Irwin aiming to race back to the top
Carrickfergus ace Glenn Irwin would be the first to admit that the use of superlatives to describe the first half of his 2013 British Supersport campaign have not been necessary.
The former double Irish Supersport champion joined Lisburn-based Mar-Train Racing with huge expectations and aspirations during the winter but, following a high speed crash during pre-season testing in Spain, has as yet simply failed to fulfil his true potential.
With changes afoot, following a disastrous weekend last time out at Brands Hatch in July, the youngster explained his team's plan to resurrect his ailing season – beginning this weekend at Oulton Park. "The first half of this year has been a massive disappointment for me," said the 23-year-old.
"As a matter of fact that's even an under-statement," he added candidly.
"Last year I wasn't on as good a bike as the Mar-Train package but we had everything sorted and working well, and I put that down to working with Craig Fitzpatrick, who obviously raced and knew how to set up a bike to my liking.
"That brings confidence and that's how results come. So Tim (Martin) has agreed to let me bring in my old crew chief (Darren) 'Spider' (Maisey) from my CN Racing days to help me."
Tim and Sonya Martin's Mar-Train team narrowly missed out on winning the British Supersport Championship last season with Dubliner Jack Kennedy, only for a mechanical issue – their first of the year – to cruelly rob them of the title on the final day at Brands Hatch.
But having secured the signatures of Irwin – regarded by many as one of the hottest raw talents in British championship racing – and former champion and world level competitor Stuart Easton, everything was directed towards success.
Barring one major blip at Snetterton in July, where an out of sorts Easton relinquished top spot, and 40 points, in the series to Gearlink Kawasaki's Alastair Seeley, everything has been going according to plan in the Mar-Train camp.
Well, apart from a certain tempestuous Mr Irwin.
"Last year I was almost a full second quicker at Brands in free practice than I was this year in qualifying with Mar-Train," Irwin highlighted analytically.
"I really have put a big effort into the first six rounds, but I've struggled to ride the bike to the team's settings.
"I did try to adapt to the set-up, but it's taken away my strong points and dented my confidence.
"Tim knows me better than anyone else and knows I'm not riding to my full potential, but he's one hundred per cent behind me bringing Darren (Maisey) in.
"So hopefully it's onwards and upwards from here."
Fellow Carrickfergus rider Alastair Seeley currently leads the championship by 40 points and firmly believes more wins are there for the taking at the Cheshire venue on Sunday.
"My aim is for another double win," explained the confident Gearlink Kawasaki rider.
"Last time we raced at Oulton both races went down to the wire on the last corner of the last lap, and I don't expect this weekend to be any different," he added.