The penultimate round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship proved to be a successful one for the Stobart VK Vent Axia Motorsport Team when they recorded three podium finishes out of a possible four following a day of drama at Donington Park in Leicestershire today.
Aboard the Dunlop shod Honda Fireblades, riders Tom Sykes and Shane Byrne secured the Paul Bird Team's first ever British Superbike double podium in race one as 21 year old Sykes finished second ahead of 30 year old Byrne who was third and in race two Sykes made it a double celebration by finishing in second place once again.
Sadly for Shakey, a technical problem on the warm up lap meant he had to call into the pits to collect his spare bike and from the resulting pit lane start he amazingly clawed himself to sixth position at the end of the 20 lap race, otherwise it could well have been more silverware for the Penrith based team.
Tom Sykes: "I got a good start in both races but in the first race it was really hectic with a lot of desperate moves going on but once everyone was settled down we were away and I enjoyed it and I got my first second place of the year. In the second race I managed to get past Chris Walker to lead and I just kept my head down but Leon Haslam closed me down and passed me, so I just followed him and tried to put the pressure on and on the last lap I tried to make a move when he ran wide but he shut the door on me and that was that. All in all it's been a fantastic weekend and I can't thank the team enough and the Dunlop tyres have been really consistent, so I'm looking forward to Brands Hatch and see what happens there."
Shane Byrne: "In the first race I used a rear tyre that I'd not used before so I was quite steady at the start of the race but the tyre was great and towards the end I lined Tom up to put a move on him for second place but unfortunately a back marker was right on my apex and I had to settle for third. In the second race I had a technical problem with the bike and had to switch to the spare so the first lap was a bit hairy on cold tyres. I worked my way through the field and could see Jonathan Rea a long way in front of me and was dreaming of overtaking him on the last corner and I got closer and closer and put some good lap times in towards the end. It was a bit of a do or die manoeuvre but I got past him and ended up sixth. The boys have done a great job this weekend and I was a bit disappointed I couldn't get two podiums but I did my best I enjoyed the racing."
Paul Bird: "It's been a good weekend for us. In the second race there were circumstances out of our control or we could have been up for another double rostrum. The boys are riding well so roll on Brands Hatch where both of them will be challenging for the top step and perhaps we can end the season with a couple of wins."
The final round of the Championship takes place in three weeks time at Brands Hatch with Sykes looking for his first ever British Superbike victory and Byrne looking to add to the win at Snetterton earlier in the season.