Despite a challenging weekend at round eight of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship for the Lake District-based Be Wiser Ducati Racing Team, Glenn Irwin managed to record a fourth and fifth place finish at Cadwell Park today to move back up to third overall in the race for the title.
Fourth on the grid for the first 18-lap encounter, the Ulsterman was soon up to third as the leading pack of five riders circulated nose to tail around the demanding 2.1-mile Lincolnshire venue. A safety car period allowed the entire field to bunch up but when the racing resumed it was the same five riders that disputed the podium positions. It looked like the Carrickfergus rider would claim the final podium position but, on the final lap, Jake Dixon squeezed by at the hairpin to push him back to fourth place.
Starting the second race from row two once more aboard Paul Bird’s factory-supported Be Wiser Ducati Panigale R, the 28 year old held station for the opening few laps before he was relegated to fifth, although it remained close as five riders battled for the leading positions. Despite his best efforts and despite a painful shoulder injury sustained during Free Practice on Friday, fifth place was another solid result and with some of his main rivals struggling for results, it helped him move back into third overall in the table.
After qualifying in 16th place for the opening race, there was disappointment for team-mate and younger brother Andrew when a technical issue on the Be Wiser Ducati Panigale R on the out lap meant he was unable to take his place on the grid. Subsequently, he had to start the second encounter from 24th place and the very back row of the grid but he made a superb start and was climbing the leaderboard when in 13th place on lap seven, he crashed out at Charlies bringing his weekend to an unhappy end.
Glenn Irwin: “The two races were tough today but given where I was on Friday morning with the injury, I’m reasonably pleased with fourth and fifth. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to stay in the mix for the entire race distance, but I was able to do that although I threw away the podium in race one when I left the door open on the last lap. I was struggling a bit with my shoulder for the last few laps, but it was my own mistake that cost me third place. In race two I gave it my best, but I felt very weak from about mid-race distance. I tried everything I could to improve my position, but I had to settle for fifth and so apologies to the team as it was a silly crash on Friday and one that cost us a good chance of a podium this weekend.”
Andrew Irwin: “Nothing’s really gone right for me this weekend and it certainly hasn’t panned out how we wanted. The technical issue in race one was just one of those things, so I was determined to make up for it in race two and had climbed inside the points in the first few laps which was pleasing. I wanted to push on as I felt I had the pace to get into the top ten but, unfortunately, I made a mistake and crashed out. The weekend wasn’t up to standard so apologies to the team and I’ll hit the reset button now and look forward to Silverstone, a circuit which should suit both the bike and myself.”
Johnny Mowatt, Team Co-ordinator: “We’ve been on the back foot with Glenn ever since his crash on Friday but fourth in race one, just one second off the race win was more than a commendable effort and it gave us something to build on for race two. However, the more laps he did, the more fatigued he got so it became a damage limitation exercise. Two top five finishes aren’t too bad though and he’s edged ever closer to confirming his Showdown position. Andrew, unfortunately, had a weekend to forget although some of what went wrong was out of his control. He was making good progress in race two until his crash, so we’ll use the next few weeks to regroup back at base and work out a plan for the triple header at Silverstone.”