Glenn Irwin to be kingmaker in British Superbike top title battle
It's crunch time in the British Superbike Championship at Silverstone this weekend with the ninth round of 12 a triple-header that will determine the six riders who will contest the final three rounds as Title Fighters.
Such has been the level of competition this year that going into the three races at Silverstone not one rider is yet guaranteed a Showdown position, with the permutation being that any of the current top eight can make the Showdown.
Defending champion Shayne Byrne, Leon Haslam, Peter Hickman, Jason O'Halloran, Josh Brookes, Luke Mossey, Jake Dixon and Tyco BMW's Christian Iddon are separated by just 66 points with 75 on offer for three wins this weekend.
Local ace Glenn Irwin is out of contention for a top six finish thanks to a shoulder injury picked up earlier in the season that hampered his progress, but he can play a role in helping PBM Be Wiser Ducati team mate Byrne secure a top six spot.
Irwin said: "I like Silverstone and I need to repay my team for not delivering the results recently, so I intend to do that this weekend. Also if I can do anything to assist Shakey in any way possible, it goes without saying I'll do that."
Andy Reid and Michael Laverty will also be looking to secure good results this weekend.
In the Supersport Championship, Clogher's Keith Farmer (Appleyard/McAdam Yamaha) enjoys a handsome 63 point lead over Dubliner Jack Kennedy (Tempus MV) and will be looking to consolidate his position in the two races this weekend, while Andrew Irwin, fourth in the standings, is still chasing that elusive first win in the class for Gearlink Kawasaki.
In what has been an Irish dominated class since the fourth round, Eglinton rider David Allingham is in third position in the series with just 32 points separating Kennedy in second place and Irwin in fourth.
The Motostar Moto3 series has been dominated by two riders, Tom Booth-Amos and Jake Archer, this season, but in the fight for third in the championship 18-year-old Randalstown rider Eugene McManus and Donegal 17-year old Richard Kerr are locked in battle with Storm Stacey, currently third, 22 points ahead of McManus, who in turn has just a two point advantage over Kerr ahead of this weekend's two races.
Scott Swann (14), recently selected to join the 2018 British Talent Cup grid, contends the standard class within the championship and currently lies in ninth position in that series.
Robert Kennedy from Dundrod scored a morale boosting sixth position in the Superstock 600cc race last time out at Cadwell Park and will hope to at least emulate that result on the Sandown Kawasaki come Sunday.
Josh Elliott continues to score top six finishes for Tyco BMW in the Superstock 1000cc series despite his late arrival into the team this season, replacing the injured Ian Hutchinson, and a podium is not outside the Ballinamallard rider's reach at Silverstone.
It promises to be an intriguing weekend of action.