Irish motorcycle racing keeps producing young, talented riders with the potential to reach the top levels of the sport - and in 19-year-old Eunan McGlinchey from Aghadowey, another appears to have been unearthed.
Having only taken part in short circuit racing from June 2016, after participating in schoolboy and adult motocross, McGlinchey has taken to tarmac action like a duck to water.
In the season just finished, McGlinchey was crowned Irish Production Twin champion after taking 18 wins, won the Masters Production Twin series after tasting victory in 15 of the 19 races on his Suzuki SV650cc machine, won the Masters Supersport Cup with 10 wins, six seconds and a sixth in the 19 races, and also won the Ulster Supersport Cup series on his standard Suzuki 600cc machine.
Mixing it with the best Supersport competitors, McGlinchey also finished fourth in the main Masters Supersport class, which was won by Jason Lynn, and in the final round at Mondello Park he scored a third, first and second in the three races.
He also made forays across the Irish Sea to take part in a few Thundersport GB rounds to gain experience on the English circuits and to test his competitiveness.
In the Supertwin class he took a win and two thirds at Cadwell Park at the end of May and, at Oulton Park in September, he slid off in race one but redeemed himself in race two with a fine second place. And, at the Cheshire circuit in the Elite 600cc class, McGlinchey finished a creditable seventh and ninth on his standard Suzuki 600 in the highly competitive Supersport class.
McGlinchey said: "Not for one second did I think that I would be finishing the season having achieved so much and having great fun learning so much at the same time.
"I had some great race battles in both the Production Twin and Supersport classes, pushing myself to the limit all season. As well as my Championship success, I also now hold the lap records in the Supersport Cup class at the National and International track at Mondello Park and at Bishopscourt, while in the Production Twin class I broke the lap record at all the tracks both north and south.
"This has all been achieved with the help of my large family circle and my girlfriend Shannon."
Plans for 2018 will centre on the Thundersport GB series, with a few wildcard outings in the Superstock 600cc class at BSB level, finances permitting - and any help would be gratefully appreciated.
To cap off a tremendous season, McGlinchey was one of seven young riders who went head-to-head at Mondello Park on November 1 with the target of securing the Masters Young Racer of the Year award, worth €12,000 to the winner to help advance their career in 2018. The other six nominated riders were Rhys Irwin, Jason Lynn, Graham Whitmore, Brendan Glover, Ross Patterson and Aaron Clifford. The winner will be announced on November 18 at Westgrove Hotel, Clane, Kildare.
• It has been announced that three-time Ulster Grand Prix winner and five-time podium finisher at the TT in 2017, Peter Hickman, will remain with the Smiths BMW Team for an assault on the 2018 BSB Championship and the International road races.
Hickman will be joined in the BSB series by Frenchman Sylvain Barrier, who spent 2017 racing in America.