MCE British Superbike sensation Glenn Irwin says he is now reaping the rewards of his measured approach to his rookie season in the class on the Be Wiser Ducati.
The Carrick man earned a dream ride in Paul Bird’s factory-supported Ducati squad alongside four-time champion Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne this season after impressing in the British Supersport Championship and Irwin has stepped up to the plate, clinching a stunning podium with an excellent ride to third place at Thruxton.
The 27-year-old Ulsterman proved it was no flash in the pan as he followed up with another strong ride to fourth place at Brands Hatch and Irwin feels he is finally finding his groove with the Panigale R Superbike as he looks towards his next outing at the Bank Holiday Monday meeting at Cadwell Park.
Irwin, who became a father for the first time after having a son, Freddie, with girlfriend Laura Magee in July, said: “I think I came in with the right attitude and I was always happy to start off at the beginning of the year slowly. I always said I wanted to try and reach out and grab some big results as the season progressed and to get the podium at Thruxton and then follow up with fourth at Brands Hatch means I’m ahead of schedule.
“At Thruxton, I’d never had a good result before and then I managed to get my debut BSB podium. Cadwell Park is the same – it’s always been a bit of a strange place for me. I’ve won there in the wet but you always base yourself off what you’ve achieved in the dry,” he added.
“I always look forward to going there and hopefully it will be a dry weekend. It’s a different challenge, there’s a lot more to the track and it’s probably the hardest place to go to in year one on a Superbike to try and get a big result.
“I’ll try and learn and absorb as much as I can over the weekend and then come Monday, hopefully we will be in a better place.”
Irwin has made solid progress this season but said there was no eureka moment when everything suddenly fell into place, instead citing the culmination of small improvements as the key to his eye-catching recent form.
“To be truthfully honest, the bike hasn’t changed half as much as what people think while we’ve been developing it this season. Shakey has been quick from the off, although the bike was out of sorts at Silverstone, and then there were some rounds where conditions were half wet and half dry,” Irwin explained.
“It’s only been from when we’ve had the dry weekends that we’ve really been able to up the pace. It’s a new bike obviously this year with the Ducati so we’ve no information from previous years, but we’ve a bike that is more settled now and I’ve been able to make some personal changes to my riding style, which has helped,” he added.
“I was using way too much rear brake so I’ve acted on that and it’s been a massive help to me. It’s been more about little changes more than anything major.”
With the Showdown realistically beyond his reach, Irwin – 12th in the standings with 68 points – is targeting more top-six finishes in the remaining races and says a breakthrough victory would be the icing on the cake before the year is over.
“Obviously I’d like to keep fighting for podiums for the rest of the season but the target has always got to be top six. We’re not going to make the Showdown realistically but if I can keep finishing in and around that top six then that will be perfect.
“I’d love to get a win though. Nobody has ever done it in their first full rookie season; Alastair Seeley did it after he’d done a few rounds at the end of 2009, but as a complete rookie in the 1000cc class it’s never been done: I would love to be that person.”