This weekend for the eighth round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship, Honda Racing UK’s Glenn Irwin returned to the top step of the podium aboard the CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP after a dramatic opening race at Silverstone’s National Circuit.
Building up to the first Superbike race of the weekend Glenn was showing good pace and wrapped up combined practice sixth fastest promoting him straight into the second stage of qualifying. Qualifying fifth, Glenn started the race from the second row of the grid and stayed with the leading group during the first few laps. An incident with Takumi Takahashi brought out the safety car at the start of lap three, where Glenn’s teammate was involved in an incident with Keith Farmer at Copse.
As the race resumed Glenn pushed hard and was soon sitting in podium contention in second place. A move from Tarran Mackenzie saw Glenn drop back to third place, where he was having to defend challenges from a chasing Christian Iddon. On the penultimate lap Tarran and Jason O’Halloran crashed out, and with a clear track ahead Glenn took the race lead. However, soon after the crash the race was red flagged with Glenn declared as the Race 1 winner.
Sunday’s two Superbike races saw the Honda-man finish 13th and ninth, which was enough to secure his place in the Showdown. Glenn is sitting seventh overall, out of the eight ‘Title Fighter’s with just three rounds and nine races remaining of the 2021 season.
Glenn’s teammate Ryo Mizuno got his Silverstone challenge off to a solid start getting into Saturday’s Q2 session for the first time this season. With his quickest qualifying lap of 53.570s, Ryo took his best qualifying position this season in 12th place. Enjoying the race and some on-track battles Ryo crossed the line 12th, collecting more valuable season points and also his best race finish of 2021. During Sunday’s races the BSB rookie wasn’t able to improve on his 12th place, finishing Race 2 just outside the points in 16th and Race 3 15th.
Following the incident in Race 1, Takumi Takahashi didn’t have a good start in Race 2, and suffering slightly from the crash wasn’t able to fully push and finished 22nd, with his luck not getting any better in the final race when he was forced to retire due to a technical issue.
Meanwhile the teams’ Pirelli National Superstock Championship contender Tom Neave had an impressive ride in his opening race, having qualified down the field in 16th place, Tom make an incredible 11 places on his Fireblade machine to cross the line fifth, as well as setting the fastest lap time to put him on Pole for Sunday’s second race. Starting from Pole Position, Tom kept the chasing pack at bay for the majority of the race, but it was during the final stages where Alex Olsen was able to catch him. With Tom quicker in some sections and Alex in others, it was a tense battle to the line with Tom taking the runner-up spot 0.326s behind Alex. The results from the weekend see Tom retain his championship lead by 22 points.
The Honda Racing UK team now has a two week break, before the championship resumes with Round 9 at Oulton Park on 24-26 September.
Glenn Irwin #2 – Race 1: 1st | Race 2: 13th | Race 3: 9th
“A place in the Showdown was the goal coming into this weekend, I didn’t think we would get a race win with the form of Yamaha and Suzuki from the past two seasons here, so to tick that off in Race 1 was amazing. In Race 2 we tried something with the bike and today was a day we could slightly get away with it with the points buffer, so it wasn’t too detrimental to us, but it set us up for a nervy last race! I was riding round calculating the points, and ‘if I crashed out now would I still have a place in the Showdown’. Today has been an enjoyable day, the Fireblade in Race 3 was a big step from the bike we had in Race 2 set-up wise. To make the Showdown, and go into it with some podium credits, considering we had a difficult start to the season technically, and with an injury, it hadn’t been the smoothest of starts this year, but we made it into the Showdown! “
Ryo Mizuno #88 Race 1: 12th | Race 2: 16th | Race 3: 15th
“It was a very satisfying weekend. Thanks to the team staff, I think I was able to ride the best I could. This was my favourite track and I had a good run from FP1. In Race 2 we had a little trouble and I couldn’t improve my pace, but by Race 3 I was able to improve and do my best riding. I would like to thank the team for their hard work. I’m looking forward to the next round at Oulton Park and hopefully we can make the continue to score points!”
Takumi Takahashi #13 – Race 1: DNF | Race 2: 22nd | Race 3: DNS
“In Race 2 I made a bad start and it was a disappointing end to the race as I was unable to attack some of the corners due to my crash in Saturday’s race. In Race 3 I was able to ride for a few laps without any strange feeling, but then I had a problem at the end of the fourth lap. It has been a difficult race weekend for us. I will continue to prepare for next round at Oulton Park.”
Tom Neave #68 – Race 1: 5th | Race 2: 2nd
“It’s been a bit of a tricky weekend and not really the weekend I anticipated. There was 50 points up for grabs this weekend and we’ve not had a win and we’ve only lost two points of our championship lead, so really in the grand scheme of things we’re in a really good position. We salvaged solid points and we’ve kept focus all weekend, if a bad weekend is only losing two points then we’ve done a good job! There’s still a long way to go, and I feel sometimes it’s important to have a testing weekend to keep us on our toes, keep focused and motivated. A massive thank you to the team and everyone supporting me!”