Carrick’s Glenn Irwin celebrated his maiden MCE British Superbike success with a brilliant ride in the opening race of the triple-header weekend at Silverstone on Saturday.
A rain shower created tricky conditions with the circuit beginning to dry out as the race commenced, but PBM Be Wiser Ducati rider Irwin took it all in his stride as he passed John Hopkins and Josh Brookes before pulling clear, winning by more than three seconds at the finish on the Panigale R.
It was just rewards for Irwin, who has battled adversity over the past few months after suffering serious shoulder and elbow injuries in a crash at Knockhill.
The Ulster rider said: “I always believed I could win a BSB race this year and my injury came at the worst possible time, but to finally win one is a mega feeling.
“It’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid and although I was nowhere in the wet in free practice, I knew I could be there in the race. The team did a great job in changing the engine after qualifying and I’ve learnt a lot from ‘Shakey’ in terms of managing the tyres.
“There’s no Showdown for me in 2017 but we’re still very much part of the races as we’ve shown today.”
His team-mate, Shane Byrne, crashed out of sixth place on the final lap but has mathematically secured his place in the Showdown ahead of Sunday’s two races.
In the Supersport Sprint race, Keith Farmer increased his title lead to 78 points over Jack Kennedy as he won a thrilling race after a tussle with Gearlink Kawasaki’s Andrew Irwin.
The pair were separated by only 0.045 seconds at the finish, with Ben Currie right behind in third place as 0.176s covered the top three.