Oulton BSB: ‘Second feels like a victory’ for Irwin

| | British Superbikes
Picture: Impact Images

Three top-four finishes at Oulton Park, including a second place finish in the final race of the weekend, helped Glenn Irwin move up to fourth overall in this year’s Bennetts British Superbike Championship

The results were without doubt his best around the undulating Cheshire venue since joining Honda Racing in 2020 after previous struggling to get the Fireblade to work around the crests and bumps of the 2.69-mile circuit.

Qualifying in ninth, albeit only three tents of a second off second place, was far from ideal but it was his quickest lap around Oulton on the Honda and he more than proved that with a strong fourth place in Saturday’s opening race.

“It was an enjoyable race and everything was good apart from the start position and the first lap! I made a good pass on Lee [Jackson], followed by Rory [Skinner], Andrew [Irwin] and Danny [Buchan] and to pull big moves against those lads who are all good is very confidence inspiring,” he said

“The main thing was seeing the likes of Tommy [Bridewell], Pete [Hickman] and Jason [O’Halloran] all coming closer to me in the last few laps, and that’s something I’ve not been able to say since I joined Honda at this circuit, as we do have our work cut out here.”

Starting from seventh in race two resulted in another fourth place after just missing the carnage when Christian Iddon, Rory Skinner and Kyle Ryde went down at Brittens, a trip down the slip road keeping him out of trouble.

He saved the best until last though, leading the final race for a number of laps before being overhauled by Bridewell. The Ducati man was unable to pull away with Irwin continuing to pressure him, only losing out on the dash to the line by just 0.089s

“We showed at Snetterton that we’re making progress, and again here we made a real positive step forward. It’s areward for a lot of hard work and the biggest credit must go to the team, we have a bike that is a fantastic Superstock bike, and also a fantastic Superbike at many different tracks, as we have seen in road racing and also here in BSB.

“But we’ve also had tracks where we have been weaker. I’d love to have won today and on the final lap I tried with Tommy and I could see his tyre was dropping off so I had to get Druids as good as I could. I feel that I did that but we just lost out a little to him in the run to the last corner.

“To come away with a second place here feels like a victory! It’s been an incredible run of races with Snetterton and being so close to a podium there, then two fourths and a second here. The consistency that got us into the Showdown remains so far and we now go to Donington, which is a track where I think we’ll be a lot stronger.”