Confident Irwin heading for Showdown
The final six Title Showdown riders will be confirmed after this weekend's 'triple header' ninth round of the British Superbike Championship at Silverstone.
To date, only Leon Haslam and Jake Dixon have secured their top six spots, with six other riders - Ulsterman Glenn Irwin, Josh Brookes, Bradley Ray, Peter Hickman, Danny Buchan and Christian Iddon - chasing the four remaining places ahead of the final three rounds.
A decision by BSB officials to use the 1.6mile National Circuit instead of the full international track after the recent British Motorcycle Grand Prix debacle is an added challenge for teams and riders who have little experience or data for the shorter circuit.
Irwin, the 28-year old Carrickfergus rider who currently occupies third position on the PBM Be Wiser Ducati, has happy memories of Silverstone from a year ago when he won there, and he is hoping to secure his first victory of this season and claim his Showdown spot this weekend.
He said: "I'm raring to go at Silverstone, it's about going out and enjoying the three races, and if I do that I should score enough points to get into the Showdown. The new layout should be interesting and will be fun."
His brother and team-mate, Andrew, has no chance of making the Showdown having joined the series late to replace the injured Shayne Byrne.
Tyco BMW have only Iddon challenging for a Showdown spot, currently in eighth spot with a mathematical shout of going through.
He said: "I have nothing to lose this weekend. I know who I'm in a battle with, I know it is still a possibility and all I can do is just race the best I can."
Ulsterman Michael Laverty, however, will just be going out to gain as many points as possible with podiums his main objective.
Moneymore-based Tyco BMW Superstock 1000cc rider Keith Farmer continues his quest for the championship, currently five points behind series leader Billy McConnell and three ahead of EHA Aprilia rider Joe Collier.
Former British Supersport champion Alastair Seeley has been thrown a lifeline this weekend by the EHA Racing Team after the MV Agusta outfit he had been riding for withdrew for the rest of the season.
Seeley, who completed a North West 200 Supersport double for the EHA team, said: "It's the best phone call I had all week. To be honest, it's the one Supersport ride in the paddock I would have picked had there been a choice.
"I really enjoyed riding the EHA Racing Yamaha at the North West and in testing with riders David (Allingham) and Ross (Twyman) the week after.
"I have to thank EHA Racing for making this happen - I'm really looking forward to it."