Exclusive: Lambeth superbike star Shane Byrne on possibility of a racing return – and setting up a company to help bring through sport’s next big things

BY GILES SPENCER
giles@slpmedia.co.uk

Superbike racer Shane “Shakey” Byrne has revealed he still needs more surgery as he works his way back from his horror crash in May 2018.

The Lambeth-born rider, 44, won a record six British Superbike Championships before being forced to stop racing after a huge accident at Snetterton left him with a broken neck, four broken vertebrae and busted all of his ribs..

Byrne has told our paper about the prospects of him returning to racing and what drove him to start a new company.

The surgeon who first looked at his X-rays after his crash in Norfolk was amazed that Byrne had not been paralysed.

“I’m waiting on some hospital appointments and bits and pieces.” said Byrne.

“It seems like my surgeon has highlighted some problems with a scan I had done towards the end of last year and there are some further operations I need to have done to take away some of the pain I’m in at the moment.

“I feel like everybody’s in my world at the moment. My body is in lockdown – and so is the rest of the world at the moment.

“I was supposed to have a telephone appointment with a hospital in London this week and they called me last week to say it’s a case of all hands on deck. All the specialists are trying to help out with covid patients so we’ll have to get back to you as to when we can fit you in.

“While I’m desperate to be fixed I also understand there’s a desperate situation going on – not just in Kent [where Byrne now lives] and London but around the world.

“Let’s hope the quicker that gets fixed, the quicker everything else will get fixed after.”

Byrne is unsure if he will ever be back racing again.

“It’s a tricky one,” he said. “The problem for me is that we’re so far away from knowing whether or not it’s actually possible because of the metal and bits and pieces that are in place. And obviously I’m not getting any younger.

“While I’d desperately love to say ‘I’m going to be brand new tomorrow’ – and if I’m brand new then obviously I’d want to go again – I don’t know if I will be, or how close I’ll be to full fitness. That will determine which way we end up going.”

Byrne formed a management and consultancy company with Eurosport commentator Matt Roberts in 2019 called Sixty Seven Sports Management to help young riders achieve their full potential.

Byrne said: “Matt wrote my book with me, so we’d gone through my whole life and what might happen after racing.

“We were sat down talking one night and I said at some point I’d like to give something back to the sport and I’d love to start a management company and help some people out.

“Ironically we were both managed by the same sport management company when I was back in World Superbike and he said WMG once approached him about being an agent for them.

‘Shakey’ with his new signing, Casey O’Gorman

“I said: ‘Why don’t we start a sports management company?’ as he had a lot of contacts and we both work in British and World Superbike, so have access to all the people we need to speak to.

“Nothing starts without an idea or a dream.

“We started talking to a few riders and Matt asked me for my opinion on riders that I thought would have a bright future and we started out with (BSB rider) Bradley Ray.

“We went through our plans with him and said ‘we’re just starting out but want to take this forward and want to do a good job and see you as a good place to start’.

“He burst on to the scene and won some races. Hopefully I can balance him out a bit and work on his weaknesses because his positive side is he’s fast enough to win BSB races.

“We have been working with him since 2019.”

They have also taken on Erith racing sensation Casey O’Gorman, 13. Byrne said: “He’s a fantastically talented young kid and really dedicated.”

“I could have 10 riders I could manage right now. But I don’t want to spread myself too thin.

“I believed in myself while I was racing in my career and I want to be able to believe in the same way about the guys I’m going to be working with. I’d far rather do the job right and do it properly for the right amount of riders and know that everybody’s happy and we’re all going forward together.”

The British Superbike Championship has been pushed back to May.

Byrne said: “We’ve got another six to eight weeks grace, which is great as we’re trying to build up funds and get everything in place to make sure we’re good to go for the start of the year.”

O’Gorman and Ray will be in action when the British Superbike Championship kicks off at Oulton Park, Cheshire on May 29.

To find out more about Sixty Seven Sports Management, visit sixtysevensports.com


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