Michael Laverty finished his MCE British Superbike Championship on a high note as clinched his maiden victory of the season in the at the final attempt in Sunday’s Showdown finale at Brands Hatch.
The Tyco BMW rider won the third race of the triple-header weekend, with Milwaukee Yamaha star and new BSB champion Josh Brookes’ crash at Graham Hill Bend making life a little easier for the Ulsterman and his rivals after the Aussie had dominated the first two races.
Brookes - linked with a return to TAS Racing in 2016 - secured the title in Saturday’s opener after seeing off a determined challenge by outgoing champion Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne and was on course to complete a commanding clean sweep of all seven Showdown races after defeating PBM Kawasaki rider Byrne again yesterday in race two.
However, a Brands treble proved a step too far for Brookes as he ended up in the gravel trap, paving the way for a three-way scrap between Laverty, Byrne and James Ellison on the JG Speedfit Kawasaki.
Byrne hit the front at Clearways in the closing stages but Laverty was wasn’t about to go down without a fight and was back in front at Paddock Hill Bend.
The 34-year-old managed to hold on for a coveted win by 0.237 seconds from Ellison, who edged Byrne for the runner-up spot.
The delighted Toomebridge man, who finished fourth overall in the final standings, said: “We kept the best to last, but all credit to the Tyco BMW lads as they have kept their faith in me and this is a perfect reward for their efforts.
“We’ve been building towards a win this past few rounds and since we had the upgrades at Assen, I’ve always believed we’d have top three pace.
“Coming into Brands this weekend I was thinking I’d love to stand on the top step and after a few tweaks after race one today, I rode race two with a lot of heart.
“I was a little weak into the second last corner and I knew the boys would have a go, but I kept going straight back at them,” he added.
“This win is as much for the whole team as it is for me.
“I saved the best to last. Once I got to the front I just kept it smooth and was able to fend off the challenges.
It has been a tough old season, but Tyco BMW stuck by me and it’s nice to finish the season on top.
Hopefully we’ll be back next year to challenge for the championship.”
Laverty finished ninth in Saturday’s race and third in race two before breaking his duck on the BMW.
It has been a topsy-turvy season for Laverty on his return to British Superbikes following two years in MotoGP, where his brother Eugene has been competing this season.
Michael revealed recently has already begun discussions with the Tyco team as he looks to re-establish himself as a genuine BSB title contender.