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Will Paul Bird Motorsport defend its BSB title with Glenn Irwin in 2024?

Impact Images

With 27 riders now confirmed, the 2024 British Superbike Championship grid is already fit to bursting both in terms of quality and quantity but to date remains conspicuous in the absence of its reigning championship winning team, Paul Bird Motorsport.

With little more than a month to go before BSB heads to mainland Europe for an inaugural visit to Navarra to raise the curtains on another season, PBM is yet to reveal whether it will be present and correct in Spain.

It’s an omission that tallies with another glaring absentee in Glenn Irwin, the Ulsterman having been on the agonising wrong-side of a scant 0.5-point margin separating himself and title-winning team-mate Tommy Bridewell.


It’s a coincidence that hasn’t gone amiss with rumours that Irwin and PBM will team up again for a tilt at the 2024 BSB crown… but with not even a peep emerging from PBM over the winter, will it be a positive or negative outcome for rider, team and fans?

Glenn Irwin, BeerMonster Ducati, Ducati Panigale V4 R, 2023 BSB, Cadwell Park, portrait, podium, celebration [credit - Tim Keeton Impact Images]

Will PBM, Ducati and Irwin be on the 2024 BSB grid?

Officially, the answer is: “Maybe…”

Unofficially, the answer - based on what BSN has learned - is: “The signs are good…”

Strictly speaking, sources close to BSN have been careful to avoid the affirmative… but what they have disclosed is certainly closer to a yes than a no.

A call from PBM over whether it will make the grid in 2024 was always likely to be a late one. The sudden death of its founder and boss Paul Bird in September 2023 has necessitated a re-organisation of the team in his wake, the most significant being a decision to move its Penrith base in Langwathby - close to the family’s Frank Bird Poultry business - to Preston, where it will operate alongside Frank Wrathall’s FW Developments Engine Tuning workshop.

In the meantime, a drip-feed of telling social media updates from various people associated with PBM - including Paul’s daughter and new team manager, Jordan - in recent weeks have hinted towards a plan to race in BSB this year.

You can also read between the lines on a handful of Irwin’s posts too, even if they have been somewhat thin on the ground recently.

Forward-facing announcements, such as the confirmation of a new supply deal with RST for 2024 suggest plans are afoot.


Either way, Irwin’s patience as seats filled up around him would suggest he is either very confident that PBM will put a package together for him, or he can afford to relax with something rather more concrete already signed and sealed in his back pocket for now.

It won’t be entirely business as usual for PBM, however, with all signs pointing towards it slimming to just a single-rider entry for at least this year, while it isn’t clear whether its fresh from the source Ducati supply will - thanks to Paul’s close ties with the Borgo Panigale marque’s top brass - come direct from the source in Italy as in recent years.

Should Irwin and PBM go ahead and throw its helmet into the ring for 2024, it will ensure at least eight of the last season’s top ten riders will be back to tussle it out on British (and Spanish) soil once again, the exceptions being the as-yet-unconfirmed Leon Haslam (ROKiT BMW) and British Supersport-bound Jack Kennedy.

It remains to be seen whether PBM will stretch towards an outing at the 2024 North West 200, where Irwin would attempt to extend his unbroken streak of eight wins on the 8.9-mile road course.

While the BSB title remains elusive for Irwin, he has now finished inside the top four (twice runner-up) in four of the last six seasons. To date, he has achieved 16 wins since his debut in 2016.

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