Glenn Irwin scores first ever MCE BSB win in dramatic Silverstone opener
Glenn Irwin mastered the changing conditions in the opening MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship race at Silverstone to claim his first ever victory in the series, becoming the eighth different race winner ahead of tomorrow’s all-important Showdown six decider.
The race was declared wet as the track continued to dry in places, making it a gamble on tyre choice on the grid. The decision on tyre choice before the race saw Peter Hickman decide to leave the grid before the sighting lap; he had opted for a rear slick tyre and then changed to a wet tyre combination and started from pitlane.
At the start Jake Dixon led Josh Brookes and John Hopkins with Irwin in fourth, but by the third lap Brookes had been attacking and he hit the front of the field for the Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha team, with Hopkins in second and Irwin up to third.
Showdown six contender Leon Haslam was running in the top eight when he crashed out at Club unhurt, ending his chance of adding to his Podium Point tally for the JG Speedfit Kawasaki team.
Irwin claimed the lead on the sixth lap for the Be Wiser Ducati team as the disappointment continued for another one of the Showdown six contenders when James Ellison retired his McAMS Yamaha from the race. The DNF now puts him out of contention for a place in the Showdown.
Irwin was managing the lead at the front of the field, which he held to the finish ahead of Brookes and Hopkins, who became the sixth different podium finisher of the season, as the battle for fourth raged between Showdown six contenders Dixon and Mossey. The pair traded blows but the RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki rider was able to withstand the attack to hold onto the position and narrow the points deficit to three points.
Christian Iddon delivered a heroic performance, holding on to sixth place for the Tyco BMW team despite opting for a slick rear tyre on the grid before the start of the race despite areas of the circuit still being wet, but with some sections drying rapidly. The result keeps him in contention ahead of tomorrow’s two races with just nine points between him and Mossey in sixth.
Taylor Mackenzie was seventh on the Bennetts Suzuki to score his best result of the season ahead of Jakub Smrz and Hickman, who climbed the order to ninth place. Bradley Ray completed the top ten for Buildbase Suzuki.
Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne was the first rider to confirm his position in the Showdown despite a crash in the opening race; the defending champion was up to sixth place after passing Iddon, when he slid off at Farm unhurt.
Jason O’Halloran was the final rider in contention for a top six position in eleventh place, despite setting pole position for the opening race at Silverstone.
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Silverstone, race one:
- Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati)
- Josh Brookes (Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha) +3.434s
- John Hopkins (Moto Rapido Ducati) +5.605s
- Jake Dixon (RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki) +15.936s
- Luke Mossey (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +16.112s
- Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) +30.044s
- Taylor Mackenzie (Bennetts Suzuki) +53.685s
- Jakub Smrz (Lloyd & Jones PR Racing BMW) +56.728s
- Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) +57.728s
- Bradley Ray (Buildbase Suzuki) +57.959s
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings after Silverstone race one:
- Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) 219
- Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 209
- Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) 200
- Josh Brookes (Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha) 187
- Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) 183
- Luke Mossey (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 172
- Jake Dixon (RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki) 169
- Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) 163
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Be Wiser Ducati
Silverstone Race 1 winner
“To win my first Superbike race was class. It really is a mega feeling and something I have wanted to do since I was a little nipper.
“It makes it not easy to do again, but for sure I feel like the monkey is off my back. In any form of racing, in any sport, once you get the victory it becomes easier to get to that level again. Fair play to my team. I can’t use the injury as an excuse anymore but it’s been so tough.
“My plan was not to be at the lead at the beginning of the race but when it mattered.”