Carrickfergus lad Glenn Irwin will follow in the footsteps of his famous father Alan, when he makes his Ulster Grand Prix debut at Dundrod this August.
The 24-year-old is one of the leading contenders in this year's British Supersport Championship, but will debut a VRS Racing Kawasaki in the Supertwin class at Dundrod – replacing the injured Jamie Hamilton.
Irwin, who won the opening British Supersport race of the season at Brands Hatch and currently holds fifth place in the standings with Gearlink Kawasaki, is delighted to be making his debut at the famous Dundrod circuit.
"I've always been interested in road racing and I've been wanting to have a go now for quite a few years," said Irwin, whose request for a North West 200 ride last year was embargoed by his former team boss at Mar-Train Racing, Tim Martin.
Irwin candidly admitted that he didn't feel the opportunity would present itself again this year, but thanked his Gearlink team and of course VRS team owner Robbie Sylvester for the opportunity.
"I have to admit, I did think it would probably be too difficult to organise, so I would like to thank Gearlink and Kawasaki UK for allowing me to take this opportunity," said Irwin respectfully.
"I think now is a good time for me to start, especially in the Supertwin class, as they are slightly slower than the bigger bikes but still really competitive."
Looking ahead to the UGP and the famous 7.4-mile Dundrod Circuit, the youngster smiled and said: "The Ulster Grand Prix is the road race I most enjoy as a spectator, but it will all be totally new to me when I race there when August comes around.
"I've never even ridden a bike on the road, so it will be very different to the short circuits. You have to have your wits about you, but I'm excited to give it a go," he added.
Realistic on his aspirations, he concluded: "It's hard to say how things will go, but I think if I start with the right attitude and do my homework, then there's no reason why a short circuit rider like myself can't be successful on the roads."
Noel Johnston, Clerk of the Course at the Metzeler Ulster Grand Prix, said: "We are all looking forward to seeing Glenn out on track at Dundrod.
"He's proven what a talent he is on the 600cc machines and his dad was a great road racer himself, so hopefully it runs in the family."
Ulster Grand Prix Bike Week runs from August 11–16, with information including event wristbands and grandstand seating available online at www.ulstergrandprix.net.