It was nothing but rain at Thruxon for the fourth round of the 2011 British Superbike Championship on Monday.
But the wet didn’t bother Swan Yamaha YZF-R1 rider Michael Laverty or HM Plant Honda CBR1000RR rider Shane Byrne.
In Race 1, Laverty took his first win of 2011 BSB, and in Race 2, it was all Byrne as he took his third dominant win of the 2011 BSB season after starting from the back of the grid.
Qualifying had hardly begun for Byrne before it was over as he tumbled at the start of his second lap, leaving him in 33rd place on the time-sheets which were led by Alex Lowes, making his debut with the MSS Colchester Kawasaki team, and contributing much to the opening race, briefly holding the lead on the sixth lap.
Byrne meanwhile was carving through the pack, picking up 16 places on an amazing opening lap and then lapping smoothly moving into contention to duel with Michael Rutter on the final lap as Laverty took a comfortable victory.
Laverty was both relieved and delighted: “That is a big weight off my shoulders – we have not got the results we should have done through bad luck and me making mistakes but now we are back where we should be, on top.”
Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati rider Rutter took his best result of the season in second, though only 0.052secs ahead of Byrne who admitted: “I had a few vision problems out there. I couldn’t read the numbers on my pit board and didn’t realise it was the last lap till I saw the flag on the finish line.”
Samsung Crescent Suzuki rider John Hopkins took fourth ahead of Peter Hickman riding Tyco Honda, Dan Linfoot on the Sorrymate.com Honda and the determined Lowes. Chris Walker, Josh Brookes and the reigning champion Ryuichi Kiyonari completed the top finishers.
Byrne had pole start for the second race having set the fastest lap in the opener. The former two times winner of the crown made the perfect get-away and was able to dictate terms from the front as he powered relentlessly to victory.
Hickman, enjoying the power of the bike that last year ran in HM Plant colours, had powered Kiyonari to the crown, was running strongly in second for much of the race, apart from one lap when Lowes nosed in front, only to tip off at the chicane. Rutter was then up to third, holding off the determined Linfoot and Hopkins before he high-sided out of the race on the penultimate lap at Church.
Byrne took the victory by almost 11 seconds and reflected: “After the problems of seeing where I was going in the opener I wanted to get out front from the start in the second race and then be able to do my own thing.
“With the clear track in front of me I was able to be that bit smoother and it worked out really well for me – the track was grippy in the wet and the bike ran perfectly.I took no chances, was able to ride my own race, running 11 seconds clear, so I really couldn’t have asked for anything more,” added Byrne as he extended his lead to 15 points over Hopkins who grabbed third place, though five seconds down on Hickman, on the final lap.
Tommy Hill, who had gambled wrongly on tyre selection in the opener, took fourth from Linfoot, Josh Brookes and Laverty. Walker, Kirkham and Martin Jessopp packed into the top ten finishers.
Barry Burrell riding the Buildbase BMW took a winning double in the Mirror.co.uk BSB-EVO class finishing ahead of WFR Honda rider Glen Richards in each of the races with Patric Muff on the Tyco Honda and Simon Andrew riding the Buy-Force.com PR Kawasaki taking the third placings.
2011 Thruxton British Superbike Results – Race one, 15 laps:
1.Michael Laverty (Swan Yamaha)
2.Michael Rutter (Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati) +1.281s
3.Shane Byrne (HM Plant Honda) +1.333s
4.John Hopkins (Samsung Crescent Racing) +1.923s
5.Peter Hickman (Tyco Honda) +2.473s
6.Dan Linfoot (Sorrymate.com Honda) +3.097s
2011 Thurxton British Superbike Results – Race two, 15 laps:
1.Shane Byrne (HM Plant Honda)
2.Peter Hickman (Tyco Honda) +10.618s
3.John Hopkins (Samsung Crescent Racing) +15.527s
4.Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) +16.980s
5.Dan Linfoot (Sorrymate.com Honda) +17.128s
6.Josh Brookes (Relentless Suzuki) +17.983s