Byrne takes victory in dramatic second Oulton Park race


Shane Byrne wins at Oulton Park
Shane Byrne won his first race of the season at Oulton Park (Credit: Jon Jessop Photography)

Shane Byrne secured his first victory of the 2017 MCE British Superbike season in a dramatic second race of the day at Oulton Park.

Byrne was controlling things at the front of the race when a huge incident took place behind him between James Ellison and Leon Haslam. Haslam smashed into the back of Ellison coming down the hill from Druids, after Ellison’s bike appeared to suffer from some form of engine issue.

Haslam was visibly shaken, and winded, by the accident and Ellison, who’s bike had its exhaust ripped off, came running over to check on his former teammate. Fortunately both riders were able to walk away from the scene of the crash.

All of this allowed Byrne’s Be Wiser Ducati teammate Glenn Irwin to take advantage and move his way up into second place. The Ducati duo were joined by Jason O’Halloran on the podium.

Christian Iddon narrowly missed out on a podium in fourth place, just ahead of Luke Mossey and Josh Brookes on the Anvil Hire Yamaha machine.

Peter Hickman put in another strong performance to take seventh place, with Tommy Bridewell, John Hopkins and Billy McConnell rounding-out the top 10.

At the start of the race it was Haslam and O’Halloran who got away well from the front-row of the grid. Behind them, Ellison made his way up from fifth on the grid into third spot.

The start of the second lap was a disaster for Haslam, with O’Halloran taking the lead away going into turn one. It would get worse for the “Pocket Rocket,” with Ellison following the Honda rider through into second – before Byrne also put a move on the series leader.

Ellison would then take the lead of the race going into Hislop’s. Meanwhile Bradley Ray’s weekend went from bad to worse as he was forced to retire due to a mechanical issue.

Mossey tried to make his own move on Haslam at the start of lap three, but the series leader was having none of it and went back down the inside at Denton’s.

Moments later Jake Dixon crashed out of the race on his RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki machine. Meanwhile at the front, Byrne made his way up into second.

Byrne would soon begin to pile the pressure on Ellison for the lead and ended up making his move on lap six, on the way down to Shell. The front eight or nine riders could all be seen in the same camera shot, once again showing how close the BSB series is this season.

Michael Laverty’s weekend came to a premature end as he was forced into the pits once again with a mechanical problem. The McAMS Yamaha rider’s weekend never really got going after his qualifying accident.

Haslam began to fight-back on lap eight as he took third spot away from O’Halloran. Mossey would put a move on “The O’Show” at Lodge but the Australian fought straight back into Old Hall Corner.

Mossey would repeat his initial move a lap later and, despite O’Halloran’s best efforts, he was able to make the move stick. Ahead of them, Haslam was beginning to make in-roads on Ellison and Byrne.

Meanwhile there was a great battle going on for seventh place, starting with Brookes and Irwin both going down the inside of Hickman. Irwin would then go down the inside of Brookes at Lodge, before going wide and allowing both riders back past him.

Back at the front and Haslam was now all over the back of Ellison. The Kawasaki man would try a move into Shell but went in way too hot causing him to go wide – seemingly costing him any chance of catching Byrne.

Lap 14 is where drama would hit the race. Ellison and Haslam were coming down the hill from Druids when the McAMS Yamaha rider appeared to lose power and he began to pull slightly to the right. Unfortunately Haslam had already committed to a move on the outside and collided with the back of Ellison’s bike.

The collision sent Haslam off the track, with his bike being smashed to pieces as it bounced into and over the barriers. Ellison’s bike had its exhaust ripped off in the incident. We later found out that Ellison’s engine had cut-out coming out of Druids.

In all of the chaos, what had been a battle for fourth was now a battle for the podium places. Mossey was the major loser in the shake-up and had fallen back down to fifth.

Iddon on the other hand had made his way up into second – although he had O’Halloran and Irwin breathing down his neck. Irwin sensed an opportunity to secure a Be Wiser Ducati one-two and made his was past O’Halloran on lap 17.

One lap later and the 27-year-old was up into second after going down the inside of Iddon at Hislop’s Chicane. O’Halloran would also get the better of Iddon at the start of the final lap.

At the front Byrne kept his cool and took his first win of the season. The result means that Shakey is now only three points off the Showdown positions in the championship.

Meanwhile Haslam’s championship lead has been cut down to three points as the series heads into a six-week break.