Glenn Irwin held on for victory in Race 2 of the 2023 British Superbike Championship finale at Brands Hatch to whittle the gap to leader Tommy Bridewell to just 5.5 points ahead of a tantalising final race showdown at Brands Hatch.
Irwin led from the second corner and was never headed thereafter, the Ulsterman going on to take his ninth win of the season and, more importantly, eat into BeerMonster Ducati team-mate Bridewell's overall lead and take their fight down to the wire.
The Devizes rider chased Irwin home in second to limit the damage to his advantage, one that affords him the opportunity to finish directly behind his team-mate in Race 3 without giving away the title.
Kyle Ryde (LAMI OMG Racing Yamaha) battled it out for victory with the Ducati pair until a mistake consigned him to third at the flag. While he remains the only other rider with a mathematical chance of this year's title, he remains an outside bet some 30 points adrift and only a maximum of 35 up for grabs in this afternoon's finale.
From the off, Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) started from pole, and he led into Paddock Hill, but Irwin wasted no time in going to the front and dived up the inside at Druids, Ryde following him by O’Halloran soon afterwards. Bridewell had dropped back slightly though to sixth.
The running order after the first lap was Irwin, Ryde, O’Halloran, Christian Iddon (Oxford Products Racing Ducati), Leon Haslam (ROKiT BMW Motorrad Team) and Bridewell but next time around championship leader Bridewell moved ahead of both Iddon and Haslam to take over fourth and he immediately set about closing the gap to the front three.
With a lap of 1’25.770, he was soon on the back wheel of O’Halloran, but it was Irwin who continued to lead albeit just as Ryde and O’Halloran remained right in his wheel tracks, only half a second covering the front four after three laps.
O’Halloran briefly moved into second at the start of lap five only for Ryde to immediately reclaim the position, but the Australian wasn’t to be outdone and was back in second at Surtees with the front four opening a near second advantage over fifth placed Iddon.
The front four continued to run line astern on lap eight but Iddon was out having crashed on the exit of Druids and that brought out the safety car for a period of three laps, the race resuming on lap 11. When it did, the running order was Irwin, O’Halloran, Ryde, Bridewell, Haslam and Josh Brookes (FHO Racing BMW) but when it did, O’Halloran was soon out, crashing heavily on the way into Surtees, fortunately without injury.
That promoted Bridewell up to third and the front three soon had a small gap to new fourth-placed rider Brookes with Irwin, Ryde and Bridewell now separated by 0.390s as Bridewell again set the fastest lap of the race at 1’25.632.
Bridewell got up to second at Hawthorn on lap 13 only for Ryde to retake the position at the next bend, Westfield, whilst further back, Ryde’s team-mate Ryan Vickers was up to fourth ahead of Brookes and the impressive Max Cook (Cheshire Mouldings Kawasaki).
Irwin continued to lead but Bridewell was back into second at Paddock Hill at the start of lap 15 and Ryde ran wide at Druids a lap later to fall almost a second adrift with his chances of victory seemingly gone.
Bridewell was now shadowing Irwin as the race entered its closing stages but was either unable or unwilling to attempt an overtake and it was Irwin who got the verdict by 0.274s to take the title fight into the final race.
Ryde took third, just ahead of Vickers and four seconds back, it was Lee Jackson (Cheshire Mouldings Kawasaki) who came through for fifth ahead of Haslam, Cook, Brookes, Peter Hickman on the second FHO machine and Storm Stacey (Starline Racing Kawasaki).
Brands Hatch BSB | Race 2 Results
|2023 British Superbike Championship [BSB] | Brands Hatch | Race 2 Results | Round 11 of 11|
|1||Glenn Irwin||🇬🇧||BeerMonster PBM||Ducati Panigale V4||20 Laps|
|2||Tommy Bridewell||🇬🇧||BeerMonster PBM||Ducati Panigale V4||+0.274|
|3||Kyle Ryde||🇬🇧||LAMI OMG Racing||Yamaha R1||+1.132|
|4||Ryan Vickers||🇬🇧||LAMI OMG Racing||Yamaha R1||+1.668|
|5||Lee Jackson||🇬🇧||Cheshire Mouldings FS-3||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||+5.598|
|6||Leon Haslam||🇬🇧||ROKiT BMW Motorrad||BMW M 1000 RR||+5.674|
|7||Max Cook||🇬🇧||Cheshire Mouldings FS-3||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||+5.849|
|8||Josh Brookes||🇦🇺||FHO Racing||BMW M 1000 RR||+6.829|
|9||Peter Hickman||🇬🇧||FHO Racing||BMW M 1000 RR||+8.788|
|10||Storm Stacey||🇬🇧||Starline Racing||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||+10.489|
|11||Charlie Nesbitt||🇬🇧||MasterMac by Hawk||Honda CBR1000RR-R||+11.239|
|12||Tom Neave||🇬🇧||Honda Racing||Honda CBR1000RR-R||+12.821|
|13||Andrew Irwin||🇬🇧||Honda Racing||Honda CBR1000RR-R||+12.874|
|14||Jack Kennedy||🇮🇪||Mar-Train Racing||Yamaha R1||+13.616|
|15||Luke Mossey||🇬🇧||Tactix L1 Racing||BMW M 1000 RR||+14.737|
|16||Niccolo Canepa||🇮🇹||McAMS||Yamaha R1||+14.983|
|17||Bradley Perie||🇬🇧||VisionTrack Racng||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||+15.706|
|18||Franco Bourne||🇬🇧||Marvel HCL Racing||Honda CBR1000RR-R (P)||+19.716|
|19||Alex Olsen||🇬🇧||Cumins by Team IWR||Honda CBR1000RR-R (P)||+24.996|
|20||Brayden Elliott||🇦🇺||DAO Racing||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||+29.130|
|DNF||Louis Valleley||🇬🇧||Rapid CDH Racing||Kawasaki ZX-10RR|
|DNF||Jason O'Halloran||🇦🇺||McAMS||Yamaha R1|
|DNF||Christian Iddon||🇬🇧||Oxford Racing||Ducati Panigale V4|
|DNF||Jack Scott||🇬🇧||Rapid CDH Racing||Kawasaki ZX-10RR|
|DNF||Shaun Winfield||🇬🇧||TAG Racing||Honda CBR1000RR-R (P)|
|DNF||Davey Todd||🇬🇧||SYNETIQ BMW Motorrad||BMW M 1000 RR|
|DNF||Tom Booth-Amos||🇬🇧||TAG Racing||Honda CBR1000RR-R|
|DNF||Fraser Rogers||🇬🇧||IN Competition||Aprilia RSV4 (P)|