Just a couple of weeks after he clinched the 2016 MCE British Superbike Championship title at Brands Hatch, Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne has signed a two-year deal to continue with Paul Bird Motorsport and Be Wiser Ducati.
From Minster on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent, Byrne claimed his and the Cumbrian team’s fifth BSB title last month following an epic season long battle on the Ducati Corse-backed Be Wiser Ducati Panigale R whereby he won nine races.
Having been with the team for five consecutive years since 2012, during which time he has won three British Superbike Championship titles and finished runner-up twice, Byrne has committed his short-term future to the Penrith-based squad and will see him contest both the 2017 and 2018 British Superbike Championship seasons with long-term friend and team boss Paul Bird.
The deal is unusual in as much as it’s the first time in over 20 years of operation that PBM has offered a rider a contract of longer than a year and whereas it is common in the World Championship, it is a rarity in most domestic championships including BSB.
An announcement on further riders will be made shortly.
Shane Byrne: “I think this announcement is the icing on the cake of what's been another great year. It's an absolute show of commitment between Paul Bird and myself, a team second to none, as we know each other so well. Whilst this is a ground-breaking deal in BSB, with it being a multi-year appointment, it's literally two mates with a desire to win securing their future together. I'm personally feeling remarkably proud of everything we achieved, not only this year, but in all the years I've ridden for Paul. He's played such a massive part in my success, and together we now have another shot at two titles, and who knows how many more. I'll work as hard as possible to try to achieve that goal to repay the faith which Paul has once again shown in our partnership.”
Paul Bird, Team Owner: “It’s the first time we’ve offered a two-year deal to any of our riders in over 20 years so that is how significant we look at what Shakey and Ducati brings to the team. To win the championship in our first year back with Ducati was a fantastic achievement for PBM, Shakey and the whole team, why would we want to change anything? He asked about a two-year deal, we were comfortable offering it so he’s happy and we are happy. As they say, a happy rider is a fast rider so the plan is to win the title again for the next two years with Shakey, but we know it won’t be easy.”
The opening round of the 2017 MCE British Superbike Championship takes place at Donington Park on March 31/April 2.