Andrew Irwin claims maiden BSB win returning Honda to the top
Round seven of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Thruxton has been a fairytale weekend for Honda Racing’s Andrew Irwin, who claimed his maiden BSB victory in Race 1, to then follow it up with a second place finish in Race 2. Irwin’s visit to the top step is Honda’s first win in the championship since 2017 with the CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2.
With blistering pace all weekend at the super-fast Hampshire circuit the 24 year-old became the sixth different race winner and Honda the fifth manufacturer to win so far this season. Starting the first race of the day in fifth place, Irwin charged off the line and was into the leading group from the first corner. Setting the fastest time of the 20-lap race on the third lap, the Irishman held his pace and the battle for the top step commenced.
The BSB fans were treated to an action packed race as the leading group traded places for the podium spots. Irwin made his move and jumped into the lead on lap 18, where he was able to defend his position with the Fireblade, crossing the line 0.223 seconds ahead of a chasing Scott Redding, to claim his first-ever BSB podium and race win.
Irwin started the second race from pole position, but after two restarts due to rain and then track contamination the race was an eight-lap sprint, which certainly didn’t disappoint. Restarting from fifth position, Irwin again went straight to the front and the podium battle was in full swing. With places swapped at each corner, the Honda-man stood his ground with the Fireblade and went onto claim second place after a nail-biting battle.
Forés also enjoyed a strong weekend as he made his debut at the 2.3-mile circuit, improving throughout each session and showing good pace aboard the Fireblade. Forés wrapped up the Thruxton weekend with two seventh place finishes, as well as scoring the third fastest lap in the second race. The Honda duo have now swapped places inside the Showdown-six with Irwin jumping into the sixth place spot and is just five points behind Tarran Mackenzie in fifth. Forés is close behind in seventh place with 132 points.
Over on the Superstock 1000 side of the garage, Tom Neave enjoyed another building weekend as he continues to secure vital points towards his championship. Showing good pace with the Superstock Fireblade machine, Neave pushed hard to comeback during his 16-lap race where he started from 14th, to take the chequered flag seventh. Neave’s results from the weekend see him maintain sixth in the overall championship with 92.5 points.
The Honda team will now look forward to its home round, where the eighth round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship takes place at Cadwell Park on 16/17/18 August.
Thruxton Circuit Statistics
2.3 miles (3.8km)
Pole Position: Right
BSB Lap Record: Josh Brookes - 1:14.884 (2015)