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Patience key for Mitchell-Thomas: Irwin

By Paul Lindsay

BeWiser Ducati British Superbike star Glenn Irwin posted a Supersport podium on his debut at last year's Vauxhall International North West 200 and the Carrickfergus ace has offered a few words of wisdom for one of this year's leading newcomers, Cookstown B.E Racing's Malachi Mitchell-Thomas.

Irwin, who isn't competing at this year's event as his team decided to concentrate on the British series, was trackside yesterday and said: "I think Malachi is a great rider, but I wasn't aware that his goal was to match my podium as a newcomer this year."

Looking over the opening practice session timesheets, Irwin was keen to offer friendly advice to 20-year-old Bolton lad Mitchell-Thomas.

"He may be disappointed with 15th on day one in the Supersport class qualifying, but he needs to look around him and see the international stars that he's riding with and understand - and I say this with respect - that he's not racing on the national scene," said Irwin.

"I know he has said he wants to win here, or even equal what I did with a Supersport podium, but my goal last year in this sort of company was a top 12.

"I do rate him, but without sounding big-headed, I was riding at the sharp end of British Supersport when I came here last year and that helped me.

"He will be a star of the future and he's already made a lot of fans in Ireland, but my advice would be to enjoy the experience; let the races come to him and for me if he does that, I can see him being top 10 in Supersport and top five in Supertwin.

"This was a good day for me until Ben (Wilson) crashed and broke his femur. That brought home to me how quick your season can be over, but he's in good spirits regardless and is already talking about coming back."

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