Shakey scores an unprecedented 6th British Superbike Championship win in his first ever successful back-to-back title defence

Be Wiser Ducati's Shane' Shakey' Byrne got his title defence off to the best possible start at Brands Hatch after topping all 3 practice and qualifying sessions before going on to claim pole in Q3 with a storming 1:24.163s lap around his local race circuit.

John 'Hopper' Hopkins had been running well on his Moto Rapido Panigale R and was looking good for a front row start until he crashed out of Q3 at Graham Hill Bend. Hopper has been transferred to Kings Hospital for further assessment, after suffering a fractured L2 vertebra and suspected fractures to both knees.

Race 1
Shakey initially got a poor start from pole and found himself down in 6th. But before he could progress through the top runners, 5 riders crashed out at Clearways after Dan Linfoot's Honda dropped fluid onto the track and the race was red-flagged.

Starting from 4th on the 16-lap restart, Shakey got a much better launch of the line and was soon up into 3rd having passed Brookes (Anvil TAG Hire Racing). On Lap 2 he passed his main title rival Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) into Paddock Hill Bend, before getting the better of Christian Iddon (TCYO BMW Motorrad) for the lead at Pilgrim's Drop.

From then on Shakey got into a good rhythm, posting consecutive fastest laps as he and Iddon started to pull a gap to over Brookes in 3rd. As the race progressed Shakey was then able to build up a 1.799s lead over Iddon, going on to claim his first victory on board his Ducati Panigale R since the double header held at Brands Hatch back in July.

With Haslam finishing in 4th position, Shakey managed to reduce the championship leader's gap at the front from 33 points to 21 - with 2 races left to on the Sunday.

Unfortunately for Shakey's teammate Glenn Irwin it was a race to forget after he retired from 10th position on Lap 10.

Race 2
Shakey went into Race 2 at Brands Hatch knowing he would need to win to keep his title defence alive. The Be Wiser Ducati rider got great start to maintain is 3rd place position grid. At the end of lap 2 he passed the first of his title rivals Haslam at Druids before going on to despatch Brookes to take the race lead.

Despite pressure from Iddon and suffering problems with his auto-blipper in the dying laps of the race, Shakey maintained his 1st place position to take his 2nd decisive victory of the weekend.
Haslam went backwards as the race progressed, eventually finishing in 10th position resulting in just a 2-point gap between the riders.
Irwin had a much better race starting from 11th and managed to cross the chequered flag in 7th.

Race 3
Coming in to final race of the 2017 season, Shakey needed to ensure he finished ahead of his title rival Haslam on track to ensure a 6th British Superbike title.

Shakey started from the middle of the front row in 2nd, while Haslam started from the middle of the 4th row in 11th. But as the lights went out Haslam got a fantastic start to launch himself just ahead of Shakey, who had dropped back to 6th.

But drama struck on Lap 6, when Haslam crashed out at Hawthorn Bend, ending the Kawasaki rider's shot at the title. With Haslam out of the race, Shakey had to bring his Panigale R home in the points to ensure his first ever successful title defence.

Brookes won the race, but Shakey finished in 8th to collect 8 points and win the British Superbike Championship for the 6th time with 637 points. Brookes finished 2nd with 634 points, while Haslam‘s DNF saw him demoted to from 1st to 3rd in the championship.

Irwin had started from 12th and was running well, until a false neutral forced him off-track at Sheen Curve. He re-joined the race back in 18th, fighting back to a 13th place finish, just 0.07s behind Showdown rider Jake Dixon (RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki).

Shakey has now won 4 British Superbike titles using Ducati machinery.
2017 British Superbike Champion: Shane ‘Shakey' Byrne - Ducati Panigale R
2016 British Superbike Champion: Shane ‘Shakey' Byrne - Ducati Panigale R
2008 British Superbike Champion: Shane ‘Shakey' Byrne - Ducati 1098
2002 British Superbike Champion: Shane ‘Shakey' Byrne - Ducati 998

Shane ‘Shakey' Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati #67)
Race 1, 1st - Race 2, 1st - Race 3, 8th
Championship position: 1st
"After the first race yesterday when we won, we got 14 points closer and then the 2nd Race today we got 2 points away from Leon. If I'm honest, when Leon came past at the start [Race 3] I thought, you know what, that's the Leon we all know and love. He's out here, he's going to fight for it. I was more than happy sat there following for a bit and I thought towards the end of the race I'd make some moves and you know go forward again. But when he went down I was just, I can't believe this. It kind of deflates things a tiny bit but at the end of the day we came here to win a championship and we got it done. So, commiserations to Leon for coming out. We've had a quick chat and a quick hug and my heart goes out to him. 33 points into the last round and he's had it snatched away again. But, for all my fans, my team, my sponsors I'm so, so happy.

Every time I've been a champion, I've gone away to another championship or been beaten to the championship and finished 2nd. So, when you look at my record over the 5 or 6 years it's been, 2-1, 2-1, or whatever it's been and it looked like being 2 this year with a 33 deficit but we turned it around and won back to back titles. That's a big tick of my bucket list and my career. There's a few other little numbers out I want to hit and then start to think about what we're going to do next."

Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati #2)
Race 1, 10th - Race 2, 7th - Race 3, 13th
Championship position: 12th
"We started off Friday competitive and I knew I sort of brought myself out of that horrible dip of form I was in, if that's a way to put it. Not back to where we were or where I'm going to go to but back to a competitive level and not feeling negative about everything. Saturday was difficult, we had an electrical problem all day that plagued us in qualifying and Race 1.

Race 2 today was really good. 7th has been my best finish in a long time. Unfortunately, in Race 3 we had a false neutral going into Sheene that put me basically at the back of the grid. The safety car certainly helped, but also, I didn't know it was coming in and I'd left the gap to Kyle [Ryde] - probably about a second gap. So, I had to work hard to gain that ground back, managed to pass Kyle, Mossey, Jackson and you know Dixon is a championship challenger and we crossed the line right behind him. Our pace was good enough to do what we did in Race 1, but we just had a little false neutral in there and unfortunately in an unforgiving part of the track. It's the way it goes."

Iain Hopcroft (Moto Rapido Ducati Team Manager)
John ‘Hopper' Hopkins Championship position: 15th
"We started the season strong in pre-season testing and consistently at the sharp end and hoping for good things. We went into the first round and felt confident but I think John felt the pressure of expectation and crashed three times and that was the next four rounds for us really. It was a shame because it lost us the Showdown chase. But you come back stronger from that and we got a few podiums, we had some tough weekends and I think John felt some pressure in the middle of it trying to chase the Showdown.

It was just out of our grasp this year and we wanted to finish the year strong at Brands where he is always quick and we are always quick here. Throughout the practices we are always fast and we were top 5 in every session and going into qualifying John felt super comfortable and was breaking into those 1.24 minute laps was going to be easy for him and he didn't quite do it in Q3. In Q2 Wilf [Moore - Team Owner] said to him you are going to need a 1.25.4 and John laughed and said no sweat man as he always does. He put in a 1.25 dead to get into Q3 and he said there is a good half a second still to come. So, our confidence was high all weekend and we wanted to get at least one podium in the three races and unfortunately John has ended up in hospital. He has gone in for some surgery today and everybody wishes him a speedy recovery and we look forward to getting him on the bike next year."

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