Young Northern Ireland prospects Carl Phillip and Andrew Irwin will form an all-Ulster line-up for MWR Kawasaki in this year’s Pirelli National Superstock 600 Championship.
Irwin is entering his second spell with the team in the class, while Irish Supersport and Adelaide Masters champion Phillips is preparing for his first full season in the series.
Mark Webster’s Hillsborough-based team is fielding its strongest challenge yet in the 600cc championship and Irwin, whose older brother Glenn is one of the favourites for the Supersport crown this year on the Gearlink Kawasaki, is confident of staking his claim for the title on the MWR Kawasaki ZX6R.
“I am very pleased to announce that I will continue with MWR Motorsports for a second season,” said the 20-year-old Carrick rider.
“The team have made a few key personnel additions and I feel this is the perfect place for me to be to fight for the title - credit to Mark Webster.
“I am training harder than ever, nobody wants it more than me this year. I hope to repay my loyal personal sponsors MET Healthcare, John Seawright, Aquarius Couriers Bazzaz, MoMe Racing Composites and team sponsors Pawson Commercials and Spur UK because without them none of this would be possible.”
Irwin finished 11th overall in 11th championship in 2014 and clinched a brilliant runner-up finish at Silverstone in October after taking his maiden podium in the summer with a fine third place at Brands Hatch.
Phillips, meanwhile, is preparing for the biggest season of his career to date and is desperate to capitalise on the opportunity after showcasing his talent on home soil last season, winning the Irish Supersport Championship and securing the coveteted Adelaide Masters crown in the 600cc class.
“It’s great and I am delighted to get the opportunity to ride for MWR Motorsports. I have been training hard over the last few months and can’t wait for the season to start,” said the Lisburn man.
“I have new personal sponsors onboard as well as those who have been supporting me through the last few years. Without them this would not happen.
“I know I have the pace to run at the front in this class and am ready for the most important season yet for me.”
Team owner Webster, himself a former racer who is now committed to developing young talent, believes Irwin will emerge as a serious contender for the title this year and is also quietly confident of Phillips’ prospects.
“With a full season under his belt with the MWR squad, Andrew showed last year that he has the pace to fight for race wins. This season he is one year on, a much wiser and complete rider and I am convinced he will be a championship contender,” he said.
“Carl is every bit as focused and will not want to be overshadowed by his fellow countryman. Every year there is a rider in this class that no one takes in to account as a championship challenger and I believe that this year, Carl is that one.
“I am brimming with excitement to see what these two young guns can produce. It will create a lot of interest back home in Northern Ireland with two of the brightest young prospects around, on the same bike, in the same team going for the same championship will make for some fantastic racing,” he added.
“We are throwing everything we have in to these two this year, with the aim of taking that championship. Everyone is as focused as each other in putting the team in a position to realise it’s full potential with the continued support of team sponsors Spur UK and Pawson Commercials.”
The opening round of the MCE British Superbike Championship takes place at Brands Hatch from April 4-6.