The Honda Racing team are taking the positives from a tricky weekend at Brands Hatch for the final round of the 2019 Bennetts British Superbike Championship, where Andrew Irwin scored a hat trick of top tens aboard the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2.
Intermittent weather hampered progress during practice sessions and in yesterday’s qualifying Andrew and Xavi Forés headed out to a dry track for the first time. With work to do in the first race the Honda teammates dug deep from their starting positions (Forés 17th, Irwin 19th), to carve their way through the pack into the top ten with Forés eighth and Irwin ninth at the flag.
The weather today was dry but with a chill in the air at the Kent circuit, progress for the Honda duo was present from warm-up when Irwin took 1.1 seconds off his qualifying time. Lining up on the grid further up the rankings than the day before, in tenth and 11th respectively, the duo enjoyed battles on-track with their championship rivals and made up places to cross the line with Irwin ninth and Forés 11th.
The final race of the 2019 season was down to the line to decide the championship, which thrilled teams and fans alike at the 2.43-mile circuit. Sadly for Forés his race ended early on the sixth lap with an unexplained lack of grip from the rear tyre, which sees him wrap the championship up in ninth position. Meanwhile teammate Irwin took his third ninth-place finish to wrap up the season eighth overall.
It’s been a challenging season for the Honda Racing team, but with the lows there have been many highs and plenty of positives to take away with Forés on the podium at Donington Park and Knockhill, and celebrating Irwin’s debut BSB win at Thruxton.
Today was not the best way to end the season, especially in the last race, I did not feel good with the rear tyre and was spinning a lot and dropping places, so decided to come in and finish the race. Overall the season has been good, we had solid results and especially at the tracks I had not seen before. I had podiums at Donington Park, as well as a pole position and podium at Knockhill, so we did have a good season and I am happy with the job done and the way we worked to develop the Fireblade. Thank you so much to Harv and the whole Honda team, they were the first to give me the opportunity to come to BSB and I have really enjoyed this season working with them all!
Brands was a difficult round in the middle of year and coming back I knew that the Fireblade had improved. The weather didn’t work in our favour this weekend, but in qualifying I was horrendous! I didn’t ride right and it was the first time all weekend we’d ridden in the dry, and I think I was just tense. I qualified 19th, and when that happens I am so determined to change the weekend around. Finishing with three ninths isn’t ideal, but it’s three top ten finishes and I tried this weekend – we went with the group to battle for fifth for over half the race, but didn’t quite have the pace to stay with them. However, it was a positive weekend and we continued to make steps forward. We wrap the championship up in eighth place and this was my first full year in BSB. I really can’t thank Honda Racing enough from my side, Xavi’s side, Tom’s side and everyone who makes Honda Racing one!
Well the 2019 Brands Hatch finale wasn’t the most ideal conditions for everyone, but that’s how it goes. I’m looking at the last round now and thinking ‘that’s another season gone!’ It’s been a rollercoaster and we’ve had some amazing highs and lows throughout the year. Xavi and Andrew have done a fantastic job working together and with the team to develop the Fireblade to where we have it today. However we look at the weekend we made progress, and we all should be pleased and proud of that. I want to thank the whole team for all their hard work this season, we have a great group of lads in the garage working with Xavi, Andrew and Tom. I know for 2020 we’ll come back stronger and as for 2019, it has been emotional!
Jack Kennedy chalked up his 20th race win during another dominant weekend at Brands Hatch in the Dickies British Supersport Championship finale. Brad Jones battled to two more runner-up positions for the Integro Yamaha squad to complete a fantastic season.
Jack had already tied up his second consecutive Championship at Donington Park and a third for the Appleyard Macadam Racing team. It’s been an almost perfect season for the Yorkshire team, who run their immaculately prepared Yamaha YZF-R6 machines out of the Colin Appleyard Motorcycles workshops, with 21 out of the 24 races won by the team.
The Brands Hatch event started in the rain on the Friday but the weekend’s activities were held in cool but dry conditions. The free practice sessions were very slippery and gained little in terms of data for the riders.
Qualifying was also held in tricky, wet but drying conditions and yet again Kennedy showed his mastery of the one lap challenge, taking a pole position half a second quicker than his rivals. It was a tough session for Brad, only logging sixth on the grid but confident in his race pace.
Saturday’s Sprint race was a tour-de-force for the double champion and he pulled out a significant gap from the very first flying lap. It was a different story for Brad as his poor qualifying position meant he was caught up in a race long battle for second with up to eight riders, which made for great TV! Just as Brad took the advantage with this large group the red flag went out for an accident which gave the lads another 1-2 in the class.
The longer Feature race on Sunday was a slightly more straightforward affair as the pair gapped the rest of the field early on. The duo were never headed as they repeated their feat and Jack logged an impressive win number 20.
Jack Kennedy said: “It’s been the perfect end to an almost perfect season, and to finish on 20 is a nice round number! After I broke my hand early in the year we then come back so strongly which is a credit to the team. I’ve had two fantastic years with the Appleyard Macadam Racing team and I’m now riding high on confidence.”
Brad Jones explained: “It’s been a mega year for us from the get-go and the World Superbike wildcard gave us another step-up in terms of performance. Having an ultra-fast teammate has also been good as I’ve been chasing and getting faster all the time. Big thanks to the team, they’ve prepared some awesome machinery and been so professional.”
Team owner Robin Appleyard summed up: “It’s been a pretty fantastic season and to get that third title is amazing for the whole team. They’ve worked so hard and have never got complacent; which shows in the reliability we’ve enjoyed.
BSB – Race 3 (20 laps)
Pos Rider Number Time Constructor
1 Josh Brookes 25 28:42.489 Ducati
2 Tommy Bridewell 46 +0.223 Ducati
3 Scott Redding 45 +12.357 Ducati
4 Christian Iddon 21 +14.695 BMW
5 Peter Hickman 60 +17.952 BMW
6 Tarran Mackenzie 95 +18.238 Yamaha
7 Jason O’Halloran 22 +18.444 Yamaha
8 Danny Buchan 83 +20.895 Kawasaki
9 Andrew Irwin 18 +23.281 Honda
10 Dan Linfoot 4 +23.439 Yamaha
Xavi Forés 6 DNF Honda
BSB – Race 2 (20 laps)
Pos Rider Number Time Constructor
1 Josh Brookes 25 28:47.221 Ducati
2 Scott Redding 45 +0.119 Ducati
3 Tommy Bridewell 46 +0.796 Ducati
4 Tarran Mackenzie 95 +7.240 Yamaha
5 Christian Iddon 21 +8.236 BMW
6 Danny Buchan 83 +8.753 Kawasaki
7 Jason O’Halloran 22 +9.771 Yamaha
8 Peter Hickman 60 +12.478 BMW
9 Andrew Irwin 18 +18.246 Honda
10 Taylor Mackenzie 77 +20.862 BMW
11 Xavi Forés 6 +22.513 Honda
BSB Race 1 (12 laps) (Saturday)
Pos Rider Number Time Constructor
1 Josh Brookes 25 17:18.268 Ducati
2 Tommy Bridewell 46 +2.256 Ducati
3 Scott Redding 45 +8.435 Ducati
4 Christian Iddon 21 +9.213 BMW
5 Danny Buchan 83 +9.582 Kawasaki
6 Jason O’Halloran 22 +11.023 Yamaha
7 Peter Hickman 60 +11.958 BMW
8 Xavi Forés 6 +15.964 Honda
9 Andrew Irwin 18 +16.194 Honda
10 Taylor Mackenzie 99 +16.305 BMW
British Superbike Championship Standings
Pos Rider Number Constructor Points
1 Scott Redding 45 Ducati 697
2 Josh Brookes 25 Ducati 692
3 Tommy Bridewell 46 Ducati 636
4 Danny Buchan 83 Kawasaki 588
5 Tarran Mackenzie 95 Yamaha 566
6 Peter Hickman 60 BMW 558
7 Christian Iddon 21 BMW 203
8 Andrew Irwin 18 Honda 202
9 Xavi Forés 6 Honda 199
10 Jason O’Halloran 22 Yamaha 195