Northern Ireland riders served up a day to remember at Thruxton in Hampshire on Sunday, where Michael Laverty won the second MCE British Superbike race for Moneymore’s Tyco BMW team.
Laverty sealed his second victory of the season with a brilliant ride on the S1000RR to take the honours ahead of Honda Racing’s Jason O’Halloran, while Carrick’s Glenn Irwin bagged his first podium in the class in third place in his debut season, giving Paul Bird’s team some consolation after race one winner Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne retired from the race with a problem on his Panigale R, which appeared to be a broken gear lever.
In the Dickies British Supersport Championship, Andy Reid from Jordanstown made it a double for the Quattro Plant Cool Milk Kawasaki team to close to within a point of the title lead.
There was more podium glory for Ulster riders in the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 race, when reigning champion Josh Elliott finished as the runner-up on the Tyco BMW behind Buildbase BMW’s Taylor Mackenzie, while Clogher man Keith Farmer continued to impress on the Quay Garage Honda as the former champion completed the top three.
The big story, though, was Laverty’s return to the top step in BSB as the 35-year-old forced his way back into Showdown contention after dropping outside the top six at Snetterton, where he salvaged a podium in race two following a DNF in race one.
Laverty, who is now up to fourth place in the standings, took control following Byrne’s demise and managed his rear tyre life to dictate the pace from the front.
He closed out victory by 3.2 seconds from O’Halloran, with Irwin only six tenths further back in third.
The jubilant Toomebridge man, who finished second in the opening race, said: “We needed to get back into that Showdown contention but we’ve been fast enough at every circuit this year to fight for podiums and wins – we’ve just been very unlucky.
“It’s nice to get a double podium today at a circuit that’s not the strongest for the BMW. All credit has to go to my team because I’ve got a clever bunch around me and they worked smartly all weekend to make sure we had tyre life with the soft tyre.
“I had to ride a patient race and not use my tyre at the front and then I tried to gap them on the last three laps, but it worked a treat.”
The race had been delayed by 20 minutes due to rain but it was certainly worth the wait for BSB rookie Irwin, who showed what he is capable of with a fantastic performance on the Be Wiser Ducati.
“The team did a really good job and after qualifying we made a change, but we went the wrong way and I crashed and qualified 24th, but that was more through me not being comfortable with the bike,” said Irwin, who finished 11th in race one.
“We made a good job with the bike for race one and finished 11th and then to get that first podium in race two is a real credit to the whole Be Wiser BMW Ducati team.”
Byrne dominated race one to cross the line three seconds clear of Laverty, with Luke Mossey third on the Quattro Plant Kawasaki.
It was a disappointing day for Alastair Seeley on the RAF Regular & Reserves BMW, who failed to finish race one before ending race two outside the points in 22nd place.