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Silverstone BSB: Heroic race one victory for Irwin

Honda’s Glenn Irwin grabbed the opening victory of the 2022 Bennetts British Superbike Championship just six weeks after dramatic injuries looked to curtail his season.

Irwin secured the win leading from pole to flag despite running under pressure for the whole 24 laps from the Rich Energy OMG Racing Yamaha pairing of Kyle Ryde and Bradley Ray. The Northern Irishman having suffered multiple injuries, including fractured vertebrae and pelvis, in a preseason test accident in Spain less than two months ago.

Irwin grabbed the lead on the opening lap and led Ryde, Ray, Rory Skinner (FS-3 Racing Kawasaki), Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) and Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Products Ducati) with Leon Haslam dropping back to tenth on the VisionTrack Kawasaki and Tom Sykes (MCE Ducati) holding station in 12th.


At the front, the front three soon began to open up a small gap over the rest of the field with Irwin himself opening up a lead of four-tenths of a second over Ryde. At the start of lap six though, Ray overhauled his teammate for second place with Skinner in fourth trying to bridge the gap. Haslam was out though with a technical issue.

By lap seven, the leading trio had become a leading quartet with Skinner now on the back wheel of Ryde whilst O’Halloran remained in fifth albeit under strong pressure from Christian Iddon, Andrew Irwin and his Synetiq BMW teammate Danny Buchan.

Irwin continued to set the pace at the head of the field with Ray still in second and by lap ten they’d pulled a small gap over Ryde with Skinner dropping back slightly in fourth. Iddon had moved up to fifth ahead of O’Halloran, Andrew Irwin and Bridewell.

At half race distance, Irwin, Ray and Ryde had a one second gap over Skinner, Ryde having set a new lap record of 53.171s but Dan Linfoot, who was running in tenth place, was forced to retire on the iForce BMW.

By lap 16, Irwin had eked out a 0.515s advantage over Ray, a lap later this had become 0.7s and it was now Ryde up into second having overhauled his teammate. Skinner, meanwhile, looked secure in fourth with O’Halloran having got back into fifth.

With four laps to go, Ryde had reeled Irwin back in and any three of the leading riders were in a position to win, with less than half a second now between them. That had become two-tenths coming into the final lap but Ray had to back off through Woodcote after almost running into the back of Ryde.

Irwin was able to resist to resist all challenges and never really gave the Yamaha riders an opportunity to overtake and he repeated his Silverstone victory from last year, his winning margin over Ryde 0.139s with Ray a further tenth behind in third.

Skinner took a strong fourth, a second and a half clear of O’Halloran with Andrew Irwin completing his good ride in sixth. Bridewell, Iddon, Jackson and Buchan completed the top ten with Sykes and Brookes in 12th and 13th respectively.

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