If Shane Byrne thought his start to the 2017 season had got off on the wrong foot at Donington Park after missing both races with concussion following a crash in warm-up, things would only get worse at Brands Hatch this weekend as he dramatically crashed out of the second race.
A characteristically poor start left Byrne with work to do in race one and despite fighting through the pack to join the leading group, he was unable to get past Christian Iddon or Leon Haslam to clinch his first rostrum of the year.
On the front group relatively early on in race two, things were looking up for Byrne until he dramatically crashed out after making a move on Haslam through the final sector, and it was all the more disappointing for the five-time British Champion as he felt almost certain he had things in control to take his first win of the year.
However, while 2017 couldn’t have started much worse for the reigning champ, he refuses to be down in the dumps and with BSB’s Showdown system, he’s adamant he can still defend his title.
“The way I think about it is Leon scored four podium credits this weekend, so his advantage over me is now 14 points,” Byrne told MCN. “You’d like to think there’s no way we’re not going to make the Showdown, so he’s just 14 points ahead. It doesn’t matter if I finish the showdown sixth, as long as the gap between me and him in podium credits isn’t too big I’ll fight him to the end and still be in with a chance.”
Back on track for the official test at Oulton Park yesterday, Byrne was second quickest to rival Leon Haslam despite not being 100% on point with set-up.
“It was good to get back out on track so soon after Brands,” said Byrne. “We missed the Oulton test last year and we really struggled from that so that shouldn’t be the case this time around. I’m keen to forget about the first two rounds and get back to the front ASAP!”
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