Belfast Telegraph

Irwin is favourite for Sunflower a after record lap

By Paul Liindsay

Glenn Irwin obliterated the outright lap record at Bishopscourt during yesterday's Superbike qualifying for the 36th Annual Sunflower Trophy Races.

The BeWiser Ducati British Superbike star has now set himself up as firm favourite to land the famous trophy for the first time in his career at the County Down venue today.

Irwin, who has never ridden a Superbike before at Bishopscourt, shaved almost a second off the outright lap record in yesterday's second qualifying session with a phenomenal lap time of one minute, 5.217 seconds.

Speaking of his pole position time, which was 0.8 seconds quicker than second-placed man on the grid Christian Iddon - who was also under the existing lap record on his Bishopscourt debut with Tyco BMW with one minute, 6.003 seconds - the Carrickfergus rider was delighted.

"I was so relaxed; probably more so than I have been lately in BSB, and with that relaxed and confident attitude, I didn't overthink it," said Irwin, whose brother Andrew will start on pole in the Supersport class on a Gearlink Kawasaki.

"It was good to show how I can ride a bike. You always want more as a racer. That's just normal, and on my first quick lap, which was one minute 5.5 seconds, I messed up turns one and two and also the hairpin.

"I was actually going to abandon the lap, and even on my pole lap I caught Cody (Nally) at the hairpin and ran a bit wide which cost me a bit of time."

Looking ahead, he added: "For me to find more in the second session than both Christian (Iddon) and Danny (Buchan) was the most pleasing part, and although Christian has never ridden here before, I also have no Superbike experience at Bishopscourt.

"I'm ready to race now. The Ducati is a tough bike to get off the line, but I'll be aggressive in the opening laps. I'll sleep well knowing I have the pace now to win. We just need to finish the job off, but it certainly will not be a formality."

Iddon, who finished the day in second place, was complimentary of the Bishopscourt venue.

He said: "It's a great little track and very enjoyable to ride. To be under the existing lap record is all we could have asked for, which gets us on the front row. Saturday is the important day and I'm ready to give it a good go on the Tyco BMW."

Reigning champion Danny Buchan (one minute, 6.347 seconds), Nico Mawhinney (one minute, 7.415 seconds) on the Polaris Kawasaki and Gearlink Kawasaki's James East (one minute, 7.762 seconds) round out the Sunflower Trophy front row.

And with Glenn in red-hot form and Andrew starting on pole in the Supersport class, it could be a great day for the Irwin family. The action gets under way today at 9am.

Belfast Telegraph


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