2003 WSB Brands Hatch Results

July 27, 2003
By Brian Korfhage
The British flag was flying high at Brands Hatch on Sunday as Shane Byrne and the Union Jack contingent utterly dominated the day’s racing. Byrne scored the double win taking both legs of the World Superbike round, much to the delight of the ecstatic Brands Hatch crowd.

Monstermob Ducati rider Shane Byrne is joined on the podium after race one  by World Superbike regulars Neil Hodgson and Chris Walker.
Monstermob Ducati rider Shane Byrne is joined on the podium after race one, by World Superbike regulars Neil Hodgson and Chris Walker.

In the first contest, Byrne beat WSB championship leader, Neil Hodgson to the line after a race long battle and the British fans got a bonus as Chris Walker took the third position on the podium. In fact, Regis Laconi was the only non-Brit rider to emerge in the top six positions in race one.

“I can’t believe it, this is unreal,” said Byrne after the race. “I just kept my head down and saw that I had a half second lead and then the next thing, it was three seconds and it kept going up from there. I saw I was catching James Haydon in the final laps and it must have distracted me as I nearly ran off the track but what a feeling, I’m absolutely made up.”

Race two was another rousing success for Byrne (Shown looking for an opportunity to get past the GSX-R pilot below) as he beat out countryman and fellow wild card rider, John Reynolds to the line by .539 of a second. “This has to be one of the best days I can remember,” said a happy Shane Byrne. “I knew it would be hard but it was tougher than I expected, especially in race two but I’m absolutely made up. It was vitally important to do well and I’m glad the weather held out but this is going to stay with me for a long, long time.”

HM Plant’s James Toseland took the third and final position on the podium. Ruben Xaus and Neil Hodgson rounded out the top five, respectively.

“It feels brilliant to have been part of such a fantastic second race in front of a 120,000 strong British crowd,” said runner-up Reynolds. “I could feel them urging me on as I was racing and every lap you could hear the air-horns and cheers, what an experience!

“Finishing in second place in the second race was magical, getting up on the podium and facing a wall of noise and cheering. I would have liked to have won the race, but hats off to Shakey, he rode superbly – I’ll get him next time. Again we have proved that Rizla Suzuki and the GSX-R1000 are capable of winning at the very highest level.”

Hodgson now leads the race for the championship by 140 points over teammate Ruben Xaus, 386 to 246. James Toseland holds the third position with 227 points.

“Race 2 was also really difficult because the pace was hotter and the other riders didn’t break down,” said Hodgson. “I was catching up on the leaders but then I hit a false neutral two times into the corner off the back straight and had to back down. We were at a bit of a disadvantage on this circuit, not having tested here and with very little dry weather track time and the wild-cards were always going to be a threat because they know the circuit so well. Now I’m looking forward to Assen to take that title.”

Race One Results:
1. Shayne Byrne (Ducati)
2. Neil Hodgson (Ducati)
3. Chris Walker (Ducati)
4. Regis Laconi (Ducati)
5. Sean Emmett (Ducati)
6. James Toseland (Ducati)
7. Gregorio Lavilla (Suzuki)
8. Michael Rutter (Ducati)
9. Pier-Francesco Chili (Ducati)
10. Yukio Kagayama (Suzuki)

Race Two Results:
1. Shayne Byrne (Ducati)
2. John Reynolds (Suzuki)
3. James Toseland (Ducati)
4. Ruben Xaus (Ducati)
5. Neil Hodgson (Ducati)
6. Gregorio Lavilla (Suzuki)
7. Pier-Francesco Chili (Ducati)
8. Regis Laconi (Ducati)
9. Yukio Kagayama (Suzuki)
10. Leon Haslam (Ducati)