Belfast Telegraph

Back on track Irwin is eager to make up for lost time

 

By Roy Harris

A weekend of top racing is guaranteed as the British Superbike Championship returns to Brands Hatch, some of the best Irish road racers do battle at Faugheen in Co. Cork, and Olivers Mount, Scarborough hosts the Barry Sheene Classic.

Two top British Superbike riders, Christian Iddon and Glenn Irwin, make a welcome return to the grid this weekend having missed the last two rounds through injury.

Tyco BMW runner Iddon dropped out of the crucial top six places into eighth in his absence and is looking to bounce back at Brands.

"I feel good to go and Brands was good to me earlier in the season, the same again (two podiums) and I'd be more than happy," he said.

His new team-mate Andy Reid will look to continue getting up to speed with the Tyco BMW in what will be only his second meeting riding a Superbike.

Irwin, meanwhile, has been working his socks off in his attempts to get back on track this morning for free practice.

A podium finisher twice this year on the PBM Be Wiser Ducati, the Ulsterman also dropped out of the top six - into ninth position - having missed Knockhill and Snetterton, and, like Iddon, is keen to make it into the Showdown.

Irwin was at Mondello Park last weekend and completed a number of exploratory laps to determine where he was at with his recovery.

He said: "Of course I need to pass a medical before being allowed to race, but I'm confident the injuries have healed sufficiently to allow me to do so.

"If not then I know I could have done nothing more to get race fit. I have been to the hyperbaric chamber, had laser treatment, physio and acupuncture, all to stimulate the muscles and speed up my recovery time."

Keith Farmer and David Allingham are currently joint second in the British Supersport Championship, and both are looking to take the series lead this weekend from Tarren Mackenzie, who has moved to Moto2 and is out of contention.

Andrew Irwin, on his Gearlink Kawasaki, is also well in Championship contention, only five points behind the Yamaha duo.

However, he has to stand before a stewards' panel to see if he is allowed to keep his first ever win in the class at Snetterton due to an alleged pass on Dubliner Jack Kennedy under yellow flags.

Alastair Seeley on the SpiritM2 scores no Championship points, but is sure to be in the thick of the action.

Carl Phillips and Josh Elliott compete in the National Superstock 1000cc class with the aim of moving up in the standings, while Dundrod rider Robert Kennedy and Aaron Clifford will be aiming for top-10 finishes in the Superstock 600cc race, with Richard Kerr and Eugene McManus chasing podiums in the Motostar races.

The Faugheen 50 road races around the narrow, bumpy 2.2-mile circuit near Carrick-on-Suir, Co. Tipperary tomorrow and Sunday have attracted a large entry from all over Ireland, led by Cookstown BE Racing's Derek Sheils (the current lap record holder at 105.982mph), Derek McGee, double Manx Grand Prix winner Michael Sweeney and Paul Jordan, all of whom were winners at the meeting last year.

The star attraction will be Joey Dunlop's iconic Honda RC45 prepared by Gary Dunlop and to be ridden in demonstration laps by Sheils and McGee.

Practice is from 12pm tomorrow with racing scheduled from 11am on Sunday.

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