Ir­winan­gryafter­be­ing left­to­la­pup­scrap­sas qual­i­fyingis­cut­short

Belfast Telegraph - - SPORT - BY PE­TER SIMP­SON

A FRUS­TRATED Glenn Ir­win felt he was the big loser yes­ter­day as the Bri­tish Su­per­bike rider was lim­ited to a hand­ful of laps on his Du­cati.

Ir­win was fourth fastest on the Ital­ian ma­chine af­ter set­ting a speed of 113.452mph, but last year’s fea­ture NW200 Su­per­bike race win­ner was clearly un­happy af­ter only com­plet­ing three laps at rac­ing speed.

The Su­per­bike qual­i­fy­ing ses­sion was halted af­ter ap­prox­i­mately 20 min­utes fol­low­ing a two-rider crash at Univer­sity cor­ner.

Event Direc­tor Mervyn Whyte said he in­tended to try and run the re­main­der of the ses­sion fol­low­ing prac­tice for the Su­per­twins and Su­per­stock classes prior to the roads open­ing time of 3pm, but the idea was later shelved as the clock ticked down.

Ir­win is con­cen­trat­ing solely on the Su­per­bike races at the in­ter­na­tional meet­ing, whereas key ri­vals such as Alas­tair See­ley and Michael Dun­lop are com­pet­ing in sev­eral classes and had the ad­van­tage of much more time on track yes­ter­day.

The Car­rick­fer­gus man ac­cepts that he won’t have the op­por­tu­nity to com­plete as many qual­i­fy­ing laps in to­tal com­pared to his chief chal­lengers, but Ir­win feels the op­por­tu­nity ex­isted yes­ter­day to com­plete at least two more laps on his Du­cati Su­per­bike af­ter the Su­per­stock ses­sion.

“We could have gone out and done an out lap and then a lap, so be­ing hon­est with you, I’d be bet­ter off at the Snet­ter­ton BSB test — that’s the way I see it,” Ir­win said.

“I’m only rid­ing the Su­per­bike but you shouldn’t have to ride in other classes to be able to get enough laps for the re­quired amount around here to be safe enough.

“They ex­pect you to come here and put on a show for ev­ery­one on Satur­day, but three laps on a damp­ish track ear­lier? We could eas­ily do two laps around here now, which would take 10 min­utes. I should have went to the gym to­day.

“It’s ridicu­lous. Why not even do a lap, two laps now — you could even test the sta­bil­ity of your bike. It’s just stupid.”

Ir­win will now be pray­ing for a dry day to­mor­row as he bids to make up for lost time ahead of Satur­day’s two seven-lap fea­ture Su­per­bike races.

He edged out 21-time win­ner See­ley in a sen­sa­tional fi­nale last year for his maiden vic­tory at the North West and ad­mits the buzz of win­ning that day re­mained with him for a long time af­ter­wards.

“The buzz of this place doesn’t leave you and it has lin­gered around me all year, which I won’t com­plain about. It’s only re­ally now that the nerves start to come but that is why we do this — we’re a dif­fer­ent breed,” said Ir­win.

“This place is just fan­tas­tic and I have done a lot of study­ing over the past week but I didn’t re­ally want to think about it too much un­til af­ter Oul­ton Park.

“I’ve re­ally worked hard and I have no­ticed where other rid­ers are stronger than me but also where I’m strong my­self.

“I need to get my brain up to speed and try and chip away and be there on Satur­day.

“There are so many rid­ers in with a shout, all the top road rac­ers and the likes of Pe­ter Hickman, plus Michael Rut­ter — who I’ve looked up to as a kid — they’re all here and some oth­ers will throw their names into the hat as well.”

CON TIN­UED FROM BACK

Since that fate­ful 2008 event, Michael has won four more North West 200 races and will be keen to add to them in the same way as dad Robert who set a NW wins record of 15, since over­taken by Alas­tair See­ley, now on 21.

Michael showed yes­ter­day that he is here to win races and has the tools for the job in race win­ning bikes and teams, Tyco BMW and MD Rac­ing with Carl Cox.

Fol­low­ing the open­ing New-

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