Andrew Irwin excluded from Sunday's first British Superbike race at Oulton Park

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Andrew Irwin’s hopes of making the Bennetts British Superbike Showdown have been dealt a hammer blow after the Northern Ireland rider was excluded from Sunday’s opening race at Oulton Park.

Irwin currently occupies the sixth and final Showdown spot but is only one point ahead of Smiths Racing BMW rider Peter Hickman.

The 24-year-old from Carrick has been penalised by Race Direction after re-starting his machine following a collision that caused him to crash out in Saturday’s first race of the triple-header weekend.

He travelled back to pit lane on the track in contravention of the rules.

Subsequently, Race Direction contended that oil dropped from Irwin’s Honda Racing Fireblade resulted in track contamination, which caused the race to be red-flagged after several riders crashed.

Honda launched an appeal, but the MCRCB Stewards Panel upheld the decision to exclude Irwin from the next BSB race.

Irwin started race one on Saturday from the rear of the grid after being penalised following a collision with Scott Redding at the previous round at Cadwell Park.