Andrew Irwin claims first British Superbike win and Honda’s first of the year

by Ryan Lilly

Andrew Irwin took his debut win in the championship and took Honda’s first long-awaited win of the season at this weekends Bennetts British Superbike championship at the fast Thruxton circuit.

Race one started in warm but overcast conditions with Scott Redding‘s Be Wiser Ducati lining up on pole, joined by Tommy Bridewell and Peter Hickman.

From the inside of the front row, it was the Smiths BMW of Peter Hickman who lead into turn one ahead of Honda Racing’s Andrew Irwin and Tommy Bridewell, whilst Redding had found himself down in seventh by the end of the opening sector.

Andy Irwin then took the lead at the end of lap one, with a neat up the inside pass on Hickman into the final chicane.

Hickman snapped straight back at turn two to retake the lead from the Irishman whilst further back Redding attacked Danny Buchan for Sixth position.

At the end of lap two, it was Iddon launching an attack, moving into third ahead of Jason O’Halloran and set after his fellow BMW rider and the Honda of Irwin. O’Halloran was quick to fight back, however, passing Christian Iddon and Hickman before hitting the front at the final chicane on lap four.

At half race distance, Matt Truelove crashed out on the exit of the final chicane, nearly collecting the second JG Speedfit Kawasaki of Ben Currie who did well to avoid the grounded Raceways Yamaha.

At the front, Hickman was back in the lead with O’Halloran’s R1 Yamaha desperately trying to find a way past the BMW but was instead surprised by Iddon who tucked his Tyco BMW up the inside at the final chicane.

As we approached the final five laps, Iddon looked to have used the best of his rear tyre and started falling through the pack, giving O’Halloran his podium position back, as the Australian looked to attack the leading duo of Hickman and Irwin.

Meanwhile, a late charge from both Be Wiser Ducati’s of Josh Brookes and Scott Redding saw the Gloucestershire rider jump from fifth to second in the space of two laps and slotted in behind Andy Irwin as the pack started the final lap four laps whilst Brookes got himself into a podium position, jostling for third with Redding.

On the final lap, both Be Wiser Ducati’s overhauled O’Halloran to claim second and third whilst Andrew Irwin hung on to take his debut win of his career in British Superbikes, Honda’s first of the year and first at Thruxton since Ian Lowry in 2012.

Jason O’Halloran and Peter Hickman rounded out the top five with Buchan finishing sixth ahead of Xavi Fores, Bridewell, Luke Mossey and Ryan Vickers completed the top ten.

As well as the win, Irwin set the fastest lap meaning he would start race 2 from pole position ahead of O’Halloran and Brookes, whilst James Ellison put in a strong lap time in race one to start the second race from fourth.

For full results from race one, click here

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