After emulating prestigious former Honda riders in the Bennetts British Superbike championship with his maiden victory at Thruxton, Andrew Irwin is now focused on securing a Showdown spot this season.

With fresh momentum from a breakthrough win last time out, Irwin jumped into the final top six place and has a gap of seven points to Honda Racing team-mate Xavi Fores in seventh.

Reflecting on his maiden BSB win, which he consolidated with second place in race two at Thruxton, Irwin says it was “always a dream” to follow up former Honda winners Jonathan Rea, Cal Crutchlow, Leon Haslam and Ryuichi Kiyonari.

With just two rounds to go until the BSB Showdown kicks in, Irwin says seeing both himself and Fores claim a top six place will complete his superb season having only made his debut in the championship midway through last year.

“I don’t think it really all sank in straight away but now I can really appreciate what an achievement it was for myself and the whole Honda Racing team,” Irwin said.

“The win was something I had wanted to achieve since I was younger – I used to watch riders like Jonathan Rea, Cal Crutchlow, Leon Haslam and Kiyo win races with Honda Racing and aspire to be able to achieve that one day. It was always a dream but now that is a reality and that is a big moment in any riders’ career.

“I am now just ahead of Xavi, and we are sixth and seventh in the championship standings ahead of Cadwell Park and we really are not that far off fourth place either.

“It would be a dream come true if we can get both Hondas into the Showdown and a reward for everyone who has worked so hard in the team.”

Cadwell Park hosts Honda Racing’s home round and buoyed by his Thruxton success Irwin is hopeful of finding the sweet spot and setup with his CBR1000RR maintain his momentum.

“Winning does make you more confident and it does give you that little bit extra, but at the same time Cadwell Park is a really difficult track,” he said.

“You have to be sensible and it is technical, physical and does sometimes require a bit of a compromise with the setting just because of the characteristics of the track. But I am feeling good, I know I have a great team behind me and we are looking forward to it.”

Honda missed out on the BSB Showdown last year following a tough campaign, with Jason O’Halloran the team’s last rider to reach the top six back in 2017 when he went on to claim fifth place overall.