The Be Wiser Ducati team of Glenn and Andrew Irwin endured mixed fortunes at round four of theBennetts British Superbike Championship at Snetterton today with Glenn taking the best finish of the day with a close second place in the opening race to claim a valuable podium.
The Ulsterman unfortunately then got caught up in another rider’s accident in race two at the Norfolk track which denied him the opportunity of a second podium on the factory-backed Be Wiser Ducati Panigale R for Paul Bird’s Cumbrian team whilst younger brother Andrew claimed a best finish of tenth.
Starting from the front row of the grid for the opening 16-lap race, a good start by Glenn saw him immediately grab second place and there he remained until lap ten. With the fastest lap of the race, Irwin had been right behind pole setter Bradley Ray when the Suzuki rider crashed out.
That promoted Glenn into the lead, but he was eventually caught by Kawasaki rider Leon Haslam in the final third of the race. Try as he might, Glenn was unable to regain the lead, but second place was an extremely strong start to the day.
The Carrickfergus rider started race two from pole position although he slipped back to fourth on the opening lap. The race then settled down with just over a second covering the top five but by half race distance, Glenn had moved back up into fourth after overtaking Jake Dixon. However, shortly afterwards, Glenn’s race ended after Ray crashed out and took him down as well.
For team-mate Andrew, also from Carrickfergus, the opening race was very much a baptism of fire and, unfortunately, he only got as far as the second corner when he crashed out escaping injury, but collected Michael Laverty, Dan Linfoot and Jason O’Halloran in the ensuing melee.
It meant he had to start the second race from the back of the grid, but he quickly moved up to 12th. By that time, however, the riders ahead of him had opened up a sizeable gap but with Glenn and Bradley Ray crashing out, he eventually crossed the line in tenth place for his first BSB points.
Glenn Irwin: “Most riders opted for the softer rear tyre in the first race, but Bradley was setting a fast pace, so I felt that I had to go with him although he crashed out, it meant I didn’t quite have as much grip left at the end of the race compared to Leon. I tried to respond when he came by but although the Ducati’s good on the tyres, I need to learn how to manage them towards the end of the race although second place was a good way to start the day. I learned a lot in the race and in the second race, I felt really comfortable and could see everyone was using more of the tyre than I was. I felt sure our first race win of 2018 would be coming our way but, unfortunately, Bradley made a mistake and we both ended up crashing out. It’s extremely frustrating to be taken out by someone else’s mistake but we’ve proved we were competitive today and the team have done a great job.”
Andrew Irwin: “It’s been a contrasting day and what had been a really good weekend got interruptedby the first race crash which was my mistake and something I immediately apologised for. Tenth place in the second race made up for it and although it was maybe a lucky top ten, you must finish races to score points. I’m really looking forward to Knockhill now and feel that I’m ready to make the next step. Finishing the weekend strongly is very positive so we can hopefully carry the momentum on to the next round and with a full race distance now under my belt, I know what BSB is like and where I can improve. My fitness isn’t in doubt, but I need to increase my strength as muscling a Superbike around is very different to a 600!”
Johnny Mowatt, Team Coordinator: “It’s been a mixed bag for both riders today, but Glenn obviously put in a great ride in race one and was looking on course for more of the same in race two until Bradley crashed out which was a great shame but a racing incident. Andrew made a rookie mistake in race one and it’s something that’s happened before and will happen again in the future. He underestimated the bike with a full tank of fuel and had no choice but to lay the bike down so we’re sorry that three other riders were involved. He put together a solid ride in race two and a top ten finish was very pleasing so full credit to him. We gathered plenty of data and it gives him a good platform to build on.”
Bennetts British Superbike Championship race one (16 laps)
1 Leon Haslam (Kawasaki)
2 Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati)
3 Jake Dixon (Kawasaki)
4 Josh Brookes (Yamaha)
5 Danny Buchan (Kawasaki)
6 Tarran Mackenzie (Yamaha)
DNF Andrew Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati)
Bennetts British Superbike Championship race two (16 laps)
1 Leon Haslam (Kawasaki)
2 Jake Dixon (Kawasaki)
3 Josh Brookes (Yamaha)
4 Dan Linfoot (Honda)
5 Danny Buchan (Kawasaki)
6 Peter Hickman (BMW)
10 Andrew Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati)
DNF Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati)
Championship Standings (after four rounds)
1 Haslam 165pts
2 Ray 101
3 Byrne 98
4 Dixon 91
5 G Irwin 79
6 Brookes 72
21 A Irwin 6
Images courtesy of Double Red Photographic: Glenn Irwin (2) and Andrew Irwin (18)