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History Making 1-2 For Byrne And Irwin At Oulton Park 

The Be Wiser Ducati team, sponsored by Flexicon, got their 2017 MCE British Superbike Championship challenge firmly up and running at Oulton Park over the weekend with a triple podium celebration including an historic one-two finish in a dramatic second race for the Penrith-based team.

After a disappointing opening couple of rounds which had seen defending champion Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne not score a podium finish, he bounced back in fine style with not only a pole position on the factory-backed Be Wiser Ducati Panigale R, but a superb second place finish in the opening race to kick start his season.

The five times champion from Sittingbourne shadowed series leader Leon Haslam throughout the 18-lap race, with barely half a second between them, but after a couple of lurid slides and missed gear changes towards the end of the race, Byrne settled for a safe runner-up place and with it his first podium of 2017.

Team-mate Irwin, meanwhile, was running strongly for much of the opening race although he dropped back towards the end. Occupying fifth position for the first half of the race, the Carrickfergus rider looked like he’d challenge for the podium but he struggled in the closing stages and ended up back in ninth.
With a podium in the bag, Byrne was brimful of confidence for the day’s second race and from the front row, after a few laps weighing up the opposition, he shot into the lead and was never headed. Shakey gradually pulled out an advantage over James Ellison and Leon Haslam behind him when the pair had a coming together which caused Haslam to crash and Ellison to retire.
That allowed Byrne to cruise to his first victory of the season and with it, his 78th career win whilst his rivals' demise allowed Irwin to seize his opportunity. The Ulsterman sensed a podium and put in a fantastic effort in the last couple of laps, he managed to bring the second Be Wiser Ducati Panigale home in a sensational second place to record a first ever 1-2 for Paul Bird’s team and their long association with Ducati.

The feat matched Byrne and team-mate Stuart Easton’s exploits on PBM Kawasaki machinery a couple of years ago at Knockhill but significantly, this weekend confirmed that both Byrne and Irwin are genuine title contenders with both riders in the top seven of the standings.

MCE British Superbike Championship race one (18 laps)
1 Leon Haslam (Kawasaki)
2 Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati)
3 Luke Mossey (Kawasaki)
4 Jason O’Halloran (Honda)
5 Peter Hickman (BMW)
6 James Ellison (Yamaha)
9 Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati)
MCE British Superbike Championship race two (18 laps)
1 Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati)
2 Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati)
3 Jason O’Halloran (Honda)
4 Christian Iddon (BMW)
5 Luke Mossey (Kawasaki)
6 Josh Brookes (Yamaha)

Round four of the MCE British Superbike Championship takes place at Knockhill over the weekend of 16/18 June and for further information, please visit www.pbmuk.net or www.britishsuperbike.com.


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