Belfast Telegraph

Irwin determined to build on his maiden BSB triumph

 

On rise: Andrew Irwin is hungry for more
On rise: Andrew Irwin is hungry for more

By Roy Harris

With just five races remaining to secure a top-six spot in the British Superbike Championship, every point is vital during the two races tomorrow and Sunday at Cadwell Park.

The top two places seem secure for Be Wiser Ducati pairing Scott Redding and Josh Brookes, but the final four spots are up for grabs with seven riders in contention.

Andrew Irwin and Honda Racing head into today's practice boosted by the Carrickfergus rider claiming his maiden BSB win last time out at Thruxton in race one, which was also the team's first victory of the season.

He then followed that up with second position in race two.

Those results lifted Irwin, in his first full campaign in BSB, into sixth place in the Championship.

He is now level on points with his team-mate Xavi Fores and is battling with Danny Buchan, Tarren Mackenzie, Tommy Bridewell, Peter Hickman and Christian Iddon for one of the top-six spots.

The 25-year-old said: "It was always a dream of mine to win a BSB race. I watched the likes of Jonathan Rea, Cal Crutchlow, Leon Haslam and Ryuichi Kiyonari win for Honda at this level and it's something I felt I wanted to achieve.

"Now that it is reality it took a while to sink in, but I cannot rest on my laurels and need to consolidate at what is the team's home track this weekend.

"The five races to the Showdown will be tough and the plan is to be consistent and secure top-six finishes.

"It would be a dream to get both Hondas into the Showdown and a reward for everyone who has worked so hard in the team.

"Cadwell is a difficult track with its famous Mountain and for being narrow with little room for error.

"It's a track where you need to be sensible as it is very technical and physical, but I feel good, have a great team behind me and I'm looking forward to the weekend."

Reid's older brother Glenn starts his second meeting with Tyco BMW and will be expecting results well inside the top 10 as he gets to grips with the BMW machine after moving from the Quattro Kawasaki team.

Jack Kennedy has put daylight between himself and Alastair Seeley in the chase for the British Supersport Championship.

He is 47 points ahead of the EHA Yamaha rider, who is in third position, and 43 points ahead of his Integro Appleyard Yamaha team-mate Brad Jones, who is in second.

With 10 races remaining, Seeley needs to be upping the ante from here to the final round of the season, but Kennedy's record is consistent.

He has taken 11 race wins, one second place and two non-finishes from the 14 races to date.

Meanwhile, the seventh round of the AJ Plumbing Ulster Superbike Championship takes place at Bishopscourt tomorrow, hosted by the Bishopscourt Club, with Carl Phillips holding a handy 79-point advantage over Ali Kirk with Aaron Armstrong a further 68 points back in third.

Defending champion Gerard Kinghan is 155 points behind Phillips after problems with his IFS Yamaha, but a first, second and a third last time out should give the Randalstown rider encouragement that his luck has changed.

Christian Elkin, a Supertwin winner last week at Dundrod, leads the Supersport Championship by 14 points from Mark Conlin, despite not yet having won a race.

He will be looking to put that right, although Conlin, Jason Lynn and Mark Hanna will aim to claw back points.

Classic TT and Manx practice get under way tomorrow evening with all eyes on Michael Dunlop, as to whether he is fit to participate in the Classic TT Superbike class and the return to racing by Kiwi Bruce Anstey after his battle with cancer.

Belfast Telegraph

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