Shane 'Shakey' Byrne and Tommy Hill shared the victories on Sunday at Brands Hatch to confirm their places in the BSB Championship Showdown. John Hopkins joined them on the podium in both races and is also guaranteed of a place in the top six.
In the first race of the day, Byrne seized the initiative from Hill on lap six, passing him into Surtees and despite the best attempts of the Swan Yamaha man, held on to take his fourth win of the year by just 0.580s. Hopkins starred to come through from 12th on the grid to take third ahead of Michael Laverty, Michael Rutter and Saturday's winner Josh Brookes.
After losing out in race two, Hill fought back in race three by storming clear from pole position with Hopkins leading the chase this time. The Crescent Suzuki man was forced to give best though, finishing 4.113s back in second. Byrne maintained his consistent form with third while Laverty and Rutter repeated their results from earlier on.
Speaking after the race, Hill described his winning performance as “probably my best ride of the season”, and admitted he was driven to repay his team for their hard work throughout the weekend.
“Saturday had been a bit iffy with the conditions and the first race on Sunday afternoon was a case of getting out there and finding my feet. Then it was a case in the last race of getting out there, getting my head down and pushing on as hard as I could because Hopper was riding so hard and well just behind me to keep the pressure on all of the way. The team has worked so well for me across the weekend, my bike was fine so this race win was for them.”
Third place gives Byrne a 24 point lead over Hopkins and the championship leader was pleased with his weekend's work despite a number of difficulties.
“I rode as hard as I could in that race but had an issue with rear wheel vibration and if I put the power down the bike skipped around a bit. I decided that a first and a third were much better than a first and a DNF so took the position, the points and the podium credit.”
Teammate Ryuichi Kiyonari had a terrible weekend though. After failing to score in the rain-affected first race, the reigning champion could only manage 12th in the second before salvaging some vital points with sixth in the third. Kiyonari has now fallen to sixth in the standings and only holds a five point lead over Rutter in the race for the final showdown spot.
In the mirror.co.uk EVO class, Graeme Gowland completed a hat-trick of victories but Glen Richards continues to lead overall thanks to three second places, putting him 70 points clear of Barry Burrell.
Riders Championship (After Round 8: Brands Hatch GP)
|1 (Q)||Shane Byrne||GBR||Honda||HM Plant Honda||4||255|
|2 (Q)||John Hopkins||USA||Suzuki||Samsung Crescent Racing||2||231|
|3 (Q)||Tommy Hill||GBR||Yamaha||Swan Yamaha||5||210|
|4||Michael Laverty||GBR||Yamaha||Swan Yamaha||1||163|
|5||Josh Brookes||AUS||Suzuki||Relentless Suzuki by TAS||1||146|
|6||Ryuichi Kiyonari||JAP||Honda||HM Plant Honda||2||135|
|(Top Six After Round 9 Qualify for Championship Showdown)|
|7||Michael Rutter||GBR||Ducati||Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati||130|
|8||Gary Mason||GBR||Kawasaki||MSS Colchester Kawasaki||115|
|9||Jon Kirkham||GBR||Suzuki||Samsung Crescent Racing||1||112|
|10||Peter Hickman||GBR||Honda||Tyco Honda||98|
|11||Stuart Easton||GBR||Kawasaki||MSS Colchester Kawasaki||89|
|12||Loris Baz||FRA||Yamaha||Motorpoint Yamaha||88|
|13||Chris Walker||GBR||Kawasaki||Pr1mo Racing||77|
|14||James Westmoreland||GBR||Yamaha||Motorpoint Yamaha||59|
|15||Dan Linfoot||GBR||Honda||Team Sorrymate.com||49|
|16||Martin Jessopp||GBR||Ducati||Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati||48|
|17||Alex Lowes||GBR||Kawasaki||MSS Colchester Kawasaki||42|
|18||Glen Richards (E)||AUS||Honda||Team WFR||35|
|19||Tommy Bridewell||GBR||Honda||Tyco Honda||33|
|20||Graeme Gowland (E)||GBR||Honda||Team WFR||20|
|21||Joan Lascorz||SPA||Kawasaki||Kawasaki World Superbike Team||17|
|22||Ian Lowry||GBR||BMW||Buildbase BMW Motorrad||14|
|23||Steve Brogan||GBR||Honda||Jentin Racing Honda||8|
|24||Simon Andrews (E)||GBR||Kawasaki||Buy-Force.com PR Racing Kawasaki||8|
|25||Scott Smart (E)||GBR||Ducati||Moto Rapido Ducati||8|
|26||Jake Zemke (E)||USA||Honda||Team WFR||8|
|27||James Ellison||GBR||Honda||Team Sorrymate.com||8|
|28||Broc Parkes||AUS||Kawasaki||Kawasaki World Superbike Team||7|
|29||John Laverty||GBR||BMW||Buildbase BMW Motorrad||6|
|30||Barry Burrell (E)||GBR||BMW||Buildbase BMW Motorrad||6|
|31||Patric Muff (E)||SWI||Honda||Tyco Honda||6|
|32||Hudson Kennaugh (E)||RSA||Aprilia||Splitlath Motorsport||5|
|33||Dan Kneen (E)||GBR||Kawasaki||Marks Bloom Racing||3|
|34||Tom Tunstall (E)||GBR||BMW||Doodson Motorsport||1|