second place ahead of Lowes in third. Ellison bounced back from his race two crash to finish fourth ahead of Tommy Bridewell who completed a highly successful debut with Halsall Kawasaki team.
At the end of the seventh round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship the leading three riders in the standings, Byrne, Brookes and Lowes, have now secured their position as Title Fighters in the end of season Showdown. Kawasaki, Suzuki and Honda are now confirmed to be in the top six for the title fight.
1: James Ellison (Milwaukee Yamaha)
2: Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +0.186s
3: Alex Lowes (Samsung Honda) +1.923s
4: Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) +4.326s
5: Tommy Bridewell (Halsall Racing Kawasaki) +5.010s
6: Ryuichi Kiyonari (Samsung Honda) +9.960s
Sunday race one :
1: Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki)
2: Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) +0.173s
3: Ryuichi Kiyonari (Samsung Honda) +0.932s
4: Tommy Bridewell (Halsall Racing Kawasaki) +9.532s
5: Jon Kirkham (Buildbase BMW) +15.772s
6: PJ Jacobsen (Tyco Suzuki) +18.343s
Sunday race two:
1: Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki)
2: Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +0.246s
3: Alex Lowes (Samsung Honda) +0.836s
4: James Ellison (Milwaukee Yamaha) +1.070s
5: Tommy Bridewell (Halsall Racing Kawasaki) +1.237s
6: James Westmoreland (Buildbase BMW) +18.465s
1: Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) 297
2: Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) 268
3: Alex Lowes (Samsung Honda) 243
4: James Ellison (Milwaukee Yamaha) 158
5: Ryuichi Kiyonari (Samsung Honda) 142
6: Jon Kirkham (Buildbase BMW) 126