Round three of the 2018 Bennetts British Superbike Championship heads for Oulton Park in Cheshire this bank holiday weekend with the Be Wiser Ducati Racing Team pairing of Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne and Glenn Irwin all set for the challenge.
Six-times and reigning champion Byrne, from Sittingbourne in Kent, holds second place in the standings on the factory-backed Be Wiser Ducati Panigale R coming into Cumbrian team owner Paul Bird’s local round with Ulsterman Glenn Irwin occupying fourth place in the early season title race.
Byrne won last time out at Brands Hatch to follow up his podium in the opening round at Donington Park over Easter whereas Irwin, from Carrickfergus in County Antrim, came close to winning in the previous round before claiming second place behind Leon Haslam in the difficult conditions.
The omens are good for the Be Wiser Ducati pairing who finished 1-2 at the corresponding meeting last year to herald Byrne’s first win of his championship winning season, although Irwin’s was blighted by injury later in the year. This year, however, Irwin set fastest time in last week’s official test at Oulton Park, lapping under the existing lap record, whilst Byrne, who has won 11 times there, was third quickest despite not having an ideal set-up.
Shane Byrne: “I always look forward to riding my bike at the best of times, but I really enjoy riding at Oulton Park, so I can’t wait for this weekend. We found a good direction with the bike last year at Oulton which will be our starting point for this weekend as the test last week wasn’t as good as we would have liked. We tried a couple of things but had to go backwards to go forwards with settings, but we blew out the cobwebs nonetheless. There’s a possibility we might have some new parts to try for this weekend too, so fingers crossed it’s going to be a great weekend’s racing.”
Glenn Irwin: “I’m heading to Oulton off the back of what was a strong test last week, we got through a raft of ideas and found a nice feeling with the bike which showed in the lap times. I won’t get complacent about going under the lap record as we have seen this with other riders at tracks, it’s more important what I’ll bring to Oulton now knowing that I have unlocked that next stage of confidence. I’m looking forward to what could be both Be Wiser Ducatis in the podium positions in both races.”
There is live action on Eurosport and on the Eurosport player throughout the weekend as well as coverage on free-to-air channel Quest with Datatag Qualifying on Sunday from 16.00 and the Bennetts BSB races live on bank holiday Monday at 13.30 and 16.30. For further information, please visit the team’s website, www.pbmuk.net and the official website of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship www.britishsuperbike.com.
Pictures (courtesy of Double Red Photographic) Shane Byrne (67) and Glenn Irwin (2)
Notes to Editors:
Paul Bird Motorsport (PBM) are winners of over 180 races in British Superbike Championship, MotoGP CRT, World Superbike Championship, 125cc, 250cc, Supersport British Championships, Superstock National Championships, Isle of Man TT, North West 200, Daytona, Macau GP, and British domestic races. Points scorers in 125cc, 250cc and 500cc GPs. Points scorers in World Supersport, podium finishers in WSB, Superpole winners in World Superbike. They are based at Langwathby near Penrith in Cumbria.