Mar-Train Racing’s fired up new signing Glenn Irwin demonstrated his obvious desire for success in the upcoming British Supersport Championship by shedding almost 5kg over the festive season.
And the Carrick rider also has aspirations of making his debut at the Vauxhall International North West 200 in May.
At just over 11st and standing a tad over 6ft in ‘old money’, the 22-year-old Carrick lad was anything but overweight, but as he explained, his total focus is on winning this season’s British Supersport Championship — and stripping off those final kilos is just part of a much bigger plan.
“Being given the chance to ride for Mar-Train Racing this season has really motivated me and all the banter from Alastair Seeley (below) about our so-called rivalry has also given me a very big incentive,” he said, after completing yet another gruelling workout at the Sports Institute of Northern Ireland at Jordanstown.
Irwin won last year’s British Supersport Cup Championship as a rookie in the class, but having now secured a factory-supported Yamaha ride with Tim and Sonya Martin’s Temple-based team, he firmly believes he can challenge for the main British middleweight title.
“I finished ninth last year as a rookie, and really that should have been seventh.
“Looking ahead I’d say top three would be fantastic, but I really want to win it and believe with the support of Mar-Train Racing, Yamaha and even my sport specific programme set out by SINI, I can be a championship contender,” said the former double Irish Supersport champion.
Looking over the plethora of main contenders, he added: “How can anyone really predict who will win it?
“I know Alastair (Seeley) has bantered me about this year, but I’m not going to retaliate.
“There are seven or eight others all very capable and I’d go as far to say it will be as difficult for Glen Richards to retain his title, as it will be for me to win it.”
And 2012 was a big year for Mar-Train Racing who lost out on the title in their debut season with Dubliner Jack Kennedy on the final day.
But having secured the services of consummate professional and former champion Stuart Easton and the ebullient Mr Irwin, on paper they have an even stronger package than before.
Mar-Train has also recruited former Irish Superbike champion Kirk Jamison into an advisory role to assist Irwin, who has the utmost respect for his former rival.
“With the greatest respect to anyone, there is no better racing mentor than my dad,” he said, referring to his father Alan a former multiple Irish champion.
“But I have a lot of respect for Kirk and he will be great to have around, as he is a good motivator and perfect for advice and also a positive word here and there on the grid before races.”
On his potential North West 200 debut, he concluded: “I’ve spoken to Tim about it and I know he has discussed it with Mervyn Whyte.
“It’s not my main focus and I don’t want to be harping on about it.
“We’ll just see what happens closer to the time.”