After taking victory at the previous round at Silverstone, which helped put him into the Showdown, Glenn Irwin lost considerable ground at Oulton Park in the battle for this year’s British Superbike Championship with a spill and his on-going shoulder injury limiting him to just 17 points across the three races.
The weekend had started solidly enough for the Honda Racing rider with an eighth in the opening race on Saturday, despite losing time when Ryan Vickers crashed in front of the amiable Ulsterman.
“The race itself wasn’t horrendous, but there was a bit of drama on the first lap with Ryan’s crash, but once we got going, I felt good,” said Irwin
“I don’t like to be happy with eighth, but I was happy as I feel that it was a really strong race on the Honda. We learnt a lot as we got to ride with the likes of Hickman [Peter] and Buchan [Danny], who both have very good track records at Oulton so I got to see where we were strong and also where we needed to improve by following them.”
Sunday saw him lose the most ground in the championship though with a crash in the opening race, when he was coming through the pack after starting from the back of the grid, hurting him both physically and in the points table.
He bounced back to take a solid seventh in the final race of the weekend, after a good battle with his brother Andrew, but now lies in eighth place overall, some 64 points behind Tarran Mackenzie.
“Physically for me it’s been a really tough day. The crash in race two was a little knock to the shoulder and I didn’t think it was too bad until I put my leathers on for the third race.
“I’m pleased with our pace this weekend though. It’s one of our weaker tracks, but we’ve definitely made progress and learnt this weekend. The crash was frustrating but we had a good pace in the race and backed that up in the final race.
“The fight with Andrew was good fun and I enjoyed the last few laps. It wasn’t about how fast I could go, but it was about how defensive I could be to stop one of the most aggressive riders in the paddock getting past me!”
Irwin won’t be giving up just yet though with the series returning to the Donington Park GP circuit where he was on the podium last year. The venue has been kind to Irwin and Honda in the past so if it is again, he could well regain some of the lost ground to ensure he goes to the final round at Brands next month still in contention.