For the first time since his opening round hat-trick, Glenn Irwin was back on a Bennetts British Superbike Championship podium at the weekend with the Honda Racing rider taking third in the final race at Brands Hatch.
At a circuit, that’s proven to be difficult for the Honda Fireblade in the past, in Superbike trim at least, the Carrickfergus rider improved steadily over the course of the weekend and led for two thirds of the way before succumbing to the pressure from the Yamaha pairing of Tarran Mackenzie and Jason O’Halloran.
It made up for a disappointing Saturday where he could only manage 11th in qualifying before crashing out at just the second corner of the Sprint race. However, a superb ride in Sunday’s race when he came from 27th through to tenth gave a glimpse of what was to come in the third and final race of the weekend.
“I was really disappointed to make a mistake in race one and crash, especially on the first lap,” he admitted. “We came here with new ideas this weekend but turn two was where my race ended.”
It looked he’d go pointless in Sunday’s first race too when he, Peter Hickman and Danny Buchan were all pushed onto the grass at Graham Hill Bend after, ironically, brother Andrew crashed out.
However, while not noticed by many at the time, Irwin put in a storming ride to come from almost dead last to tenth for six hard, and well-earned points.
That ride would stand him in good stead in race three where he completed the first lap in third place and then led from laps three to 13.
Third was the ultimate outcome and it was vital to get back onto the podium after only recording two top six finishes since his Silverstone heroics.
“In Race 2 I was happy coming from 27th to finish tenth and I learnt some things from my teammate, Tom (Neave) as in some places he was better and I wanted to know why and compare what he was doing better than me.
“For the final race we worked on some data and it was a mega race! I gave it everything and was so committed going into turn one, I like the new tarmac and felt comfortable going round to make a move.
'When I took the lead it was a pleasant surprise, and after leading for a few laps I knew the Yamahas would be close behind so I tried everything I could from braking late, exiting corners quick - everything I could to make it not easy for them.
“When Jason passed me I made a mistake and then Taznalso came through, but it was almost a carrot dangling and something to chase to keep me ahead of Tommy [Bridewell] and Leon [Haslam]. The podium is a huge reward for the team at what's a tricky track for us, and we're leaving on a high.”
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