Belfast Telegraph

Battling Glenn Irwin keeps the flag flying at Brands Hatch

By Paul Lindsay

Round seven of the British Superbike Championship at Brands Hatch was not a happy hunting ground for local riders and teams at the weekend.

In the two Superbike races, it was circuit specialist and championship leader Shayne Byrne who emerged victorious in both while Tyco BMW rider Michael Laverty could only manage 14th position and two points in race one.

There was worse to come for Laverty in race two when he retired in a cloud of smoke on the 14th lap of 22.

Despite just managing two points, Laverty remains in the crucial top six of the series, led by Byrne, who came through from poor starts to reel in the leading riders to snatch victory and claim the 'King of Brands' trophy.

It was left to Carrick's Glenn Irwin to carry the local flag with a superb fourth position in race two having suffered a crash in race one on lap 12 when in fourth position.

PBM Be Wiser Ducati rider Irwin said after the race: "I made a little mistake in race one, so it was nice to come back in race two. I caught up on leader Jason O'Halloran in race two and was ahead of Luke Mossey, Leon Haslam and James Ellison, but I had used more rear tyre in catching up and I dropped back to fourth in the end.

"Paul Bird, our team owner, has drummed it into me that this is a learning year and I've matured as a rider with the podium at Thruxton and this fourth feeling like race wins in my rookie Superbike season."

Equally disappointed at the weekend was Andy Reid (Quattro Plant Kawasaki) who rode his way to sixth, seventh and eighth in the three British Supersport races.

Reid, from Jordanstown, is now third in the series behind Darren McKenzie, who won two of the three races and crashed spectacularly when challenging for the lead of the third, and James Westmoreland, who had a non-finish and a second before taking victory in race three.

Eglinton rider David Allingham had a good weekend, scoring two fourths and a fifth to move into fourth position in the championship while Andrew was a non-finisher in all three races for the Gearlink Kawasaki team.

Robert Kennedy from Dundrod secured a point for 15th position in race three yesterday, while William Dunlop rode in Saturday's two races, finishing well off the pace as he preparesfor this week's MCE Ulster Grand Prix.

In the Superstock 1000cc race, Ballinamallard rider Josh Elliott made a hugely disappointing start from second on the grid and could only end up in fifth position at the chequered flag while his Tyco BMW team-mate Ian Hutchinson rode a superb race to claim second position behind race winner and championship leader Taylor Mackenzie.

Certainly Hutchinson's form looks ominous ahead of Ulster Grand Prix practice, which starts on Wednesday morning.

Keith Farmer also started from the front row of this race, but on lap seven he clipped the back end of Alex Olsen's machine at Druids and both crashed out unhurt.

Carl Phillips from Lisburn has seen his huge lead in the Superstock 600cc series eroded to just 12 points after finishing eighth in yesterday's 10 lap race, while Donegal's Richard Kerr finished fourth in the Motostar race in which Randalstown's Eugene McManus high sided out of the action in the early stages of the race - both non-finishers in Saturday's event.

The only ray of sunshine for locals came from Aaron Wright who scored first and second places to remain runaway leader of the British Junior Cup by 86 points and Scott Swann improved from a first race 14th to fourth yesterday, just missing out on a podium.

Leading BSB Championship Standings:

Riders: 1 Shane Byrne (Gbr) Ducati 231pts, 2 Leon Haslam (Gbr) Kawasaki 206, 3 Jason O'Halloran (Aus) Honda 175, 4 Michael Laverty (Gbr) BMW 137, 5 Dan Linfoot (Gbr) Honda 135, 6 Richard Cooper (Gbr) BMW 125, 7 James Ellison (Gbr) Kawasaki 122, 7 Luke Mossey (Gbr) Kawasaki 122, 9 Christian Iddon (Gbr) BMW 120, 10 Peter Hickman (Gbr) Kawasaki 106

Manufacturers: 1 Kawasaki 260pts, 2 Ducati 253, 3 BMW 231, 4 Honda 204, 5 Suzuki 89, 6 Yamaha 64

Belfast Telegraph


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