Carrick’s Glenn Irwin picked up where he left off at the North West 200 by turning plenty of heads with a sensational ride to nail down pole position for Saturday’s Supertwin race at the Metzeler Ulster Grand Prix.
Irwin was a revelation on his debut at the North West in May as the 26-year-old pushed Alastair Seeley all the way in the Supersport class, earning a stunning runner-up finish in the second race after breaking down in the opener while battling for the lead.
The British Supersport Championship title contender made his road racing debut last year at Dundrod and impressed by taking fifth in the Supertwins race, but Irwin has staked his claim as a potential winner on his return to the fastest road race in the world, where he is filling in for the injured Jamie Hamilton in John Burrows’ Cookstown/BE Racing team on the Kawasaki ER6.
Irwin, who sealed a superb second row start on the Gearlink Kawasaki in the Supersport class after qualifying sixth, came through late to knock Lightweight TT winner Ivan Lintin off the top spot on the RC Express Kawasaki.
The bubbly Ulsterman lapped at 117.994mph to clinch pole by 0.6 seconds from last year’s runaway winner Lintin, with James Cowton third, 4.4 seconds back on Stewart Smith’s Kawasaki.
Dan Cooper, Paul Jordan from Magherafelt and Irish Supertwins champion Derek McGee form up row two.
Irwin has caused a stir since making his transition to road racing in 2014 and revealed his progress hasn’t gone unnoticed in the British championship paddock.
“The guys in the British paddock like Jake Dixon and Kyle Ryde were saying ‘you are mental on the brakes!’ But they were saying fair play and they think it’s awesome,” he said.
“But the reaction from sponsors too has been brilliant and towards next year I want to be riding in British Superbikes and if people know you can be winning at the North West and Ulster, it can help with some contracts.
“If you come with the right attitude and put the effort in it pays off. I’m only thinking about the Ulster Grand Prix this week and Cadwell Park isn’t in my thoughts at all,” he added.
“I do my homework a day or two before the event so that everything is fresh and I can’t wait to get going on Saturday, I really can’t wait.”