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Silverstone BSB: Irwin celebrates dream treble

Glenn Irwin completed a dream weekend on Sunday afternoon as he took the third Bennetts British Superbike Championship race win at Silverstone, the Honda Racing rider taking a clean sweep for the first time in his career to take an early lead in the Championship table.

Bradley Ray (Rich Energy OMG Racing Yamaha) bounced back from his earlier crash to take second, with Andrew Irwin joining his brother on the podium with third on the Synetiq BMW.
It was another tough race for Leon Haslam though as he finished 13th on the VisionTrack Kawasaki whilst the MCE Ducati pairing of Tom Sykes and Josh Brookes fared even worse in 16th and 18th.
Ray grabbed the holeshot but Rory Skinner (FS-3 Racing Kawasaki) took the lead at Becketts and although Irwin went up the inside at Brooklands, he immediately ran wide and that gave the lead back to the Kawasaki man. He led over the line with Andrew Irwin in third and then Kyle Ryde, Ray and Tommy Bridewell.
Second time around, the top three remained the same but Ray was up to fourth ahead of Bridewell (Oxford Products Ducati) and Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) with Ryde slipping back to seventh. Ray briefly got up to third but the BMW of Andrew Irwin re-took the position on lap four.
Brother Glenn had also taken over at the head of the field and he led Skinner by a tenth of a second at the end of the fifth lap although it was an Irwin one-two soon afterwards with Andrew pushing Skinner back to third at Becketts. O’Halloran was also on the move and he now sat in fourth.
By lap ten, one thirds race distance, the running order was Glenn Irwin, Andrew Irwin, O’Halloran, Skinner, Bridewell – who admitted to making a ‘bold’ set up change prior to the race – and Ray. Ryde was back to eighth with the three expected front runners Sykes, Haslam and Brookes occupying 12th-14th.  
Glenn’s lead was now close to a second as he looked to make the break but the battle for second continued to rage with O’Halloran constantly looking for a way by Andrew Irwin. Ray had also pushed Bridewell back a place to sixth whilst Ryde had slipped back further to tenth.
Lap 15, half race distance, and Ray took over third at the expense of O’Halloran whilst Irwin’s lead had come down slightly to 0.7s. Danny Buchan on the second Synetiq machine now also part of the six-rider group battling for second.
A moment for Ray two laps later saw him out of the saddle before Luffield and a lap later O’Halloran hit the side of Buchan as the battle hotted up. That broke the group up slightly with Andrew Irwin and Ray now half a second clear of fourth but the latter had another moment coming onto the start and finish straight although he retained his position.
With ten laps to go, Glenn Irwin’s lead was a healthy 1.2s over his brother with Ray, Buchan, Skinner, O’Halloran, Bridewell and Jackson in hot pursuit. Lap 23 saw a change though as Ray grabbed second.
Irwin wasn’t to be denied his hat-trick and ran out a comfortable winner with Ray equally comfortable in second but the fight for third went all the way to the end. The final podium position eventually going the way of Andrew Irwin from Skinner, O’Halloran, Buchan and Bridewell.
Jackson, Peter Hickman and Ryde completed the top ten with Haslam 13th and the two MCE Ducati’s out of the points, Sykes in 16th and Brookes 18th.

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