Shane Byrne has completed a hat-trick of victories to start the 2014 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship after holding off a fast closing Josh Brookes in race one at Oulton Park. The Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki rider led every lap of the race but a blistering burst of speed, including a lap record from Brookes, kept him on his toes until the very end.
The start passed without any major position changes at the front but a moment for Ryuichi Kiyonari on the exit of Old Hall mid-pack caught out the riders behind with his teammate James Westmoreland being forced across the grass and Simon Andrews being brought down altogether. The RAF Reserves Honda cartwheeled across the grass and showered the circuit in dirt, necessitating the safety car while the mess was cleared.
When green flag racing resumed, Brookes’ hopes of challenging Byrne’s lead took a nosedive with James Ellison catching him napping at Old Hall. The GBmoto rider was unable to keep pace with the Kawasaki ahead but seemed to have Brookes under control until he outbraked himself at Hislop’s on lap eleven, falling to third.
Released from behind Ellison, Brookes came alive and wiped out the deficit to Byrne, breaking the eight year old lap record while he was at it. Unfortunately for the Australian, the chequered flag came a lap too early and Shane held on for his third victory out of three. Brookes and Ellison completed the podium with Tommy Bridewell taking fourth after a crash for Chris Walker and a late mechanical problem sidelined Ryuichi Kiyonari.
Stuart Easton’s solid start to the season continued with fifth ahead of Dan Linfoot and Richard Cooper while James Westmoreland produced a brilliant recovery ride to finish eighth, pipping John Kirkham and Jakub Smrz.