Shane “Shakey” Byrne and Ryuichi Kiyonari continued their intense “War for Four” MCE Insurance British Superbike titles battle with a victory apiece in two closely-fought races at the penultimate round at Silverstone to set up for a dramatic finale.
Byrne holds a narrow 12 points advantage over Kiyonari going into the triple-header race Showdown at Brands Hatch (17/18/19 October).
Kiyonari took the initiative in the opening race at the Northamptonshire circuit, taking the lead on his Buildbase BMW in the early stages, but Byrne was shadowing his every move and Josh Brookes was also ready to get into the fight on his Milwaukee Yamaha.
Byrne closed in on Kiyonari and forced his Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki into the lead on the penultimate lap at Village, but the Japanese rider responded setting up an epic battle for supremacy on the final lap as the two riders traded places six times.
Byrne held on to take the victory by a narrow 0.064s margin from Kiyonari whilst Brookes claimed third and marked a return to the podium after his double DNF at Assen.
Byrne said: “Kiyo was incredibly strong and I needed to stay with him then on the last lap I had a little bit of a moment and I thought I have blown it. We passed each other and down the straight we were side by side and I knew whoever braked the latest would win the race. I went speedway style through the last corner and it was incredibly close but we did it.”
In the second contest Kiyonari was fixed on revenge and he claimed the lead from Byrne on the second lap of the race and twice was forced to defend his line strongly at Village as his arch rival tried to make a move. Byrne made a decisive attack to briefly lead, but the Japanese contender cut it back immediately and then held off the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki rider to the line.
Kiyonari said: “At the end of the race Shakey tried to pass me but I pushed very hard – every lap I was pushing hard and concentrating very hard, so I am pleased to take this win. I was disappointed to not win the first race, so this makes me happier.”
Byrne added after the second race: “That was one of the hardest second place ever. The pace was much hotter than in the first race and that meant the margins for passing were smaller. We ran so close to the limit, so fair play to Kiyo.”
James Ellison took third place on the Lloyds British GBmoto Kawasaki, his first podium finish since his Brands Hatch crash, narrowly ahead of Milwaukee Yamaha’s Tommy Bridewell.
The 2014 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship will be decided at Brands Hatch with a triple header race weekend on 17-18-19 October.
1: Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki)
2: Ryuichi Kiyonari (Buildbase BMW) +0.084s
3: Josh Brookes (Milwaukee Yamaha) +0.368s
4: Dan Linfoot (Quattro Plant Kawasaki) +17.952s
5: Stuart Easton (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +18.524s
6: Julien Da Costa (Honda Racing UK) +18.572s
1: Ryuichi Kiyonari (Buildbase BMW)
2: Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +0.074s
3: James Ellison (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) +10.008s
4: Tommy Bridewell (Milwaukee Yamaha) +10.101s
5: Josh Waters (Tyco Suzuki) +13.766s
6: Stuart Easton (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +15.719s
1: Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) 632
2: Ryuichi Kiyonari (Buildbase BMW) 620
3: Josh Brookes (Milwaukee Yamaha) 552
4: Tommy Bridewell (Milwaukee Yamaha) 550
5: Dan Linfoot (Quattro Plant Kawasaki) 546
6: Chris Walker (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) 513