Challenging weekend for Honda at Oulton Park
It has been a challenging second round of the 2019 Bennetts British Superbike Championship for Honda’s trio at Oulton Park, with intermittent weather conditions hampering progress for Xavi Forés (BSB), Andrew Irwin (BSB) and Tom Neave (STK) aboard the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2.
Working through set-up proved difficult over the weekend at the undulating Cheshire circuit with various disruptions to the schedule and changeable weather. Race one took place in near-perfect conditions and was a stark contrast to the morning’s warm up, which greeted the riders with cold temperatures and a rain-soaked track.
Lining up on the grid Irwin was ahead of his teammate in 16th place, with Forés 26th, but as soon as the lights went out it wasn’t long before both Honda riders had made up places and set about hunting down the pack ahead. By half race distance Irwin had made up substantial places and the top ten was in sight. Deep in battle with Josh Elliott during the closing stages of the race, Irwin crossed the line 11th, missing out on tenth place by just 0.022 seconds. Forés also made good progress throughout the race distance and came home 16th.
For the second race of the day Irwin again pushed hard from his 13th place grid position and by the first lap had moved into 11th. Keeping consistent lap times throughout the race, he carved his way up the order to finish ninth, collecting further points towards the championship where he’s currently seventh. Forés also pushed on from his starting place of 23rd, moving through the pack he was sitting 15th at one point, but dropped back at the end to cross the line 17th.
In the National Superstock 1000 Championship Neave was also a victim to the weekend’s track disruptions, and before today’s race had only managed 36 flying laps. Conditions were declared wet for the shortened 14-lap race and Neave lined up 13th on the grid. Getting pushed back in the opening lap, he dug deep and started to make his move back up through the field. By lap six the Lincolnshire man had made his way to the top 10 and with consistent lap times he eventually crossed the line eighth. The results from the weekend see Neave hold his position in the overall championship standings where he’s sitting sixth with 26 points.
The team now look forward to the third round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship, which will be a triple-header event at Donington Park’s National Circuit on 24-26 May.
Oulton Park Circuit Statistics
2.69 miles (4.33km)
Lefthand : 6
Pole Position: Left
BSB Lap Record: Tommy Bridewell - 1:33.941 (2019)