|Shane Byrne leads the way in Race 1
Photo: MCE British Superbikes
Reigning champion Shane Byrne took the top step of the podium at the British Superbikes season opener under the sun at Brands Hatch.
Race 1 began with drama when Milwaukee Yamaha rider James Ellison’s visor detached from his helmet, which meant he had to start his warm up lap from pit lane.
Shane Byrne got his usual fantastic start and led the race into the first corner, closely followed by Alex Lowes, Josh Brookes, Keith Farmer and James Ellison. Race direction then penilised Ellison on lap 2 with a ride-through penalty due to him not starting from the back of the grid.
Josh Brookes set the fastest lap on lap three, putting pressure on Alex Lowes, and he took the lead from Shane Byrne on lap five. Karl Harris crashed out on lap 14, unhurt but leaving the bike smoking.
Determined to win, Shakey sat behind Brookes for a few laps, waiting for the perfect time to pounce. Lap 15 brought Byrne the opportunity to take the lead back off Josh Brookes.
Brookes then slipped back to third position behind Alex Lowes at paddock hill bend, and on lap 19 of 30 Byrne and Lowes broke away from the rest of the pack.
The already injured Michael Rutter retired on lap 24 of 30, but hopes to go out for race 2.
Shakey then pulled the pin on lap 27, but the race was red flagged with one lap to go following a collision between Dan Linfoot and James Westmoreland who were battling for 4th position in a group five riders.
Results were declared as of the end of lap 29 of 30 and you can find the full results here.