14th August 2017
Round eight of the thrilling 2017 MCE British Superbike Championship takes place at Cadwell Park this weekend when the biggest crowd of the season is set to descend on the Lincolnshire venue whereby the Be Wiser Ducati Racing Team are hoping to return to winning ways.
Five-times and defending champion Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne continues to lead the title race following his mid-season run of form which has seen him take five victories aboard the factory-backed Be Wiser Ducati Panigale R although he failed to add to that tally at Thruxton last time out.
There, a tyre issue in race two saw the Londoner’s first retirement in over a year which followed a fourth-place finish in the opening race at the fast Hampshire venue meaning for the first time since round two at Brands Hatch, he failed to score a podium. For some teams, a fourth-place finish would herald an amazing result but such is the level of success Paul Bird’s Penrith-based team is accustomed to, nothing short of podiums are expected now.
Byrne won at Cadwell Park last year to record only his second victory at a track he enjoys so he’s aiming to increase his winning tally further this year whilst Be Wiser Ducati team-mate Glenn Irwin continues his recovery from injuries sustained at Knockhill a couple of months ago.
The Ulsterman from Carrickfergus, who occupies 11th place in the table, was told to expect a 12-week absence from action but has continued to defy the odds by racing just five weeks after the crash which dislocated and broke his arm and shoulder. With every passing week, Irwin is getting stronger and has added to his points tally at the last two rounds also, but knows the undulations of Cadwell will be tougher than normal.
As well as leading the championship points table, Byrne importantly heads the Podium Points table too which will prove crucial when the Showdown stage of the season starts next month at Oulton Park. Byrne should be one of the six ‘Title Fighters’ to qualify but for Irwin, he only stands an outside chance now given his recent setback.
Shane Byrne: “In some ways, it seems like Thruxton was months ago, I’m that keen to put what can only be described as a massive disappointment as far behind us as possible, but in other ways it feels like it was yesterday. I’m looking forward to getting to the next race now at Cadwell Park and hoping to resume some sort of normal service, and by that I mean winning. Thruxton actually taught us as a team a bit of a valuable lesson, one I’m very keen to put to good use this coming weekend. There are only two rounds left now to gain as many Podium Points as I can and I intend to grab as many as possible to put myself in the best possible position for the Showdown.”
Glenn Irwin: “I’m looking forward to Cadwell Park this weekend after what was an extremely tough Thruxton for the whole team. I’m getting better with every day that goes by and I feel much stronger now. I’ve done some miles on the push bike this week which just hasn’t been possible before so I’m back to the mindset I had prior to the injury. Of course it’s going to be tough and I know what to expect, but I’m a lot better placed than I was going into Thruxton and the plan as ever is to score as many points as I can.”
Pictures attached (courtesy of Jon Jessop Photography) Shane Byrne (67) and Glenn Irwin (2)
British Superbike Champions 2002/2003/2012/2014/2016, British Supersport Champions 2002, British Superbike Rider’s Cup Champions 2014, British 250cc Champions 1999, National Superstock 1000 Champions 2012, National Superstock 600 Champions 2011, Isle of Man TT winners 1999/2000/2015, Daytona winners 1999/2000, NW200 winners, Macau GP winners, WSB race winners, MotoGP CRT race winners. National Rally Champions 2005.