Shakey: Down But Not Out
We caught up with the six-time BSB champ.
Considering his nickname is Shakey, ex- Fast Bikes road tester and six-time British Superbike Champion (oh, and World Superbike race winner) Shane Byrne hasn’t had a bad career on two wheels at all. In fact, it’s been pretty darn fantastic. Winning races on a Ducati, Kawasaki, Honda, Suzuki and Kawasaki in BSB means there is absolutely no denying his talent, and with more than 30 more domestic wins than any other rider, there was always going to be a chance that the 40-year-old from Kent was going to be a strong contender for the title this year as well – which would’ve been three championships in a row. Now that’s not a bad record for the oldest rider in the championship is it?
It’s not just the immense talent that soared Shakey from an ASBO-inducing road tester at the finest mag in existence to a fan-favourite in the best domestic series in the world though, it’s also how he crafted himself into a fan-favourite. After some incredible showings as a privateer, Byrne climbed the ranks before moving from the shadows into the spotlight. It wasn’t all plain sailing for Byrne though, as his first championship came in the year he replaced the ousted Steve Hislop, who’d been sacked by Paul Bird for being too old. That’s no way to gain fans is it? Even so, Byrne made it work and became a real hit thanks to his polite and friendly nature… and the fact that he was bloody fast, winning two World Superbike races as a wildcard in the same year.
From there things got tough with some dodgy years in MotoGP on crap bikes that were hampered with injury, before a dabble back in BSB (and a sneaky championship) before jumping into World Superbike, for what was ultimately a pretty pants time. With former success in Britain spurring him on, Shakey returned to the BSB paddock in 2011, taking the crown in 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2017 and he was hoping to add 2018 to the list as well. Unfortunately, fate had other ideas, so we sat down with the man himself, to get his take on the past, present and future, and how things were coming along in the whole injury department…