Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 27 November 2014

Motorcycling: Lowry on fast learning curve

Relentless Suzuki’s British Superbike star Ian Lowry wants that winning feeling in the Sunflower Trophy race this weekend.

A quietly confident Lowry insisted: “If I don’t win the main race this weekend I’ll be disappointed.”

The Moira lad has just completed four years as part of Hector and Philip Neill’s TAS Racing set-up in the British championship paddock; but up until 2008, the 23-year-old former chef from Moira, had played understudy to the likes Michael Laverty and Tom Sykes in the British Supersport class.

It was an important education, but this season Lowry had to grow up very quickly, taking on the unofficial role as team number one, when his Japanese team-mate Atsushi Watanabe failed to show any sort of racing pedigree.

It was a difficult task for Lowry, who was not only trying to master a Superbike, but also his rookie season in BSB’s premier class.

At times he showed flashes of brilliance, none less than in the final race of the season at Oulton Park, taking a fine fourth place.

To do that, he took the scalp of Crescent Suzuki’s former MotoGP rider Sylvain Guintoli — a feather in the cap for Lowry and a master stroke for team boss Philip Neill over his main Suzuki rivals.

“I beat Guintoli and two days later he gets a World Superbike ride,” shrugged Lowry.

“The world is ‘ill–divide’. He gets a WSB ride and I’ll probably be out buying myself new chef’s whites the way things are going,” joked the Moira man.

On track, Lowry is a hard charging all-action pilot; off it, he’s a fast taking expressive kid, with an intensity in his eyes that demands your full attention — when you can get his.

He doesn’t suffer fools, but at only 23, has a shyness that can be misinterpreted at times.

He finished the 2009 BSB season as the series’ top rookie in fifth place, and holds high hopes for his future.

He said: “My job description was to finish top 12 this year in BSB and I’ve achieved that, so I’ll be disappointed if I can’t stay with Relentless Suzuki next year — but in this game you have to keep your options open.”

Alastair Seeley, who recently won the British Superstock title for Relentless Suzuki, will ride a Superbike alongside Ian at Bishopscourt this weekend, but he will have a third team-mate on the grid: Michael Laverty.

“Yeah, Michael is coming back and we all know how good he is at the Sunflower, and Alastair will be hard to beat the way he’s been riding, but I think I should start favourite. I don’t mean to sound big-headed by saying that, but I’ve been riding the bike all year in BSB and I’m really confident for the Sunflower.”

He continued: “If anything I think John Laverty will be the man the beat. John’s been going really well all year on the Kawasaki and I know he’s hungry for it. There are lots of good riders in the entry and I know it will be tough — I just hope we can put a good race on for the spectators.”

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