After torrential rain had caused havoc over the previous two days, Byrne took advantage of the drier conditions to win his first race of the season and in doing so took the first victory in three long years for the Paul Bird Motorsport team.
When early pace setter Ryuichi Kiyonari had crashed out, Byrne controlled the opening race to take a 2.5 second victory which he followed up in the second race with another deserved podium with third to keep his outside hopes of the Championship alive.
Team mate Tom Sykes was left rueing a couple of bad starts which cost him the chance of a podium but still the 21 year old Yorkshireman continued his good form with another pair of top six places with a sixth in race one followed by a fourth in race two.
The nett result sees Shakey lying in fifth position in the Championship with Sykes in seventh going into the next round at Croft in three weeks time.
Sadly for the team, team owner Paul Bird was not at Mallory to witness his team’s first victory in a long time as he was returning from the Manx International Rally which he had been contesting over the weekend and in which he finished fourth in his Stobart VK Subaru.
Shane Byrne: “When I got into the lead they were the longest nine laps of my life. This win is for two groups of people – Team NB, my heart goes out to them for the sad loss of Ollie Bridewell, and the win is also for Birdy and the team – it’s been a long time coming for him. In the second race I got a decent start but I seemed to struggle a bit, I’m not sure if the pace was a bit quicker. Maybe it was a lucky podium in race two, but I’ll take it. I’d like to thank all the team who have worked so hard and turned it all around for me, and also Dunlop who have been really supportive this weekend.”
Tom Sykes: “In both races I seemed to get off the line well but then immediately got duffed up and lost places. In race one I had an 18 second gap from the man behind so I just kept pushing as hard as I could but didn’t want to make any silly mistakes. In the second race I managed to latch on to the leading bunch and once I got past Greg Lavilla and Chris Walker I decided to make a charge and was catching Shakey. But then the red flag came out and that was it, otherwise I think I could have got a podium. We’ve got a few weeks off now so I’ll do some training and get my head together and come back stronger at Croft as there’s still a lot more to come.”
Phil Borley (Crew Chief): “We’ve had a very good day but it’s obviously been a sad weekend. A win for the first time in three years feels really nice. Shakey was top points scorer once again and hopefully we can get some more wins this season. Tom was unfortunate to get duffed up in the first race but in the second I think he would have been up there on the podium had it not been red flagged. Tom has ridden well considering he’s had hardly any dry track time on the bike and we’re all feeling confident for the remainder of the year.”
Race 1 Result
1, Shane Byrne (Stobart Vent Axia Motorsport Honda) 28m21.458s, 2, Jonathan Rea (Honda) +2.779s, 3, Leon Haslam (Ducati) +2.938s, 4, Chris Walker (Suzuki) +6.058s, 5, Gregorio Lavilla (Ducati) +7.422s, 6, Tom Sykes (Stobart Vent Axia Motorsport Honda) +9.137s, 7, Tommy Hill (Yamaha) +27.263s, 8, Leon Camier (Honda) +29.758s, 9, Cal Crutchlow (Suzuki) +29.858s, 10, Scott Smart (Kawasaki) +30.184s.
Race 2 Result
1, Ryuichi Kiyonari (Honda) 21m24.315s, 2, Leon Haslam (Ducati) +1.780s, 3, Shane Byrne (Stobart Vent Axia Motorsport Honda) +4.497s, 4, Tom Sykes (Stobart Vent Axia Motorsport Honda) +5.457s, 5, Cal Crutchlow (Suzuki) +5.924s, 6, Chris Walker (Suzuki) +6.282s, 7, Gregorio Lavilla (Ducati) +6.979s, 8, Michael Rutter (Kawasaki) +14.666s, 9, Tommy Hill (Yamaha) +15.481s, 10, Scott Smart (Kawasaki) +15.752s.
Bennetts British Superbike Championship Positions after Round 9
1, Ryuichi Kiyonari (Honda) 298pts
2, Jonathan Rea (Honda) 282pts
3, Leon Haslam (Ducati) 267pts
4, Gregorio Lavilla (Ducati) 246pts
5, Shane Byrne (Stobart Vent Axia Motorsport Honda) 228pts
6, Leon Camier (Honda) 179pts
7, Tom Sykes (Stobart Vent Axia Motorsport Honda) 171pts
8, Chris Walker (Suzuki) 151pts
9, Tommy Hill (Yamaha) 110pts
10, Karl Harris (Honda) 102pts
Round 1 – 7th to 9th April – Brands Hatch GP, Kent
Round 2 – 14th/15th April – Thruxton, Hants
Round 3 – 27th/29th April – Silverstone, Northants
Round 4 – 5th/7th May – Oulton Park, Cheshire
Round 5 – 18th/20th May – Snetterton, Norfolk
Round 6 – 15th/17th June – Mondello Park, Co Kildare
Round 7 – 30th June/1st July – Knockhill, Fife
Round 8 – 13th/15th July – Oulton Park, Cheshire
Round 9 – 20th/22nd July – Mallory Park, Leics
Round 10 – 10th/12th August – Croft, North Yorkshire
Round 11 – 25th/27th August – Cadwell Park, Lincolnshire
Round 12 – 21st/23rd September – Donington Park, Leics
Round 13 – 12th/14th October – Brands Hatch Indy, Kent