Brands Hatch BSB: Byrne wins red flagged race one
13 October 2012 16:31
Shane Byrne extended his lead in the British Superbike Championship to 18 points after winning the opening race of the weekend at Brands Hatch.
The Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki rider grabbed the holeshot and, despite coming extreme pressure from Alex Lowes, he was never headed and with spots of rain falling, Lowes crashed out at the end of the 15th lap which saw the red flag come out and Byrne awarded a valuable win.
Byrne hit the front from the off with pole setter Lowes and Michael Laverty slotting in behind him whilst Josh Brookes, second in the table to Byrne, lay in fourth. By lap four, Byrne's lead was up to a second but two laps later, the gap had been halved by Lowes with Laverty a further half second back.
Brookes meanwhile was suffering with brake problems and dropped back to sixth behind Stuart Easton and reigning champion Tommy Hill.
Lap 11 saw Laverty make a mistake at Surtees and run off the circuit, rejoining in 12th, and the pack spread out as Byrne increased his lead to 1.2s.
Two laps later, both Hill and Brookes overhauled Easton who was now coming under pressure from James Westmoreland and Barry Burrell but Lowes hadn't given up hope of catching Byrne and with three laps to go, he'd reduced the gap to 0.7s.
However, weather conditions were worsening all the time and as the clouds got darker, spots of rain began to fall and when Lowes went down at Clearways, Byrne was simultaneously raising his hand to signal to the organisers the race needed to be stopped.
The red flag was immediately out and the result declared with Byrne, Hill and Brookes the top three, which was enough to see the race winner double his Championship lead from 9pts to 18 with two races on Sunday remaining.
Westmoreland finished fourth to strengthen his hold on the BSB Cup with Easton, Burrell, Tommy Bridewell, Noriyuki Haga, Jon Kirkham and Laverty rounding out the top ten.
British Superbike Championship race 1 (15 laps)
1 Shane Byrne (Kawasaki)
2 Tommy Hill (Yamaha)
3 Josh Brookes (Suzuki)
4 James Westmoreland (Honda)
5 Stuart Easton (Kawasaki)
6 Barry Burrell (BMW)
7 Tommy Bridewell (BMW)
8 Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha)
9 Jon Kirkham (Honda)
10 Michael Laverty (Honda)