Date: Saturday 30th August 2003

MONSTERMOB Ducati rider Shane Byrne clinched his first British Superbike Championship title with a superb victory in the opening race at Cadwell Park, Lincolnshire last weekend.

In front of a massive crowd the 26-year-old, who rides for Eden businessman Paul Bird’s team, fended off a concerted challenge from Suzuki’s John Reynolds to become the first British rider in recent history to clinch the title with two rounds to spare.

Byrne led from start to finish and despite a safety car intervention which allowed Reynolds to close in, Byrne held on to win the race. In doing so took the second consecutive championship victory for the Paul Bird Motorsport MonsterMob Ducati Team after the success of the late Steve Hislop last year.

Bird was full of praise for his rider. “I’m chuffed for him and the team and our sponsors,” he said.

Byrne, nicknamed Shakey, was also understandably delighted. “Its fantastic,” he said. “If I had won it with two fifth places I think I would have gone home sulking!

“It’s not been for a lack of trying to win races, I’ve just been struggling lately. I just tried as hard as I possibly could and just managed to hold them off.”

The newly crowned champion then celebrated his title with another rostrum performance in race two. Byrne followed home Reynolds and the Honda of winner Steve Plater to celebrate his 17th rostrum placing of the season. Ironically it was his first third place of the year.

Meanwhile defending Supersport champion Stuart Easton relinquished his British title when main rival Karl Harris won the race and the young Scot could do no better than fourth place.

Nevertheless it was a gallant effort by the Hawick rider especially due to the fact that he has been campaigning an elderly machine against much more modern bikes this year.

“I struggled with the package to be honest. I couldn’t get the bike to do what I wanted it to do and I’m very disappointed,” said Easton. “I gave 100 per cent. but it wasn’t good enough on the day.”

The series moves on to Brands Hatch in two weeks’ time for the penultimate round.

British Superbike Championship standings after round 10: 1 S. Byrne, 406 points; 2 J. Reynolds, 277; 3 M. Rutter, 243; 4 S. Plater, 227; 5 Y. Kagayama, 214.

Supersport Championship standings after round 10: 1 K. Harris, 215 points; 2 S. Easton, 158; 3 S. Andrews, 115; M. Laverty, 102.