RD5 - Brand Hatch GP - MCE Insurance British Superbikes
Last weekend saw riders and teams of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship head to Brands Hatch for the BIG brands bash offering racing on the full GP circuit as well as a host of other exciting activities for fans to enjoy.
Brands Hatch opened it's doors a day early on the Monster Energy Fans Thursday gifting free entry to anyone wanting to come down and enjoy the fun. With rider interviews on the Monster Energy stage fans got an insight into how the riders were feeling before the main weekend kicked off.
Once the free practice sessions kicked off it was clear Shane 'Shakey' Byrne was struggling to find a decent set up at his home round. Unusually he didn't top the time sheets in any of the sessions and put it down to hot weather conditions and set up troubles. James Ellison was fastest in FP1, Josh Brookes in FP2 and Ducati rider Jakub Smrz took the 3rd top spot in FP3. Shakey turned it around in qualifying though after scraping through both Q1 and Q2, the 3 times champ managed to pull out a fast lap in the final session securing pole ahead of Lloyds British GBmoto Kawasaki riders Chris Walker and James Ellison.
In race 1 the War for Four continued to rage as Shakey and the newly reignited Ryuichi Kiyonari both battled for the win. Shakey started from pole and was tangled with the GBmotos of Walker and Ellison initially as the riders jostled for position. Kiyonari was was sitting in 4th waited for his moment to ponce. Brookes wasn't having the best weekend after two crashes in qualifying leaving him down the grid. He battled through but just couldn't keep the pace of the front runners on the Milwaukee Yamaha. Meanwhile at the front, Kiyo had carved his way past Walker and Ellison and was now homing in on Shakey. Over the next 7 laps the two three time champions battled with Shakey having the advantage in the outfield and Kiyo on the Indy section of the circuit. Shakey managed to pass the Japanese rider every time they went out onto the GP circuit but Kiyo would just charge past him on the start finish straight and beat him on the brakes into paddock hill bend. On the penultimate lap Kiyo made this pass for the final time and managed to block out Shakey all the way to the line. The Buildbase BMW rider took the full 25 points for the win and also the much sort after podium credits. Ellison finished off the podium with yet another 3rd place.
Race 2 got underway with ominous clouds overhead with Shakey once again starting from pole. Ellison put in an initial fight but on lap two he ran wide at dingle dell and onto the grass. The crash sent his bike into the path of Shakey Byrne and other riders narrowly missing many of them. Ellison was taken to medical centre and the race was restarted. Another two laps passed and this time it was Howie Mainwaring who crashed out, the safety car came out for a number of laps but then conditions changed as the rain began to fall and the race was once again red flagged. The race was restarted a final time as a full wet race over 15 laps. This gave every rider on the grid a chance at the win as many teams didn't have a wet set up. The front runners in the championship struggled in the conditions but two time Australian Domestic champ Josh Waters on the Tyco Suzuki relished the chance to move forward. He was exceptional in the wet and carved his machine to the front of the pack and then off into the distance. Kiyonari after his success in race 1 had to retire with bike trouble as Richard Cooper and Keith Farmer also thrived in the bad conditions. They completed the podium behind Waters who finished a full six seconds ahead of anyone else. It was damage control for Shakey and he finished in 5th crowning him the Monster Energy King of Brands being the most successful rider over the two races.
In amongst all the racing Club MCE members took part in fantastic VIP experiences including pillion laps, safety car laps in the Nissan GTR, hang out with Chris Walker, Official Pit Crew with Milwaukee Yamaha, Grid walks and more! To be part of Club MCE all you need is an MCE policy and to sign up here on the Club MCE app.
Thruxton is now just round the corner, will Kiyo's resurgence continue? Can Shakey get back on form? Or will the new podium climbers be back for more? Keep up to date with Big Ed's Facebook for all the live updates, news and gossip around the paddock.
For more information on the series visit MCE Insurance British superbikes.
25.07.2014 - Big Ed