Shane Byrne secured his sixth British title in race three at Brands Hatch, as title rival Leon Haslam suffered a horrific high-speed crash at the notoriously fast Hawthorns bend, where he sustained a broken left ankle, a broken right wrist and a broken right thumb, yet still made it to the grid afterwards to congratulate Byrne on his latest achievement.
Byrne started race three from the middle of the front row, whereas the man to beat Haslam started from eleventh. By the first corner, Haslam was leading Byrne around, with Josh Brookes – who wasn’t completely out of the title fight, sat just in front. As Brookes picked his way up to second by lap five, the two main contenders were left out back with Byrne patiently following Haslam around and waiting for the right time to attack.
But Byrne didn’t get that chance, as Haslam crashed out on lap six. He was forced to bail off the bike at 172mph due to front brake failure on his ZX-10RR, and slammed straight into the air fence which subsequently brought out the safety car for two laps. Once the safety car came in, all Byrne had to do was finish in the points to clinch his sixth title. Brookes stormed into the lead out front, which started to put pressure onto Byrne who was slowly dropping backwards. But the seasoned British Superbike Champion held his nerve to bring home the title.
The race in hand was seemingly ignored as Brookes signed off the season on the top step, from Jason O’Halloran and James Ellison, who were engaged in a difficult battle to the end.
Haslam’s DNF saw him drop to third in the overall standings, as Brookes’ win pushed him into second overall, just three points behind Byrne on a bike that wasn’t thought to be competitive at the beginning of the season.
All good seasons must come to an end, and today the 2017 British Superbike Championship ended with Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne taking his well deserved sixth British title. It’s been a fantastic season with ten different winners, and one thing’s for sure; 2018 is set to be incredible.
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