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Shane Byrne profile

By Dan Moakes
November 14 2008


Shane Byrne
nationality · English
born · 10 December 1976
world superbike début · 2002
grand prix début · 2004

Shane Byrne 2003 - photo by Carly Rathmell
Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne in 2003
© Carly Rathmell

Having shown promise from an early stage, Shane Byrne then blazed through the privateer ranks to the top of the ‘senior’ British Superbike ladder in short order. This culminated with an impressive World Superbike outing at Brands Hatch in the year of his first BSB title, when he took a convincing double wildcard victory. His ambitions of similar glory in MotoGP were frustrated by less competitive machinery, but a return to racing at home put him back on the right track, and a second dominant BSB crown has led to a full-time WSB chance in 2009. He could yet become a name on the world stage.

1988
Trials riding début; one win from four events

1993
Schoolboy motocross; four wins in five months

1996
Road racing début, with a Kawasaki; won first time out; broken wrist ended season early

1997
Club racing; Supersport 600 Champion; first national race win at Cadwell Park, on a Supersport Honda

1998
6th in British Supersport championship, on a Yamaha ThunderCat; won at Snetterton

1999 Harris Performance, number 50 Kawasaki
Shane began the season on a Honda in the Supersport class, but was soon drafted onto the Harris ZX-7RR for his first British Superbike experience. From round six of the series, he scored several points finishes, the best of which were two sevenths and two eighths. For the final round, at Donington Park, Shane rode the number 3 Team Kawasaki bike, finishing fifth and sixth. These results helped him onto 67 points, and fifteenth overall

2000 Harris Honda Britain, number 16 Honda
Although he missed some mid-season races through injury, Shane piloted the SP-1 to fourteenth position, with ten top ten results. The best of these were sevenths at Brands Hatch and Cadwell Park, and another fifth at the second Brands meeting. He scored 80 points

2001 Performance House, number 11 Suzuki
With an impressive twenty finishes in the top eight, including three fifths, plus fourths at Oulton Park and Brands Hatch, Shakey was easily the privateer champion. Indeed, he took the GSX-R750 to 22 class wins in a 26 race series. 204 points in the main championship were enough for eighth place in the final table

2002 Team Renegade Ducati, number 8 Ducati
For his first year on a full works Superbike, Byrne became a front-running regular on the 998 R TestaStretta. His first win came at a wet-dry Donington, in the first race of round three, and he was only beaten by team-mate Michael Rutter in the second. Other wins came at Knockhill and Thruxton, and he was in the top five for a total of sixteen races. With three fastest laps, his points total of 294½ placed him fourth
Also raced a number 55 Ducati in the British WSB rounds, finishing fifth, ninth and tenth twice

Shane Byrne - photo © Raceline Photography
© Raceline Photography

2003 MonsterMob Ducati, number 4 Ducati
Taking over on the machine of reigning title holder Steve Hislop, Shane wrapped up the championship with two rounds yet to run. An early season burst of nine wins in eleven races set him on course, and after race sixteen his tally of second places was at six. At that stage he was 135 points clear of Suzuki’s John Reynolds, and a win at Cadwell Park proved enough. He also recorded four pole positions and nine fastest laps, and a final tally of 488
Also raced a number 67 Ducati in the Brands WSB rounds, winning both races. These results put him fifteenth in the championship after nine rounds, and just one place lower at the end of the series

2004 MS Aprilia Racing, number 67 Aprilia
Shane’s reward for his success in British (and World) Superbikes was a move straight into MotoGP, with the under-achieving Aprilia team and their RS³ Cube machine. This put him near the back of the grid, not helped by their financial difficulties. The rider was not helped by hand and wrist injuries, which meant he missed several rounds, but wet weather helped him take a couple of decent results. The best of these was tenth in Italy, where he ran seventh, and 18 points altogether put him twentieth

2005 Team Roberts KTM, number 67 Proton KR-KTM
Byrne joined Team KR for 2005, who would be using the new V4 engine from KTM. It was another difficult season, with the package not competitive and Shane crashing at times trying to make up the difference. The ride came to an end mid-season when KTM withdrew, with Shane having got just one point in the US race. He had a couple of further chances, replacing the injured Troy Bayliss at Camel Honda on the RC211V, and scoring both in Malaysia and Qatar. Six points meant 24th overall

Shane Byrne - photo © Raceline Photography
© Raceline Photography

2006 Rizla Suzuki, number 67 Suzuki
After two interrupted years in Grands Prix, Shane found his way back to British Superbike racing, where the Rizla Suzuki team were looking to replace John Reynolds. The GSX-R1000 K6 was not a match for the best Ducati and Honda machinery, and Shane had to wait until the fourth round for podium results. After non-starting at Snetterton, Byrne’s machine was stolen from the team garage overnight at a Croft test. And yet the recovered bike gave him second and first places at the next Knockhill round. He was off the podium after that, but still on target for fourth overall until a big crash at the final round. Finished sixth, with 224 points and two fastest laps

Shane Byrne - photo © Raceline Photography
© Raceline Photography

2007 Stobart Vent Axia Motorsport, number 67 Honda
2007 brought a return to Paul Bird’s BSB team, formerly MonsterMob Ducati but now Stobart Honda. The partnership did not lead to the success of 2003, but Shane was on pole at Snetterton, where he recorded his third podium result. Mondello Park then brought two second places, and more podium finishes included his 17th BSB win at Mallory Park. 293 points meant fifth overall, with three fastest laps on the CBR1000RR

Shane Byrne - photo © Raceline Photography
© Raceline Photography

2008 Airwaves Ducati, number 67 Ducati
Five years after his most successful year came a return to Ducati machinery, this time on the new 1098R, as twin cylinder rules now allowed a 1200cc upper capacity. ‘Shakey’ started his season with eight wins and four seconds in twelve outings, even after the Ducatis were saddled with ‘success ballast’, and with four pole positions in the same period. He only missed the podium three times in the remainder of the season, and that included a crash out of the lead at Knockhill, and ‘only’ top five results at Croft. With ten wins, five poles altogether and 474 points, Byrne was the champion by a clear margin


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