Honda rider Glenn Irwin turned around a difficult weekend at Brands Hatch to clinch a battling rostrum finish in the final race at the Kent circuit yesterday.
Carrickfergus man Irwin slid out of Saturday’s Sprint race on the first lap at Druids after losing the front of his Fireblade.
Hindered by a lowly grid position on the sixth row as a result of the crash, Irwin had to fight his way through the field in the second race yesterday to salvage 10th place.
The Northern Ireland rider’s task was made even more difficult after he was caught up in an incident at the start of the race, which left him at the back of the field.
Irwin, though, started from the third row based on fastest laps in the final race and flew out of the traps, passing early leader Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) and Bradley Ray (OMG Yamaha) to take the lead on the third lap of 20.
He remained out front until lap 13, when Mackenzie and Australian rider Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) made their move.
Irwin was unable to match the pace of the Yamaha men, but he had enough in reserve to hold off Ray to seal third place, returning to the BSB podium for the first time since he won all three races at Silverstone at round one of the championship in April.
Mackenzie edged out O’Halloran for victory to complete a Sunday double after finishing second to his team-mate on Saturday.
Irwin, who retains sixth place in the Showdown standings, said: “I rode with (Honda team-mate) Tom Neave in race two and I could see he was more stable down through Dingle Dell and we spoke about that, because he could destroy me on (corner) entry, and so we copied him.
“But at the same time where he was good, it wasn’t a machine set-up thing, it was probably more him being smooth with his right hand.
“So I worked on that in a few areas and after I led for so long, I thought, ‘they’re not just going to go past me, I’m going to fight’.
“I expected them to go past me early but my bike was quick, stopped good, so I was as late as I could be and got out of the corners as hard as I could, and I knew that was probably the way to ride against the Yamaha to slow their corner speed.
“When I was down to third I just gave it everything I know he’s my mate, and I like Bradley too, but I wasn’t giving him a podium today!”
Irwin’s brother Andrew finished 12th in race three after crashing out in race two. The SYNETIQ BMW rider was 14th in Saturday’s race.
Dublin’s Jack Kennedy won both Supersport races on the Mar-Train Yamaha while David Allingham from Eglinton secured an excellent runner-up finish in the second National Superstock 1000 race behind Richard Cooper.
The sixth round of the championship will take place at Thruxton from August 12-14.
In the Dunlop Masters Superbike Championship at Mondello Park, Thomas O’Grady sealed a double with Derek Sheils winning race three yesterday.
Josh Elliott won the first Supersport race on Saturday but had to settle for second place in yesterday’s two races behind Kevin Keyes at the County Kildare circuit.