Irwin takes two wins, Bridewell extends BSB lead at Knockhill

Tommy Bridewell left Knockhill after the fourth round of the British Superbikes season with a slightly bigger championship advantage than he arrived with.

Heading into the weekend he held a slender three-point lead over teammate Glenn Irwin in the standings, but following a strong outing on the Fife-based circuit with two fourth-placed finishes and a second-place finish to his name gave him an eight-point lead going to Snetterton at the beginning of July.

But it’s no longer Irwin that follows him – Kyle Ryde is the man now settled in behind the current championship leader, and that’s thanks to an Irwin crash on the second race of the weekend.

Leading the pack with just three laps to go, Irwin looked set to take his second victory of the weekend following a victory on Saturday’s sprint race.

But that all unravelled in the blink of an eye when the Northern Irishman crashed at the Hairpin, promoting Ryde into first to take his fourth victory of the year.

However, Irwin bounced back in fine form come the final race of the weekend to take victory and wrap up BSB’s visit to Scotland.

The BeerMonster Ducati rider had to work for it however and benefitted from a Jason O’Halloran crash – the Yamaha rider had been locked in a battle with Christian Iddon from the beginning of the race, but it was a disappointing end to the weekend for the Australian whose final race of the weekend ended prematurely.

Irwin – promoted up a position thanks to O’Halloran’s crash – eventually made his way past Ryde on lap 10 of the race and quickly set about catching teammate Bridewell for the lead.

He had to remain patient, and eight laps later he pulled the trigger into the first corner, which was all he needed to do as he held off any pressure from behind there on to take the win.

With a second victory wrapped up from the weekend’s action, it was a question of what could have been for Irwin had he not suffered his race two crash.”

It’s a shame what happened in today’s first race as I could have been coming away with a hat-trick but I’m happy with the two wins we had, and I really enjoyed the final race,” he told Paul Bird Motorsport.

“I could see Tommy in the lead and knew when it was time to up the pace as whilst he was strong in some areas, I felt strong all around the circuit.

“He’s improved his braking into the Hairpin all weekend, but the BeerMonster Ducati was strong out of the Hairpin, and I was able to make my move along the straight and into the first corner.

“Two wins out of three means it’s been a pretty good weekend.”

Find the standings after Round 4 here.

Feature Image Credit: @OfficialBSB on Twitter 

Honda Racing UK confirms Andrew Irwin and Tom Neave for 2023 British Superbikes

Honda Racing UK have announced the signing of Andrew Irwin alongside retaining former National Superstock 1000 champion, Tom Neave for their 2023 British Superbike campaign.

Andrew Irwin – Honda Racing UK – Source @AndrewIrwin8 Twitter

After a difficult couple of seasons with the Synetiq BMW squad during the 2021 and 2022 seasons, Irwin has decided a move back to familiar territory is on the cards in a renewed push for championship gold and glory. In his previous tenure as a Honda Racing UK rider, 2019/2020, Irwin took no less than 4 wins and finished his best year in 6th position overall in 2020.

Compared to his stint on the BMW M1000RR, where the team have struggled with both riders to get the bikes into a strong operating window, Irwin has produced zero wins and a best overall finish of 13th position in the championship. It’s little wonder the availability of a CBR1000RR-R SP Fireblade vacated by brother, Glenn Irwin, after he announced his signing with MCE Ducati for 2023, was enough to sway the Northern Irishman’s choice to return to a familiar team, on a bike that has won races as recently as the final round of 2022.

Andrew Irwin and Tom Neave – Honda Racing UK

Alongside the Andrew Irwin announcement, the team have confirmed 2022 rider Tom Neave will race for them again in 2023. At the same time, Honda Racing UK have confirmed that Takumi Takahashi and Ryo Mizuno will move on to pastures new, whilst helping the team with testing duties when called upon.

Official Statements: –

Andrew Irwin said: “I am really excited to have signed for Honda for 2023 and I can’t wait to get back on the Fireblade. It was a bike I loved and I believe I am getting on an even better bike than when I left two years ago so I can’t wait to get back on it and just to get stuck into it. I can’t thank Neil and Harv enough for giving me the opportunity to return and I hope I can do a good job. The bike is good which Glenn proved in 2022 and there is no reason why we can’t have a strong championship. I think we have a strong team with good people around me. I plan to have a really good off season and work hard and try to come into 2023 season in the best shape possible. I can’t wait to get back on board and look forward to testing in March.”

Tom Neave said: “I’m absolutely delighted to remain with Honda Racing for what will be my fifth consecutive season in 2023. We have achieved a lot together over the previous seasons, so to remain on the Fireblade for another year will be a positive step for me. There’s no denying my first full season on the Superbike has been a tough one, but continuity is key at this point and the experience I have gained along the way has been invaluable. Next season I look forward to repaying the faith that Honda have shown in me, so I’ll be doing my all to take the next step in my racing career. I can’t wait to get started!”

Havier Beltran, Team Manager, Honda Racing UK said: “We’re delighted to welcome back Andrew alongside Tom in 2023. We’ve shared moments with Andrew like his and the bike’s first wins, and now we’re very happy to be able to bring him back to the family. The 2022 season was a learning year for Tom having graduated from Superstock, and with that experience he’s ready to take the next step in 2023. Alongside Andrew, we have an exciting line-up full of promise and potential. This year has continued to demonstrate the performance of the CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP and it’s encouraging to have finished our 2022 campaign so strongly. I’d like to thank Glenn for his dedication and hard work and the success we’ve enjoyed together. Similarly, it’s been a pleasure having Ryo and Takumi on board for these last two seasons. We wish them well in the next step in their career and hope to work with them again in the future.”

Neil Fletcher, Head of Motorcycles, Honda UK concluded: “Since 2020 when the new CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP took its first BSB victory, we’ve continued to demonstrate how much of a force to be reckoned with the new bike is, and 2022 was no exception. Now, it’s with excitement and promise that I look forward to 2023, welcoming Andrew back to the team alongside Tom. Andrew is no stranger to Honda Racing UK and the Fireblade, having played a pivotal role in its development with Honda Racing UK throughout 2020, so we believe it’s a great fit to have him back with us. We start the 2023 season full of optimism and enthusiasm after a strong run in 2022 narrowly missing out on the title, so that’s the target for next season.”

Follow me on twitter for more motorcycle racing interaction.

Glenn Irwin aiming for race wins and second place in the championship, to top off his year of achievements.

The popular British Superbike and Road Racing Superstar was interviewed by Eurosport’s Steve Day, on Friday after the free practice sessions. Asked if Glenn was satisfied with how things have come on this year, the Honda Racing UK rider responded in the typical, eloquent Glenn Irwin fashion to which he has become known for.

Honda Racing Uk – Glenn Irwin – Image Courtesy of Official BSB

Yeah, in particular the last few rounds have been really enjoyable. It’s always enjoyable when you take a step with the bike. Probably from here back to Thruxton about 5 rounds ago, I made a step in myself with some old injuries I’ve never been able to get fixed. I’ve managed to get on top of them and since then, it’s been really enjoyable.”

“A massive task to overhaul Brad this weekend and a real strange one too. There’s been a lot going on with Chrissy Rouse and Victor Steeman, so as much as we need Brad to have a ton of bad luck you also don’t want to wish that he slips off and puts himself out of the weekend. We have seen it happen with Kiyo and I’m aware it can happen, but if something like that did happen, you have to grab the bull by the horns. I think the realistic thing is to fight with Tommy [Bridewell], Lee [Jackson] and Jason [O’Halloran] for second place.”

“It’s been a year of overachievement is how I would assess it so far to put the Honda right in amongst everyone. Two wins at the NorthWest 200, fastest newcomer at the Isle of Man TT and if we can wrap up second in the British Championship, then it’s been a real step forward.”

When asked about his current fitness and how he’s feeling after a year-long struggle with injuries resulting from a mega crash in pre-season testing…

“I feel better than ever but I also feel I can be a lot more. It was a very tough start to the year but my attitude is, [after a pause] well I just have determination. That’s my quality over everyone else. I think I am an ok bike rider that puts my heart and soul into everything to do with it and now I’m in a good place physically, I’m enjoying the Honda so let’s at least try and leave with a race win this weekend, that’s the target. Let’s go for that and see what happens.”

Glenn is currently 66 points behind Brad Ray going into the weekend and, in the same case of Tommy Bridewell, can only consider race wins to keep his title hopes alive.

©2017 The Pitcrewonline