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Silverstone BSB: Irwin ‘learnt a lot’ in unexpected weekend

When Glenn Irwin crashed in testing in Spain last month, and the full catalogue of his injuries came to light, few would have expected him to walk away from the opening round of the British Superbike Championship at Silverstone with all three winner’s trophies – least of all the rider himself.

But that’s exactly what the Honda Racing rider did with, arguably, his three finest rides in the class since making his debut in 2016. The Carrickfergus rider had never done a double on a BSB race weekend before let alone a treble and in doing so became just the ninth rider to achieve the feat. And all achieved after suffering multiple injuries in the testing crash including concussion, fractured vertebrae and pelvis.

“Coming into the weekend, things were a bit difficult to say the least and we weren’t able to show our pace in testing,” the now 32-year old said. “With everything that has gone on, Saturday was the first time I was able to do a race run and I learnt a lot in qualifying and where to find the grip, also adapting how I was working the throttle in order to be smoother.


The net result was a start to finish victory in the opening race although many were quick to point out he’d won on the 1.64-mile National circuit in 2021. However, when he came through from fourth on the opening lap of Sunday’s first race to make it two from two, holding off Kyle Ryde on the final lap, it was clear he was riding better than ever.

“Saturday was when it started to come good but you can never make predictions in this championship and I learnt a lot in Sunday’s first race by sitting behind the other three boys. The bike was running slightly wide under braking when I released the front brake and whilst it might look good it’s not the best way of getting round the corner as it gives the rider behind you a sniff.

“That’s what happened on the final lap when Kyle came up the inside but he could have been a lot harder so it was fair and clean and there was a lot of respect between the two of us. The wind at turn one was affecting us a bit more and whilst the idea before was to save the tyre, there was no chance to do that as it was 30 qualifying laps.”

The final race of the weekend later in the day followed a similar pattern and once he took the lead on the sixth lap, he never looked back. At one stage, his lead was 1.2s – a considerable margin on a 53s lap – and duly completed the treble for a dream weekend in Northamptonshire.

“Never in a million years did I think I’d be walking away with three wins at round one after the testing crash in Spain,” Irwin admitted. “The final race was challenging as there wasn’t as much grip out there and the track wasn’t as fast. It was tough leading from the front as I knew Bradley (Ray) would be pushing but I was still able to 53.7s laps at the end despite having no edge grip whatsoever.

“Three wins in a weekend don’t come around very often so we’ll enjoy these wins and have a beer tonight. The team had a lot going on in the garage this weekend so the wins are for them.”

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