The ups and downs of motorcycle racing were clearly demonstrated to Glenn Irwin at the weekend as the Honda Racing rider went from the euphoria of success at the North West 200 to scoring just 11 points at round three of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Donington Park.
The Carrickfergus man found luck in scarce supply at the Leicestershire venue where, despite strong race pace which promised plenty, a broken footpeg in race two and then a spill in race three, when he had to take avoiding action after Leon Haslam crashed in front of him, left him pointless on Sunday. Fifth in Saturday’s opener was all he had to show for his efforts, when he certainly deserved more.
“I knew I had to make a good start in Saturday’s race and I wanted to get in with the three boys at the front, which I managed to do working my way up to third at one stage,” he said. “All weekend we've struggled a little with the front end though and I think I could have used my experience to point the guys in the direction to help with front end entry.”
“Saturday’s race highlighted where we were struggling but that being said I scored 11 points and to come here after the two wins at the North West 200 and have a fifth in the first race back at BSB was pleasing.”
The fifth place gave him plenty to build on and plenty of optimism as he looked to get back on the podium for the first time since his hat-trick of wins at round one. Indeed, he was well positioned in each race to score good points and, potentially, take more podium credits as he ran with the leading pack. Instead, a crash and a retirement was the outcome.
“Sunday was a day of two halves really,” he said “I felt good in race two and I could see a few riders ahead dropping back and I was getting closer, but we were so unlucky to have a footpeg break. In the last race, I had a bad start, but had quite an aggressive first lap, I made moves but also had moves put on me. I started to settle in and I looked to pass Leon into turn one, and in hindsight I should have made the move, as he had a massive highside in front of me.”
“I'm glad he's OK and walked away from it, but I was caught up in it, having to swerve to take avoiding action and thankfully thanks to my kit there's no scratches on me. I'm a little hurt we didn't get good points as I feel it could have been a weekend of three top fives or a podium, but I'm pleased with the progress we made.”
Since taking a hat-trick at round one, the fifth place in Donington’s first race has been Irwin’s best result and he’s dropped back to sixth in the title standings. He’ll be looking to get his challenge back on track when the series resumes at Knockhill next month with his much anticipated Isle of Man TT debut sandwiched in between.