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Irwin looking for an upturn in fortunes at ‘lucky’ Thruxton

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Andrew Irwin had a solid free practice in the BSB race. Credit: David Yeomans Photography

Andrew Irwin had a solid free practice in the BSB race. Credit: David Yeomans Photography

David Yeomans Photography

Andrew Irwin had a solid free practice in the BSB race. Credit: David Yeomans Photography

Carrickfergus man Andrew Irwin received a confidence boost going into today’s opening British Superbike race at Thruxton after a solid performance in free practice yesterday.

The Hampshire circuit, which returns to the calendar this year after missing out in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, holds fond memories for the 26-year-old, who clinched his maiden BSB victory at Thruxton in 2019.

Irwin has found the going tough so far this season after making the switch from Honda Racing to Northern Ireland’s SYNETIQ BMW team, but he is feeling confident he can turn his fortunes around this weekend.

Yesterday, Irwin was sixth overall on the combined time sheets after the opening free practice sessions were held in changeable conditions.

Lee Jackson led the way on the FS-3 Kawasaki from VisionTrack Ducati’s Christian Iddon, the championship leader, by half-a-second.

Irwin was 0.7s down on Jackson after the opening day but it was an encouraging start to the weekend for the Ulster rider, who admits he must improve and quick if he’s to have any chance of making the all-important top-eight Showdown.

The former World Supersport rider is 62 points adrift of the top eight after the first three rounds and Irwin is eager to close the deficit as soon as possible.

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“We are 62 points away from the Showdown now and if I don’t start to turn it around soon, then it will be difficult to make,” he said.

“I feel we are starting to go the right way ahead of the weekend.

“[Thruxton] is a track that I have been fast at in the previous times we have been there and generally I have been able to get the tyre to last in the past,” he added.

“In 2019, I won the race and was second in the other one, and it definitely feels like it is starting to come together and maybe just at the right time.”

His older brother Glenn is 11th in the standings and has plenty of work to do in qualifying today after he found himself languishing in 23rd place yesterday.

Irwin only managed three laps in FP2 before the session was red-flagged due to standing water on the track following heavy rain.

In the Supersport class, Lee Johnston was fifth fastest overall on the Ashcourt Racing Yamaha, with fellow Northern Ireland rider Korie McGreevy in seventh on the Mar-Train Racing Yamaha.

Young prospect Eunan McGlinchey, who earned his maiden podium finishes in the class last weekend at Brands Hatch, was 12th on the Gearlink Kawasaki.

The first of this weekend’s three BSB races is scheduled today at 4.15pm with the Supersport Sprint race due at 5pm.

Tomorrow’s BSB races are scheduled over 20 laps and will take place at 1.30pm and 4.30pm, with the Supersport Feature race at 3.40pm.


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