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Byrne takes title once again after Brands thriller

Race One

Shane 'Shakey' Byrne closed Leon Haslam’s advantage in the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings ahead of tomorrow’s title-deciding final two races at Brands Hatch. The race got underway, but Byrne had a slow start off the line and Josh Brookes, Christian Iddon and Haslam stole the advantage. On the second lap Iddon fired the Tyco BMW into the lead at Paddock Hill Bend as Byrne closed in on Haslam. A lap later though and the race was red flagged when Dan Linfoot suffered a technical problem which subsequently caused several riders to crash out of contention with Jake Dixon, Sylvain Guintoli, Michael Rutter and Martin Jessopp all involved. On the restart Iddon led the pack after a lightening start ahead of Haslam, Byrne and Michael Laverty with Brookes, Jason O'Halloran and James Ellison in close contention.

Byrne though was on the attack and he made a move into second place and then had his sights set on the Tyco BMW ahead of him, passing Iddon to hit the front of the pack. The pair edged out an advantage, but behind Michael Laverty was forced to retire out of the battle. Brookes was getting into a rhythm and was making moves through the field, forcing his way through into third place and gapping the battle for fourth behind him. It was a fierce battle for supremacy but Haslam was not giving up without a fight and a typically determined performance saw him hold off Ellison and O’Halloran. Peter Hickman held seventh place, just ahead of team-mate Lee Jackson and Bradley Ray. Richard Cooper completed the top ten for Buildbase Suzuki.

Race Two

The 2017 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship will go down to the wire in the final race of the season on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit after Shane 'Shakey' Byrne claimed the second victory of the weekend and Leon Haslam suffered with an issue to drop to tenth place. Just two points now separate the pair ahead of the crucial decider this afternoon. At the start of the race Josh Brookes got off to a flying start to hit the front of the pack from Haslam and Byrne with Christian Iddon, Michael Laverty and James Ellison in close contention. The defending champion was instantly on the attack; passing Haslam into Druids on the second lap and then he had Brookes in his sights.

Byrne made a decisive move at Paddock Hill Bend to take the lead, but Haslam was struggling and he was passed by Iddon and Ellison on the third lap and the pair then joined the Be Wiser Ducati rider in a tear-way group at the front. Byrne was under pressure from Iddon and Ellison, but the defending champion had what it needed to take the second victory of the weekend with Tyco BMW and McAMS Yamaha celebrating podium finishes. Brookes was determined to bag the points and he held on to fourth place, bridging a gap to the next chasing pack as Jason O'Halloran, Peter Hickman, Glenn Irwin, Michael Laverty, Dan Linfoot and Haslam completing the top ten after a race-long dog fight.

Race Three

Josh Brookes was victorious in the final MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship race of the season, but there was high drama all the way to the finish as standings leader Leon Haslam crashed out of contention, as Shane 'Shakey' Byrne successfully defended the title for the first time. On the opening lap James Ellison led the pack from Christian Iddon and Michael Laverty with Brookes, Byrne and Haslam in close contention. Iddon took the lead for Tyco BMW on the second lap briefly at Paddock Hill Bend but then Ellison reclaimed the position at Druids. The pair swapped places at the front of the field with Michael Laverty moving into third place, but Brookes was on the attack and he soon moved to second by the sixth lap with some determined moves as he fought until the bitter end for a second title. There was disaster for Haslam though on lap six when he suffered brake failure on the JG Speedfit Kawasaki and was forced to jump off at 172mph at Hawthorns, he sustained a broken left ankle, right wrist and right thumb. He returned to the grid for the championship celebrations to congratulate Byrne on his title victory before heading to the medical centre.

Haslam’s crash caused a Safety Car intervention and the pack formed up with Iddon leading Brookes, Laverty, Ellison, Byrne, Jason O'Halloran and Dan Linfoot. When the race resumed the Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha hit the front of the field as Brookes stormed ahead into Paddock Hill Bend. Brookes held the advantage at the front but he had to defend hard as the positions constantly shuffled with Laverty holding second until Ellison made a move and then O’Halloran carved his way through for Honda Racing. O’Halloran made it an Australian one-two with Ellison holding off Laverty and Iddon for the final podium finish ahead of an incredibly close battle between Peter Hickman and Dan Linfoot who held off Byrne in eighth place. Bradley Ray and Richard Cooper completed the final top ten of the season.

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