Andrew Irwin scored his maiden Bennetts British Superbike Championship victory at Thruxton after coming out top of a breathless first race of the day.

From fifth on the grid, Irwin was in the hunt for victory from the off as Thruxton’s high-speed nature and slipstreaming effect ensured frequent changes of position up front.

Peter Hickman led for much of the race but couldn’t escape in the critical closing stages, with Jason O’Halloran swallowing him up with four laps remaining as he attempted make his break for a first win of the season.

However, O’Halloran’s push came too early and he instead found himself under pressure from Irwin, who duly pounced on the penultimate lap before just holding off a charging Scott Redding at the chequered flag.

A first win for Andrew to mirror his brother Glenn’s BSB success in 2018, it is also a first success for Honda in almost two years.

Redding furthered his title hopes with second position after passing Josh Brookes in the closing stages, ahead of O’Halloran, Hickman and Danny Buchan.

Xavi Fores made it a memorable race for Honda in seventh, ahead of a disappointing Tommy Bridewell, top Suzuki rdier Luke Mossey and Ryan Vickers

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