BSB Rider of the Year: 3rd - Glenn Irwin
After another epic season of racing, MCN’s sports team of Michael Guy (Sports Editor), Simon Patterson (MotoGP Reporter) and Oli Rushby (Superbike Reporter) sat down to discuss who impressed them the most in each race series we cover to establish MCN’s top five riders in each category.
And after this year’s dramatic British Superbike championship, it wasn’t an easy call to decide who deserved what spot in our top five riders of the year in the class. Here’s what we think – but feel free to disagree with us in the comments!
British Superbike Rider of the Year: 3rd – Glenn Irwin
Glenn Irwin started the 2018 Bennetts British Superbike Championship as a clear number two to team-mate Shane Byrne, who would be looking for a record seventh BSB crown.
While a racer’s aim is always to win, Irwin’s goals for the PBM squad was to get into the Showdown for the first time in order to boost the team’s chances of championship success.
However, Irwin’s season changed dramatically when Byrne was tragically injured during a serious testing crash at Snetterton and ruled out for the remainder of the season.
Instead of a clear number two, Irwin had to unexpectedly step up his game and had big boots to fill.
Taking on his new challenge, the Ulsterman instantly performed with a front row at Snetterton. It had looked as though he’d clinch his first dry win, but tyre difficulties saw him slip back to second in the closing stages and he’d lose out on a chance to try again in race two as he was taken out by Bradley Ray.
Things were looking good for Irwin as he took pole position at Thruxton, but two tough races followed by a shoulder injury at Cadwell Park hurt his title challenge.
Back and strong for Silverstone, Irwin took two further podiums and narrowly missed out on a victory, but he wouldn’t have to wait too long for his first dry win as he charged to success in the opening race of the Brands Hatch finale.
His efforts saw him finish third in the title chase, and while team boss Paul Bird wasn’t too thrilled with the lack of wins, a third place championship finish would have been a bold prediction for Irwin at the start of the year.