Shane Byrne might be heading in to the 2018 Bennetts British Superbike Championship as the series’ most successful rider, but the six-time British Champion isn’t without motivation for the season ahead.
Having won six titles, 84 races and stood on the podium 186 times in his 20 year career, the 41-year-old has little to prove as he heads in to yet another season with the Paul Bird Motorsport Be Wiser Ducati team. Despite that, Byrne has a number of clear goals he’s set out to achieve in the coming year and beyond.
“Honestly, we’re at a stage now where while championships are great, they are no longer the driving factor for me,” he explained. “The number of titles I have is a great statistic and I’m sure it will stand for a long time, but it’s getting that buzz from winning races that drives me to keep going.
“I feel like in the last couple of seasons, and certainly since last season finished, that I’ve had a bit of an enlightening. I know where I want to go with the whole thing now and achieving 100 wins has always been a massive thing for me. I remember wanting to get to a nice round number like 50 and it doesn’t seem like five minutes ago that I did that. Then I dreamed of 67, and that came, so now the target is 100.
“I’ve won 84 races now and an average year for me is between seven and 12 wins, so hopefully I can reach that target in a couple of seasons.”
While he admits winning races is what’s driving him along, the thought of matching Niall Mackenzie’s record of three consecutive titles is also on his mind.
“Since I signed for Paul in 2012, we haven’t finished lower than second in a single season so the target is quite obvious. Niall is the only rider in history to have done three back to back, how nice would it be to replicate that?”
For an extensive 2018 Bennetts British Superbike Championship season preview, including exclusive interviews, tech features and the Bennetts BSB grid predicting their 2018 #ShowdownSix, pick up this week's MCN.