Belfast Telegraph

Irwin aims to be the daddy in BSB

By Paul Lindsay

Glenn Irwin is as eager and animated as they come when talking bikes, but the Carrick ace also has the perfect way to escape from the pressures of racing as well.

Irwin has been following a tough physical training programme and mastering mind management skills in the winter months, but the 27-year-old British Superbike pilot told us that spending time with his nine-month-old son Freddie is the best form of relaxation and keeps his busy feet firmly on the ground.

"Playing daddy day care with Freddie is great for taking my mind off racing," smiled Irwin, who is about to get his second year of racing in the British Superbike Championship under way in the all-conquering PBM BeWiser Ducati team this weekend at Donington Park, riding alongside four time BSB champion Shane 'Shakey' Byrne.

Well known for his physical training prowess and ripped physique, Irwin leaves no stone unturned in his pursuit of greatness on the racing front, but the wise-cracking happy-go-lucky Ulsterman is first and foremost enjoying life as a new dad to little Freddie.

"I'm very lucky to have both Laura and Freddie, and now that she's back to work it has given me even more time to spend and bond with him. It's great," said the doting young dad, who is fully aware that the honeymoon period is now over in the highly charged BSB series, where he scored two podiums last season as a rookie.

"I'm more determined than ever," he explained. "Since Freddie has come along I don't stress about things as much as I did. But I was never one for over-analysing things day and night like some do," added Irwin, who admits to not being over technically minded, preferring to leave that job to the laptop and spanner experts in his factory Ducati team's garage.

"I've never been one to over-think things and get too involved in the technical stuff. Recently I've been hearing all this talk about bike throttle connection. If I'm honest I don't know what they mean by bike throttle connection," he said honestly, if not poking a little fun at some of his over-anxious rivals.

"For me every bike is a little different and you adjust accordingly. I have great people around me at PBM and they make bike changes based on my debriefs - that's how much I trust them. I just ride the bike," he said simply.

"I haven't a clue what springs are in my bike or what the ride height is. I don't want to over-complicate things. I know riders who race at the sharp end and hardly change a setting from one round to the next once they find a decent base setting.

"If you are going around the houses with set-up you only torture yourself," he said frankly.

Looking ahead to the 2017 campaign and round one this weekend at the famous Donington Park venue in Leicestershire - adjacent to East Midlands Airport - Irwin is under no illusions that he must deliver as current champion Byrne's wing-man.

"It seems like forever since we were testing in Spain, but you don't forget how to ride a bike, and despite all these times that you hear coming from the early tests, it will still be the same guys at the front with maybe one or two pushing through," he said, obviously not accepting the PR hype being slung by some rival teams.

"I want to be one of those new names challenging Shakey and Haslam at the front and making the step forward," he said resolutely.

"It's probably the strongest season ever in BSB in terms of talent, with (2015 champion) Brookes back, (2014 World Superbike champion) Sylvain Guintoli joining Suzuki, Giugliano coming to the series with the TAS boys and Laverty and Ellison also in there.

"Add to that Shakey, Leon (Haslam), Jason O'Halloran and the likes of Iddon and Mossey - wow, it's going to be some championship," he enthused.

"The goal has to be top six and make the Showdown," he said.

"I don't want to be happy fighting for just top 10. We need to find consistent pace and get in amongst the old guard and make a name for ourselves.

"I know I can do it," he smiled widely, as young Freddie gurgled with approval in the background.

Belfast Telegraph

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