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Glenn Irwin “ready to get stuck in” in quest for debut Bennetts BSB title

Glenn Irwin is ready to strike back in the fight for the 2020 Bennetts British Superbike Championship title this weekend at Brands Hatch as the Honda Racing rider bids to regain the ground to fierce rival Josh Brookes, with 18-points separating the pair with three rounds remaining.

Irwin had led the standings right up until the end of the penultimate event at Donington Park, however the Honda Racing rider crashed out of the opening race, which lost him his advantage in the standings. The 18-point deficit to Brookes is one that he knows can be closed, but first he has to overhaul his VisionTrack Ducati rival.

Speaking ahead of the weekend, Irwin said: “Going into the last round, I’m aware of how big of a task it is. I think that what has happened in the past has now happened and this is the position we’re in. Our points’ deficit is what it is, it’s a huge task because Josh has shown phenomenal form at the GP track in recent years. I think last year he won five out of five at it. I know he grabbed at least two victories the year previous. I think he’s had seven victories out of the last ten Brands GP races so I’m aware of how strong he’ll be. For me to win this championship I’ll have to beat Josh in all three races.”

Whilst Brookes holds the leading position in the standings, just two points stand between Irwin and Christian Iddon ahead of him, plus Jason O'Halloran is only one point adrift, so every single point will make the difference this weekend.

Irwin added: “Christian and Jason are riding really, really well. Maybe Brands Hatch wasn’t Jason’s strongest track last year. You know, as a rider you look at all of the variables as such, and tracks where he wasn’t as strong at last year, he has made a clear improvement this year, so I expect him to continue his good form. I think the adverse weather conditions, if we were to have any, could be where Jason could begin to struggle but I don’t know.

“Christian’s riding good, so that’s the thing, it’s such a big task. Taz isn’t mathematically out of it yet, my brother’s riding well, Gino Rea’s stepped up, there’s going to be a lot of people riding for jobs now as well, so Brands will be… mental, is probably the word. There’s a lot of people racing for a lot of different reasons. You should never need a reason to go fast but it’s job time, it’s contract time, it’s championship position time and everyone wants to finish one position higher up. If you can win it, everyone wants to win it.”

The new CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP has lived up to pre-season expectations and even Irwin admits he is still impressed by its performance in 2020.

“To be honest it’s a real testament to Honda and their new Fireblade,” said Irwin. “Harvey told us straight up that we’d pretty much be riding the stock bike to start off with in the first couple of rounds.. To build up a points lead during that period was an amazing achievement and now we are rolling into the last round in third. As much as it’s a huge task, it’s a big chance as well. The points isn’t the huge task, the huge task is anyone being able to beat Josh in three races around Brands Hatch.”

Irwin knows that this weekend is the biggest in his Bennetts BSB career yet as he has his first opportunity to fight for a debut title at the season finale.

Irwin concluded: “I go into the last round with a lot of hope and the realism that we can be the champion, but I don’t underestimate how difficult of a job that will be. What will be will be. It has been a great year for me regardless and I think we’ve established ourselves. We haven’t just come back to the Glenn of 2018 that was fighting for podiums, I think we’ve established ourselves as one of the main BSB front runners and that has taken a lot of work.

“Either way, I have a lot of satisfaction this season and we just go into the last round and will throw everything I have at it - one thing is for sure, that is what we’ll do! We’ll go, we’ll get stuck in and enjoy it.

I’m just really looking forward to it. I feel confident and happy with what’s underneath me, but I am aware of how difficult a task it will be on one hand, but I’m also aware that we can win the championship as well. Let’s go and enjoy it, get stuck in and try to complete what has been a dream season for the new Fireblade.”

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