Glenn Irwin will aim to show his magical touch... just like Bestie
Current British Supersport Championship leader Glenn Irwin is fast becoming a sought-after name on the international road racing scene, and while he will make his Supersport debut at the Ulster Grand Prix with Gearlink Kawasaki, he has also secured a Supertwin ride with local team Cookstown B.E Racing for the August event.
The Carrickfergus ace made his debut at the Ulster Grand Prix last season on a 650cc machine and with the help of his father Alan, a former Irish and Ulster road racing champion, the goal this year is a little bit different.
"We went to the Ulster last year for a bit of craic," said Irwin junior. "And when I say that, Dad made sure I treated the event with the utmost respect. We drove the circuit and he made me take notes, which I studied day and night, but we made no predictions and there were no expectations. This time, I'm there to win."
A bold statement indeed, but young Irwin has an added incentive at the Ulster meeting while riding for Burrows' squad. He continued: "I raced against John Burrows back in 2009 at Bishopscourt, which was my first time on a 600cc bike. I've always got on well with John so I'm delighted to be able to ride for his team at the Ulster Grand Prix; it's just a pity it isn't beside Jamie Hamilton, but we will be doing our best to win for him.
"His bikes are good enough to win on and that's the goal this year, but it's also great to be riding with a well-respected local family team who have a top sponsor in Cookstown Meats. And on top of that it's pretty cool to be riding for a company who sponsored George Best!"
Irwin's happy go lucky attitude has often been mistaken for youthful haughtiness, but with a few years' experience now under his belt, he has worked out his strengths and weaknesses and understands the importance of grabbing every opportunity with both hands.
"In the past I was maybe considered a crasher and didn't take the job seriously enough, but I'm learning all the time. I've only had three non-finishes in the last 30 races, which is not a bad record for the Supersport class.
"The goal this year is obviously to win the British Supersport title, but it's a long season and it's tight at the top at the minute, so we must keep working hard," said Irwin, who will be in action this coming weekend at Brands Hatch for round six of the British Supersport Championship.
With a Supersport podium at the North West 200 back in May, which could well have been a debut win, Irwin believes he can now follow in the footsteps of fellow Carrick racer Alastair Seeley and make it a perennial fixture on his racing calendar, along with the Ulster Grand Prix.
"I'd like to think I could go to both the North West 200 and UGP and challenge for wins every year now; that's the goal," said Irwin, who seems to have one eye on 2016 already. "We are only at the midway point of 2015, but already people are talking to teams about 2016 and I definitely want to be on a Superbike.
"I used to think World Supersport was the place for me, but personally I think that championship is struggling and BSB is where I see my future, as I believe I would be more suited to a Superbike."
After his NW200 performance, Irwin will undoubtedly be a podium contender in the Supersport class at Dundrod next month; and for me, he is a slight favourite for Supertwin honours, despite the expected presence of TT and Southern 100 champion Ivan Lintin.
It would be a fitting tribute to Burrows' B.E Racing squad after a tough few weeks, and one man who will no doubt be trackside will be Ballyclare's Hamilton, who has stated his intention to return to racing - despite that 170mph horror crash at this year's Isle of Man TT.