The HM Plant Honda team missed out on the British Superbike Championship title this year, but at Brands Hatch yesterday (Sunday) Shane 'Shakey' Byrne put in a sensational performance to celebrate a double race victory to end the season on a high for the team.
In the second race of the weekend on Sunday morning, Shakey got off to a flying start from the front row as he moved into second at the first corner but quickly took the lead and continued to head the field until the chequered flag. Kiyonari meanwhile finished in sixteenth place in the second race of the weekend.
In the final race of the season on Sunday afternoon, Shakey again demonstrated the impressive pace of the HM Plant Honda Fireblade to secure the final win of the year by 4.434 seconds, which secured him third place in the overall standings. Kiyo just missed out on a top ten finish in eleventh place and finished sixth in the championship overall.
The National Superstock 1000 Championship race was unfortunately cancelled following a crash that caused the race to be red flagged and Jason O’Halloran was therefore unable to complete the final race of the year.
Shakey said: "That win in the first race of the day race felt like I had just won the championship! We gave it everything at the weekend and I wanted nothing less than two race wins on Sunday. We had a good start but in the first laps I didn't do a very good job of avoiding the damp patches and I had a few moments - in fact more than I think I have had in my whole career! I didn't know who was behind me but I knew I wasn't prepared to let them through as I wanted that win badly.
The second win was great for me and the team but at the same time I felt a bit empty as all that hard work and great wins but for no championship title.
“After the first race of the day I didn’t initially realise I couldn’t still win the championship, but then the boys said to me just get out there and enjoy it and that’s what I did. Every lap I kept thinking why did Donington and Silverstone go so wrong? I was desperate to achieve the last two wins of the season and on Sunday we won the battle but we didn’t quite manage the war. The double win was a great result for the HM Plant Honda team for all their hard work all season. Missing out this year means I have something to come back for next year and I will certainly be throwing some grenades then!”
Kiyo said: “It has been another difficult weekend for me and I am disappointed that I couldn’t have a better result to end the season. We have worked hard and I need to thank the HM Plant Honda team for their support to try and help me improve over this year.”
Jason said: “I was really looking forward to the final race of the season as we really wanted to end on a high for the HM Plant Honda team, but unfortunately it wasn’t possible. We had been improving all weekend and I was feeling confident for the race, but I just want to thank the HM Plant Honda team for their support this season, particularly when I was injured.”
Team manager Havier Beltran concluded: “Shakey did a fantastic job by taking the double win at Brands Hatch and he couldn’t have done any more. At the beginning of Sunday the championship was realistically unfortunately out of reach so all he could do was end the season with two victories and that is exactly what he did and it was a classy performance from him and we couldn’t have asked for more.
“It has been a difficult season for Kiyo; with him the HM Plant Honda team has won three BSB titles and scored 43 race wins which makes him the most successful rider in BSB history. We want to thank Kiyo for the successes we have celebrated together over the years. He will always be part of the Honda family and we wish him all the best for the future, in whatever he decides to do, as he will not be returning to the HM Plant Honda team in 2012.
“For Jason it was disappointing that the race was cancelled and he was unable to end the season with a result and full race but we obviously want to send our best wishes to the riders involved in the accident that caused the stoppage. We are now already looking ahead to winter preparation for next season where we will be looking to come back even stronger.”