Irwin: I want to be competitive at North West 200

Gearlink Kawasaki duo Glenn Irwin and Ben Wilson, who will make their North West 200 debuts in 2015, pictured during a visit to the seaside race venue this week.  Photo: Stephen Davison. INLT 50-909-CON
Gearlink Kawasaki duo Glenn Irwin and Ben Wilson, who will make their North West 200 debuts in 2015, pictured during a visit to the seaside race venue this week. Photo: Stephen Davison. INLT 50-909-CON

East Antrim’s Glenn Irwin is set to make his debut at the 2015 Vauxhall International North West 200 next May.

He will be joined by Gearlink Kawasaki team-mate Ben Wilson. They pair will race their British Supersport championship ZXRs in the three 600cc races at Portrush and Irwin will also ride in both Supertwin events on the VRS squad’s ER6.

Trish Neill at full stretch

Trish Neill at full stretch

The 24-year-old Carrick man made his road racing debut at the Ulster Grand Prix in August, leaving Dundrod as the fastest-ever Supertwin rider over the 7.4-mile circuit. Now Irwin is confident he will have a similar impact at on his NW 200 debut.

“I want to ride the North West and be competitive.” he said after visiting the circuit last week.

“I did the Ulster on a bike that I hadn’t ridden before against the big names and got a lap record, so why can’t I do it at the North West?”

Irwin, the son of ‘80s and ‘90s road racing legend, Alan, is on a high after finishing fourth in this year’s British Supersport championship.

“In the 600cc class I will be on a bike I know and hopefully by the time the North West comes around I will have had some British championship wins under my belt,” he said.

“I like the format with Thursday and Saturday racing as it gives me time to suss things out and I just need to pick my Dad’s brains to make sure that I am competitive.”

Irwin isn’t daunted by rubbing elbows with the world’s best road racers in the mass start rush down into Primrose.

“The roads guys know their game and we know ours.” he said.

“I had a really good battle with Keith Amor at the Ulster and I have a lot of respect for all of them. But I won’t feel threatened.

“I just want to enjoy it because I never thought I would get the chance to race against legends like Keith and Ryan Farquhar.”

The last time Irwin was in action at the NW200 was back in 2011 when he was a marshal and had the misfortune of pushing Farquhar’s Kawasaki home after it blew an engine and spilled oil on the track.

Let’s hope his return in 2015 has a more positive outcome and, who knows, maybe he will join his great rival Alastair Seeley on the supersport podium.