Star Kawasaki duo aim to shine at Sunflower meeting
British Supersport regular Andrew Irwin will spearhead Gearlink Kawasaki's efforts at the Sunflower Trophy Races on October 22 at Bishopscourt, where he will be hoping to take his first victory for the team after a strong second half to the British championship season.
The 21-year-old took fourth and third places in the Supersport races at the Sunflower last season as a team-mate to his brother Glenn, who won both middleweight encounters for Gearlink.
But now that Glenn has moved to the British Superbike class with BeWiser Ducati, and will concentrate his efforts on winning the main Sunflower Trophy for the first time, it will be left to young Andrew to keep the family tradition going in the 600cc class.
"Glenn has won the last four Supersport races at the Sunflower, so the pressure is now on for me to keep the Irwin name on the top step and also the Gearlink Kawasaki," said the youngster, who narrowly missed out on a debut British Supersport podium at Assen in the Netherlands a fortnight ago.
"Last year was great fun at the Sunflower and we capped it off with a podium in the second race. But after a season riding British Supersport and coming to the event on the same Gearlink Kawasaki that I ride on a regular basis, we can do an even better job this time," said the hard charging Carrickfergus rider.
Irwin will be joined in the Gearlink Kawasaki team at the Sunflower by Lisburn's Carl Phillips, who will be getting his first taste of full-on British Supersport machinery under the watchful eye of team owners Michael and Norma de Bidaph.
Phillips has learned a lot riding the Sandown Racing Kawasaki for well-respected local sponsor Sandy McCutcheon this season, but is delighted, if not a little shell-shocked, that the Gearlink opportunity has come along.
"I won't take my eye off the ball this weekend in the Stock 600 class in England, and although the championship is now out of my hands, I will remain fully focused on that," explained the 22-year-old, who trails series leader Jordan Weaving by 21 points with just one race remaining on Sunday.
Looking ahead to the Sunflower he said: "The goal would be to ride with Gearlink next season alongside Andrew in the British Supersport Championship. I've got to put on a good show and that means winning races at the Sunflower. It's going to be fun."
James East will also ride for the Gearlink Kawasaki squad at the Sunflower in the Superbike class.