Frustrations at Brands Hatch for Honda
It has been a challenging weekend for the Honda team at Brands Hatch for the fourth round of the 2019 Bennetts British Superbike Championship, but the team with riders Xavi Forés (BSB), Andrew Irwin (BSB) and Tom Neave (STK) are taking away the positives, which saw all riders claim further valuable points in their respective championships aboard the CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2.
The first Superbike race of the day was a gamble for all teams as the 2.4-mile circuit was drenched from earlier rainfall, but as the bikes went to the grid the sun was shining for the 20-lap race. The Honda-duo got a fantastic start off the line and made up places from their starting positions (Irwin 13th / Forés 19th).
By the end of the first lap Irwin was in the top-10 and had set about chasing down the group ahead for sixth place. Over the remainder of the race Irwin enjoyed good battles on-track with his BSB rivals and at one point had made his way into sixth, however a mistake by the Irishman saw him drop back behind the group to eventually cross the line ninth. Over the race distance the track was drying and teammate Forés made progress aboard the Fireblade, picking off the riders ahead throughout the changing conditions to finish 14th.
The second race of the day was held in stark contrast to Race 1 with sunshine and a dry track on the cards. Forés had a flying start off the line and made his way from 16th to 11th by the first corner catching teammate Irwin. The Honda pairing were then in the same group on-track throughout the race as they fought to break into the top-10. Bringing the Fireblades home Irwin was 12th with Forés hot on his heels in 13th place. The results from the weekend see Forés maintain sixth place in the overall standings, with Irwin dropping down to ninth place.
Meanwhile Tom Neave also had a mixed outing in the National Superstock 1000 Championship, which had three races across the weekend. Yesterday’s two-part 100 miler saw the Lincolnshire lad finish race one in 13th place, but crashed out of the second instalment after making his way through to the pack into eighth, after another rider fell in front of him leaving him with nowhere to go. Frustrated but thankfully unhurt from the fall, Neave went into today’s 16-lap race with the bit between his teeth. Getting a good launch off the line he quickly started to carve his way through the pack and brought the Fireblade home in sixth place. Neave is currently sixth overall in the Superstock standings with 51.5 points.
Round 5 of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship takes place in two weeks time as the series travels North of the Border to Knockhill, in Scotland on 28/29/30 June.
Brands Hatch GP Circuit Statistics
2.4 miles (3.9km)
Pole Position: Left
BSB Lap Record: Josh Brookes - 1:24.873 (2017)