Samsung Honda’s Alex Lowes has became the youngest MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship title winner after he fended off the threat of three times champion Shane Byrne in a final race epic showdown to be crowned 2013 champion at Brands Hatch.
They had duelled intensely for much of the final title-deciding race for second place, knowing that whoever crossed the line first between them would take the crown while some distance in front, Aussie Josh Brookes was completing a hat-trick of victories aboard his Tyco Suzuki.
The dramatic ending to the 2013 season was set after Saturday’s race when Lowes took second for Samsung Honda ahead of Byrne on his Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki to grab a three points advantage in the title stakes.
In a dramatic second race both Lowes and Byrne crashed in the wet conditions setting up a winner takes all finale. Lowes had a third row start, Byrne was back on the eighth row, but they were soon in the front running mix after carving their way through the pack.
Brookes hit the front and was never challenged as he made it a hat trick of victories, but adrift of him the duel for the crown was developing. Lowes was third from Byrne on the fifth lap. Next time round Lowes was second from Byrne and on the sixth lap Byrne had taken the edge in a constant battle for the title. Lowes was determined though and he upped the pace, making a decisive move at Surtees with five laps to go.
Lowes had the second place and the points he needed to take the crown by seven points and he said: “It was an unbelievable last race, really difficult, and I just didn’t know how fast to push. I saw on my pit signals that Shane as closing on me and round here that is the last thing you wanted to see.
“It was a case of keeping focussed and when Shane had got past me I knew that I had to pass that guy if I wanted the title and I pushed on real hard. I had a few moments but luckily kept it all together and beat him to take the title and to me that really is incredible, always difficult with the weather playing such a big part. I couldn’t have my brother have a title and not me too this year!”
Byrne said: “It was a pity that it was decided in sketchy conditions but it has been a fantastic year which has made me realise how much I enjoy this championship. I gave my all in that race, didn’t realised that I was running second, then thought that’s enough, but Alex came back at me and took me. I tried to stay with him but I pushed a bit too hard into Druids on the last lap and lost a bit.”