Two riders, Suzuki’s Tom Sykes and Honda’s Leon Haslam, each won a round of the British Superbike Championship at Knockhill. But it was a horrific 160mph crash involving runaway championship leader Shane Bryne which overshadowed the weekend.
Seven days after English racer Craig Jones was tragically killed in the World Superbike race at Brands Hatch, Byrne lost control of his Ducati as he led today’s second race into Duffus Dip.
As the Zurich-based Englishman touched the brakes, his bike slewed on a damp piece of the Fife track and immediately slid from beneath him before slithering into the gravel trap.
Former champ Byrne meanwhile was catapulted through the air before he too hit the gravel before coming to rest against the protective barrier at the side of the track.
The race, which had already been stopped once following an earlier crash, was immediately red-flagged as rescue crews sped to the scene. After being treated at the scene by doctors, and having a neck brace fitted, Byrne was able to wave to the crowd before being whisked away for precautionary x-rays at hospital.
Initial reports confirmed Byrne, who only passed himself fit to race at the last minute after damaging his back in the morning, had miraculously not suffered any serious injury.
Sykes, who dedicated his victory — his third in a row after winning twice at Oulton Park — dedicated his win to his close friend Jones. Haslam meanwhile, who started both races from pole position and was hounding Byrne before the crash, was overjoyed with his win.
“It’s been a long, long time coming,” Haslam, who hadn’t won for 17 races, admitted afterwards. “This weekend was the first time I felt totally confident with the bike and the team was totally behind me. Now, hopefully, we can go on and win more races.”
Despite his crash, Byrne heads to Cadwell Park for the next round having extended his lead over Honda’s Cal Crutchlow from 99 points to 110. Sykes remains in third, eight points behind Crutchlow, with Haslam fourth, a further 15 points adrift.