Alastair Seeley eyes a title surge
Carrickfergus duo Alastair Seeley and Glenn Irwin will be hoping to re-ignite their British Supersport Championship title aspirations this weekend during round five of the series at Brands Hatch in Kent.
Irwin came out of the blocks with an unexpected opening day victory for new team Gearlink Kawasaki back in April, and the youngster has settled into a top five position, as predicted, following eight consecutive points scoring finishes.
But former champion Seeley's season has been punctuated with underpowered performances that included a rookie mistake at Snetterton, where he embarrassingly crashed on the warm-up lap.
The Mar-Train Racing pilot – who is currently 50 points adrift of series leader Billy McConnell – was mature enough to poke fun at himself, saying afterwards: "At least I've now ticked that box for falling off on a warm-up lap!"
Last time out at Knockhill, Seeley again struggled on the Mar-Train Yamaha, this time with his starts, not helped by corner entry problems, which kept him well adrift of the all-important podium positions.
Not one to let a couple of bad results restrict his progress, the former double British champion and 12-times NW200 winner spent a day testing for the Saintfield-based team at Kirkistown just last week. And after re-building his confidence on track, with some precious team-building time thrown in alongside crew chief Andy Jamison, he's ready to reload at Brands Hatch today and tomorrow.
"It's been a difficult few rounds for us," said Seeley. "But the team has put in a big effort for me and just last week I was able to complete 80 laps of Kirkistown on the Mar-Train Yamaha."
Recounting his day, he added: "Andy has great work ethic and a big passion for the sport, which really inspired me on the bike last week. I think we completed 75 per cent of the laps on lap record pace and more importantly my starts are back to where they should be."
Looking ahead to Brands, he concluded: "We may have to make a few chassis and suspension tweaks at Brands but Dean (Harrison) proved at the Southern 100 how fast the wee Yamaha is.
"It's just a matter of getting stuck in now and start closing down Billy (McConnell) and these Triumph boys in the title chase."
The opening 12-lap Supersport race will be screened live on Eurosport today at 5.15pm, with race two tomorrow over 18-laps at 3.40pm.