5 riders were still in with a chance to secure the BSB championship.
So it all comes down to this, 3 races around the Brands Hatch GP Circuit. One of those was J&S supported rider Glenn Irwin, sitting 3rd in the championship and only 18 points behind, it would be hard work but something that would be well within reach of the Carrickfergus rider.
But before we get to the main event, let’s start with some of the support classes.
In the Honda Talent Cup, Sullivan Mounsey was lining up for the last couple of races for the 2020 season. In qualifying, Sullivan set a time fast enough for him to start the first of two races from 13th on the grid at Brands Hatch. The first race saw Sullivan make his way through the field and work his way up to the top 10 places. At the end of the 14 lap race, Sullivan finished in 8th place which is his best result of the season!! The second and final race saw Sullivan start from 18th on the grid. Once again Sullivan showed great maturity and carefully picked off his fellow riders and moved into the top 10. Sullivan once again matched his final race position from the first race and came home in 8th place. Talk about saving the best until last!? Those two 8th place finishes were the best of the season for Sullivan. A great first season for Sullivan in the Honda Talent Cup, he finished 16th overall in the championship which was packed full of young talent!! The Energy Dots Excellence Award was presented to Sullivan for the most receptive rider as elected by the Honda and British Talent Cup coaches and mentors. Well done Sullivan!
Next up, the Superstock 600. Rhys Irwin was still in with a chance of winning the championship at Brands Hatch as he was only 33 points behind the championship leader, but with two races and 50 points up for grabs, anything could happen. This weekend we welcomed back Louis Valleley who has been missing for a few rounds but is back on a new bike for the final race of the season.
In qualifying Louis would start the first race from 18th on the grid, Rhys Irwin would start from 7th and give himself plenty of work to do in the first race. But it was his brother Caolan who would start the first race from pole position.
The first race saw the championship done and dusted after Rhys suffered a DNF early on in the race due to a snapped chain. Louis had a steady race and crossed the line in 9th place, a great result on the new bike, Caolan finished in 3rd place and another podium but was only 0.128 seconds behind the race winner!! A really close race which went right down to the line!!
The second and final race at Brands Hatch of the Superstock 600 season saw Louis line up in 14th, Rhys from 13th and Caolan on the front row in 2nd place. Again another close race with action all the way down the field. Louis came home in 10th place and another top 10 finish which is a great way to end his season. But it was the Irwin boys out front. Caolan pushing Rhys all the way to the line, with Rhys winning by 0.360 seconds. Rhys took his 3rd win of the season and brother Caolan his 5th podium finish of the season.
Both the Irwin boys had a great season with Rhys finishing in 2nd overall on 121 points and Caolan 4th with 99 points.
Supersport 600 and GP now with Ben Currie and Dan Jones both looking for success in the final two races of the season. Ben would have a great qualifying session and would line up 3rd on the front row, with Dan Jones starting from 18th on the GP2 bike. In the first race of the weekend saw Ben lead the race from the first lap, but he would be pipped by Rory Skinner, but a great result for Ben and his first trip to the podium this season. Dan Jones finished 14th overall but was 6th in the GP2 class.
Race two saw Ben start from 2nd on the grid and Dan down in 18th. More action as usual in the Supersport class with Ben just missing out on another podium by 0.040 seconds and had to settle for a 4th place finish. Dan Jones crossed the line 18th overall and 7th in the GP2 standings.
A mixed season for Ben Currie with only one 2nd place finish to show for all the effort both he and his team put into the season. Hence, an 8th place finish in the championship, in the GP2 standings, Dan Jones would finish in 7th overall but with a class win and a couple of trips to the podium its been a great first year on the GP2 bike.
Onto Superstock 1000 with all to play for. With both Lewis Rollo and Billy McConnell both fighting for 3rd place in the championship at Brands Hatch. Lewis had 117 points going into the final race of the season with Billy on 110. Qualifying took place in damp conditions But I was the Aussie Billy McConnell who threw caution to the wind and stuck his BMW on pole for the final race of the season. Lewis had a tough task and would start from 11th place on the grid. The race took part in better conditions with a dry track for the final race. Billy got a great start and took the lead going into the first corner of the race. But in the end, he was pegged back by the chasing pack and would cross the line in 5th place and only 0.023 behind the 4th place rider who was Lewis Rollo. This doesn’t tell the whole story of the race as the top 5 riders were covered by 1.6 seconds.
This result saw Lewis finish in 3rd overall in the championship with 130 points and Billy in 4th with 121. After a struggle in 2019 for Billy, you could say that 2020 has been a success, one win, a second and a third-place during the season, whilst Lewis also claimed a win and two 2nd places. Another thing to note is that Both Billy and Lewis scored points in all races apart form the first round of the season, so mega consistency for the remainder of the season for the two riders. A massive congratulations to Lewis!
But now the main event three aces to settle who would take home the British Superbike Championship.
Qualifying saw plenty of action with riders trying to find an empty piece of track to set the best lap time they could. Josh Owens lined up in 20th place after missing the last round. Just in front was Graeme Irwin in 19th place, then came Joe Francis in 17th with Hector Barbera in 16th. Luke Mossey started in the middle of the second row in 5th place (his best starting position of the season), and title contender Glenn Irwin lined up in 7th place for the first race of the weekend.
The first race saw Glenn make a great start and was up to 2nd place by the exit of paddock hill bend. Glenn would lead the race by the 4th lap. He led the race for many laps until the latter part of the race but finished in a highly respectable 6th place overall. Luke Mossey just missed out on a top 10 spot by coming home in 11th. Joe Francis picked up the final point in the race with a 15th place finish. Just missing out was Hector Barbera in 16th, with Josh Owens coming home in 19th place. Sadly Graeme Irwin suffered a DNF and failed to finish.
In the second race, Josh started from 21st, Graeme 20th, Hector in 17th, Joe in 16th with Luke in 8th just in front of Glenn in 9th. 3 of the J&S backed riders failed to finish the second race of the weekend with Joe, Hector, failing to finish due to bike issues but it was Graeme who had another massive high-side crash but was once again able to dust himself down and walk away. Josh Owens scored his first points of the season by crossing the line in 15th place!! Luke had a great race and crossed the line in 6th place to equal his best finish of the season. Unfortunately for Glenn Irwin, a 12th place Brands Hatch finish put an end to his title chase. What an absolutely fantastic effort given by all our riders but especially Glenn. Unlucky, but VERY exciting to watch!
The third and final race of the season saw the riders line up in the following order, Josh in 20th, Graeme in 18th, Joe 16th, Luke in 10th, with Glenn in 9th place with Hector Barbera in 7th.
A sad end to Graeme Irwin’s debut season in the Superbike class with a DNF. Josh just missed out on adding to his points tally but finished in 18th place. The remaining J&S riders all scored points in the final round. Hector grabbed the last point in 15th place, teammate Luke Mossey crossed the line in 12th Joe Francis rounded off a great season at Brands Hatch in 13th place, and Glenn Irwin just missed out on a top 10 finish by crossing the line in 11th.
So that’s all for this season, so close for Glenn Irwin who finished in 4th overall in the championship with 226 points, Luke in 11th Hector in 17th, Joe Francis in 18th place, and Graeme Irwin and Josh Owens equal on 1 point at the end of the season.
A great effort from all the J&S backed riders in all the classes this season, race wins, podiums and crashes but it was great to see racing during the year when we all thought that we might not get to see anything at all. So here’s hoping that the offseason flies by and we can all be back to a race track sometime very soon. It’s only 163 days (not that I’m counting) until it all starts again with the first test session of the 2021 season!!!
So thanks for reading and until next year stay safe.
We’d also like to say a massive well done to every single one of our supported riders this season – in what has been undoubted, the weirdest racing season (and year!) in our lifetimes! You’ve all been amazing, and we were proud to work with each and every one of you!