MCE BSB championship rivals Shane Byrne and Ryuichi Kiyonari left Silverstone with a win each following two stunning races in Northamptonshire.
|Kiyonari kept his championship challenge alive
Photo: MCE BSB
Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki’s Byrne secured the victory in race one following a nail biting three way battle for the lead with Kiyonari and Milwaukee Yamaha’s Josh Brookes. Kiyonari got the wholeshot on the Buildbase BMW machine leading the pack for the opening two laps, as the front three began to break away.
Tyco Suzuki’s John Hopkins season took another turn for the worse as he crashed out in the opening laps, ending his race before it got started. By the third lap Brookes put in a move on Byrne however he was soon to be put in his place as Byrne shot in straight back past the Australian.
From the mid-way point of the race it was clear neither rider was going to give up and the lead changed no less than 13 times over the last seven laps with nothing to separate the three. Brookes put in some solid moves to get into second position but Byrne was quick to power back past the R1, keen to not let Kiyonari get away.
Starting from pole position for race two, Byrne able to get the wholeshot into Copse ahead of Brookes and Kiyonari with the still injured James Ellison in fourth. Hoping to pull away with both the race lead and in the championship, Byrne began to open up a gap ahead of his rivals.
However it didn’t take long for Kiyonari to fight back and he slotted back into the lead on the second lap with Brookes not far behind. Looking like we were going to have a repeat of race one Kiyonari, Brookes and Byrne began to break away but unlike the first race Brookes crashed out on the sixth lap.
Now a two horse race, Kiyonari continued to hold onto the lead with Byrne closely watching the Japanese rider for the closing laps. However Byrne was unable to sneak past Kiyonari on the closing laps and had to settle for second position ahead of James Ellison in third position on his Lloyds British GBmoto machine.
Kiyonari left Silverstone still 12 points behind Byrne in the championship standings with three races remaining: “What was different was that in race one we tried to pass each other in every lap in every corner, but in race two I just pushed every lap to keep putting in 2.06’s. Shakey tried to pass me again at the end of the race but I just concentrated on my riding and my lap time. I am very happy.”
Byrne was unable to catch Kiyo in lap two after his Kawasaki started sliding out on track: “To run a first and a second that close it shows were both on the limit. I had a plan, I always have a plan but the pace that we set in that second race was quite a lot faster, consistently faster than the first race so the margins of reserve weren’t quite so great.
None the less I had my move for the last lap but I had a little bit of a slide leading up to the move. I tried to get underneath him on the inside like Alex did to me last year but the bike was sliding and I was thinking ‘I’m gonna take us out’.”
Ellison was thrilled to secure a podium finish: “I was watching the big screen at the back and all I saw was Shakey and Kiyo and I was like ‘just show me where Tommy is’, because obviously I could hear him but a lot of the time it sounds like it’s closer than it is. He pushed me hard to the end and it’s been good to have a race again. It has been a long journey since the injury but we’re nearly back and it’s nice to be on the podium. I put it down to turtle power.”