Young Aghadowey prospect Eunan McGlinchey is on the fast track to becoming Northern Ireland’s next big star of the future.
The 20-year-old Team 109 Kawasaki rider made it back-to-back wins in the Pirelli National Superstock 600 Championship at Knockhill in Scotland at the weekend, giving him the title lead for the first time this season.
McGlinchey took the Junior Supersport Championship by storm last year, chalking up eight victories in his maiden season in Britain.
At the end-of-year Sunflower Trophy meeting at Bishopscourt in County Down last October, he showed his potential with a sensational ride in the Supertwin class.
Riding the 650cc McAdoo Kawasaki for the very first time, McGlinchey finished third behind top names Glenn Irwin and Jeremy McWilliams, only 0.6 seconds back.
He also set a new lap record for the class to boot, earning high praise from his illustrious rivals.
That performance in October last year was one of the big talking points at the Sunflower meeting, but young McGlinchey took it all in his stride.
Confident in his own ability without being cocky, the Northern Ireland lad made the step up to the Superstock 600 class for 2019.
After a steady start, McGlinchey – riding 600cc machinery for the first time – quickly found his feet with a runner-up finish at Oulton Park in round two.
However, he has really hit his stride in the past two races at Brands Hatch and Knockhill, twice getting the better of Ballynahinch’s Korie McGreevy – another promising young rider – after two thrilling battles to the finish.
A fast learner with an abundance of natural talent, McGlinchey is making rapid progress up the racing ladder and with a fantastic team behind him, he is a rider that could go on to big things in the coming years.
His young team-mate, Bangor’s Curtis Trimble, also had a fine weekend at Knockhill, where the teenager won his first race of the season the Junior Supersport class and also finished on the podium in third place.
The British championship is awash with gifted young riders from Northern Ireland making their presence felt on the big stage, which is testament to this country’s proud tradition of punching above its weight when it comes to producing top-class motorcycling talent.
There was a lot to celebrate from a home perspective at Knockhill at the weekend, but one massive downside was the setback suffered by popular Clogher man Keith Farmer.
Now based in England, Farmer crashed during the wet Bennetts British Superbike qualifying session on Saturday afternoon.
The 31-year-old had earned himself his first front row start of the season in second position on the Tyco BMW before he went down with minutes remaining.
Farmer became entangled with his S1000RR and he sustained bilateral fractures of both lower legs in the incident.
It was a cruel blow for the Ulster rider, who appeared to be on the cusp of a big result.
Farmer worked hard to earn his chance again in BSB, winning the National Superstock 1000 title last year for the Moneymore team to secure his ride in the feature class alongside Christian Iddon.
The four-time British champion now faces a spell on the sidelines, while Stockport man Iddon is also out of action after breaking his lower left leg following a crash in Sunday’s second race.
Team boss Philip Neill may have some big decisions to make with the next round of the championship less than three weeks’ away.
The last time the Tyco BMW team finished in the Showdown was back in 2015, when Michael Laverty ended the season in fourth.
This latest blow for BMW Motorrad’s official representatives in the championship could not have come at a worse time as the TAS Racing squad strives to force its way back amongst BSB’s elite.
One plus for the team at the weekend was Andy Reid’s podium return in the Superstock 1000 class. The Jordanstown rider has been hampered by injury in recent seasons and hopefully he will be able to build on that performance going forward.
It was also good to see Andrew Irwin fighting back to seal a hard-earned fifth place in the second BSB race on the Honda Racing Fireblade after crashing out in the opener.
The Carrick man has been grinding away this season after making the switch to Honda from Paul Bird’s PBM Ducati team.
It’s sometimes easy to forget that Irwin is only competing in his first full season in BSB, but he is at present the top Northern Ireland rider in the championship standings in ninth place, 26 points outside the top-six Showdown places.
His brother, Glenn, finished third in the Showdown last year but has struggled to repeat that form on the Quattro Plant Kawasaki.
A proven rider, something isn’t quite clicking for Glenn at the moment and time is running out if he’s to make it into the Showdown again this year.
Hopefully, he will soon be able to show what he is capable of on the ZX-10RR.