Shane Byrne’s quest to regain the British Superbike title got off to the ideal start with victory in race one at Brands Hatch. After a red flag due to James Hillier’s engine blow-up, the race was shortened to a twelve lap dash and Byrne, who originally started from thirteenth on the grid, came through to beat GBmoto riders Chris Walker and James Ellison.
The international trio on the front row were expected to fight it out at the front but Ryuichi Kiyonari removed himself immediately by stalling on the start line, thankfully being avoided by the pack behind him. Josh Brookes battled his way into the lead ahead of Chris Walker but extraordinarily, the Australian lost control at Druids on lap two, removing the pre-race favourite.
Walker took over at the front but Byrne, having risen to sixth on the first lap alone, was emerging as his nearest challenger and was up to second by the time the red flags came out, giving him a front row start for the shortened re-run. ‘Shakey’ went straight on the attack at the restart, passing Walker into Paddock Hill bend, but the 42 year old was proving a tough nut to crack and barged straight back up the inside at Druids.
A second move from Byrne at Paddock Hill proved decisive on lap four but Walker held off the challenge of new teammate James Ellison to take a fine second. Ben Wilson made a sensational return to BSB with fourth ahead of fellow returnee John Hopkins while Stuart Easton pipped Tommy Bridewell to sixth. Richard Cooper followed up his strong qualifying display with eighth place ahead of Jakub Smrz on the Millsport Ducati while James Westmoreland salvaged a top ten result for Buildbase BMW.