WP Racing were fuelling the British Superbike’s at Assen last weekend which produced some dramatic action which saw more than one title contender crash out.
Race one saw of the weekend caused the biggest shock for spectators as both Josh Brookes and Shane Byrne crashed out of contention.
The tension started before the riders even reached the grid as Milwaukee Yamaha's Josh Brookes failed to leave pitlane before it closed after an eight minute sighting lap period following rainfall just ahead of the start. A dejected Brookes had to start from the back of the grid and then as he bid to try and fight his way up the order he crashed out on the opening lap to end his hopes of salvaging vital championship points.
Title Fighter Dan Linfoot initially hit the front of the pack as they tipped into turn one for the first time with pole-sitter Christian Iddon ahead of Tommy Bridewell and Ryuichi Kiyonari. Byrne though had launched himself through the field from his fourth row start to move ahead of the chasing contenders by the start of the second lap.
Byrne held the lead from Linfoot and then Waters as he made his way through the field on the Tyco Suzuki, before the Australian split the Title Fighters on the ninth lap. Filip Backlund was in the mix at the mid-way stage as he worked his way into a potential podium position but a huge crash ended his race although he was able to walk away.
Waters moved ahead of Byrne on the eleventh lap and then Kiyonari made a move on his 'War for Four' rival to push the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki rider back to third. It was all over for Byrne on the penultimate lap as he crashed out unhurt at high-speed, slashing his lead to seven points over Kiyonari who claimed second. The Buildbase BMW rider exchanged positions with Waters on the final lap but it wasn't enough to add to his winning tally.
Stuart Easton claimed the final podium position for the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki team ahead of James Ellison who scored his best result since returning from injury. Pole-sitter Christian Iddon claimed fifth place ahead of Linfoot, who dropped to sixth but remained the second of the Title Fighters.
The second race off the day saw Byrne’s fortunes change dramatically has he ended his winning drought by beating title contender Ryuichi Kiyonari to the top spot with a breath taking move on the last corner of the race.
The opening lap saw John Hopkins hold the lead initially from Kiyonari and Stuart Easton, but again the drama started early for the Title Fighters as Chris Walker crashed out and the Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki rider limped away.
At the front Kiyonari pushed ahead of Hopkins but Byrne was attacking hard after the disappointment of his race one crash. The Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki rider was up to second by the fourth lap and then he had Kiyonari firmly in his sights.
Byrne was shadowing Kiyonari throughout the race and was within striking distance of his rival. As the laps went by Byrne started to show his front wheel, making attempts at passes but it wasn't until the final lap that he executed his move.
"I'm over the moon, it has been a long time since I won a race though it was almost cruel to take it like that," said Byrne. "I had looked at a way past Kiyo but it was going to be a bit of a gamble though on the last lap we were really close.
"My speed through the previous corner was a bit faster than his, and then I was along the side of his bike. I thought my bike had better stay gripped, or I am going to launch myself to the moon with another crash. Luckily for me it held and I took the win in that one, making up for that first race when I threw it up the road."
Byrne made a decisive move into the final chicane and Kiyonari couldn't out drag his rival to the line. As the pair battled for the win they had been coming under the increasing threat of Milwaukee Yamaha's Tommy Bridewell who had climbed the order and was waiting in the wings over the closing laps. He claimed a podium finish to move to within five points of team-mate Josh Brookes who was forced to retire with a technical problem after languishing in 25th.
There’s still all to play for in the final two races of the season as the championship looks set to go down to the wire.