BSB: Glenn Irwin clinches third in Showdown as PBM Ducati stint comes to an end
Glenn Irwin clinched third place overall in the Bennetts British Superbike Showdown at Brands Hatch after securing his maiden win of the season at the weekend.
Irwin’s final ride on the PBM Be Wiser Ducati ultimately ended in disappointment at the rain-lashed Kent circuit on Sunday when he was forced out of race three at the triple-header finale after a chassis change backfired.
However, he pocketed 25 points in Saturday’s opener after a superb ride to victory, which moved him ahead of Aussie Josh Brookes in the standings.
A seventh place finish in the second race was enough to nail down third in the Showdown.
Leon Haslam was crowned champion for the first time on Saturday, when sixth place was enough to seal the title for the JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider.
Haslam will now return to World Superbikes in 2019, teaming up with four-time champion Jonathan Rea in the Kawasaki Racing Team.
Irwin will replace Haslam in the JG Speedfit Kawasaki line-up next season and the Carrick rider was thrilled to finally clinch his first BSB win of the year at the last round.
“It just had to happen and I said to the boys that it looks as though it will be wet tomorrow, so I wanted to win in the dry today,” Irwin said.
“This race was like the finale for me and I had to win this one. Thanks to everyone who has been behind me the whole way.”
Irwin won by 1.9 seconds from Jake Dixon (RAF Reserves Kawasaki), with Tarran Mackenzie taking third on the McAMS Yamaha ahead of Andrew Irwin (PBM Be Wiser Ducati). Series rookie Irwin had been challenging older brother Glenn for the lead in the race before dropping back.
On Sunday, new champion Haslam won his first race at the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit as he took victory in the rain by two seconds from Tommy Bridewell (Moto Rapido Ducati), with Jason O’Halloran third for Honda Racing.
Irwin finished seventh, although Andrew crashed out unhurt. The 24-year-old was also caught out by the conditions in the final race.
Glenn said: “After yesterday’s race win, it’s disappointing to end my term with PBM and Be Wiser Ducati with only a seventh place finish to show for my efforts.
“The positive is that the race win on Saturday gave me enough of a buffer to clinch third place overall, something which I’m over the moon with. Retiring from my final race with PBM was a real shame but a massive thank you to them for everything they’ve done for me over the last three years.”
Irwin's younger brother Andrew made his mark this season after being drafted into the team as a replacement for the injured Shane Byrne and has been linked with a number of BSB teams for 2019, including Tyco BMW.
Andrew said: "We had good pace in the wet today and in the first race I felt comfortable and confident that I could have stood on the podium but unfortunately I made a small mistake and crashed out.
"Conditions for the second race were worse and from having an awesome bike in race one, I had very little grip at all and the crash in race two came out of nowhere. It’s not how I wanted to end my time with PBM and Be Wiser Ducati but I’m very grateful for the opportunity and I can’t thank them enough.
"It’s arguably the best time in the paddock and they’ve been great since day one, so I wish them well for 2019.”
Tyco BMW’s Michael Laverty, 10th in Saturday’s race, crashed twice on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Jack Kennedy (Integro Yamaha) wrapped up the Dickies British Supersport title with a hard-earned victory in the Sprint race on Saturday.
The Dublin rider finally edged out Alastair Seeley to take win the championship in style from Gearlink Kawasaki’s Ben Currie.
James Westmoreland (Gearlink Kawasaki) won Sunday's wet race from Kennedy, while Seeley was a faller on the EHA Yamaha.