Glenn Irwin won an emotional opening Bennetts British Superbike Championship BikeSocial Sprint race at Oulton Park, withstanding race-long pressure from his teammate and title rival Tommy Bridewell, who made a costly mistake on the final lap which dropped him to fourth place.
The BeerMonster Ducati teammates arrived at Oulton Park for the Showdown determined to continue the legacy of PBM Team Owner Paul Bird, who sadly passed away earlier this month.
The pair continued their bid for a ninth title for the team by snatching the leading two positions on the opening lap of the BikeSocial Sprint Race ahead of Kyle Ryde, Storm Stacey, Leon Haslam and Lee Jackson.
Stacey crashed out on the opening lap unhurt at Lodge, but Haslam and Jackson had soon moved ahead of Ryde as he shadowed the BeerMonster Ducatis, led by Irwin.
Irwin held the lead until the final lap when Bridewell grabbed the lead at Cascades with the pair side-by-side and nothing between them. Irwin and Jackson were in close contention, with Irwin regaining the lead at Island Bend.
Bridewell remained determined and he was within striking distance of Irwin, but he made a costly mistake into Hislops Chicane for the final time, outbraking himself to run on and he was forced to rejoin in fourth place.
Irwin took the chequered flag to claim an emotional victory for the team, with Jackson just 0.390s adrift and Haslam returning to the podium in Cheshire.
Bridewell’s fourth place means the advantage at the top of the standings was halved, with now just 7.5 points between the teammates. Josh Brookes was fifth as he was able to move ahead of Ryde and Christian Iddon.
Jason O’Halloran was eighth on the McAMS Yamaha with Peter Hickman and Charlie Nesbitt completing the top ten.
Bennetts British Superbike Championship, Oulton Park, BikeSocial Sprint Race
- Glenn Irwin (BeerMonster Ducati)
- Lee Jackson (Cheshire Mouldings Kawasaki) +0.390s
- Leon Haslam (ROKiT BMW Motorrad) +1.085s
- Tommy Bridewell (BeerMonster Ducati) +2.148s
- Josh Brookes (FHO Racing BMW Motorrad) +5.975s
- Kyle Ryde (LAMI OMG Racing Yamaha) +6.215s
- Christian Iddon (Oxford Products Ducati) +6.746s
- Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) +10.169s
- Peter Hickman (FHO Racing BMW Motorrad) +20.237s
- Charlie Nesbitt (MasterMac Honda by Hawk Racing) +20.277s
Bennetts British Superbike Championship Standings
- Tommy Bridewell (BeerMonster Ducati) 321
- Glenn Irwin (BeerMonster Ducati) 313.5
- Kyle Ryde (LAMI OMG Racing Yamaha) 266
- Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) 258.5
- Leon Haslam (ROKiT BMW Motorrad) 247
- Lee Jackson (Cheshire Mouldings Kawasaki) 238.5
- Josh Brookes (FHO Racing BMW Motorrad) 218
- Christian Iddon (Oxford Products Ducati) 198
- Ryan Vickers (LAMI OMG Racing Yamaha) 189
- Jack Kennedy (Mar-Train Racing Yamaha) 116
“We have to come and do our job and I feel like not just me, but as an entire team and Tommy [Bridewell] as well, we’ve done that all weekend.
“My bike was very, very good in that race. There are always areas to improve in racing but we will keep focusing on ourselves.
“I feel ready, I’ve said all year that I do feel like this is the year. I understand people feeling pressure, but it’s not there at the minute. I’m really, really enjoying my racing.
“I didn’t know what happened on the last lap, so thanks Tommy for not taking me out. It was quite close but seven and a half points now is better than 14 and a half it was before.
“Well done to all the boys as well. And obviously, that’s for the Birdman.”
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