Motorcycle racing is a family thing in Northern Ireland with such names as Dunlop, Robinson and Rea making themselves household names.
Not to be outdone, Carrrick boasts the Irwin family, who in the past, and now in the present day, have performed at the sharp end of the sport.
The head of the family, dad Alan, was a multi-Ulster and Irish champion in the 1980s and ‘90s, but since retiring in 1996 he has mentored his three sons Glenn, Graeme and Andrew to the very top of British Championship racing.
By the end of the forthcoming season the boys could create their own special place in racing history as they chase British Championship honours. And in current form, they have every chance of lifting the titles they crave to become the first three brothers ever to win British Championships in the same season.
The eldest of the trio is Glenn who finished fourth with five wins to his name at last year’s British Supersport championship. He knows 2015 will be a different ball game altogether as he starts the season as one of the favourites for the title.
“Last year was what I needed after the previous season when things just didn’t work out. When I joined Gearlink Kawasaki in 2014 I found my form again and, all in all, it was a good year with race wins and a fourth in the series. Pre-season testing has gone well so far and, with a brand new Gearlink Kawasaki for 2015, I am looking forward to the challenge.”
Graeme Irwin recently returned from testing in the California where he put the Heads and All Threads Suzuki GB MX1 bike through it’s paces, alongside getting married to his fiancé, Brooke. “I can’t complain, everything went perfect in the States. I got married and had a good preparation for the new season. I missed third in the British by one point last year and that hurt,” he said.
“I have been racing on the British scene for seven seasons and I feel like a veteran these days but this year everything is going good and I am carrying no injuries, which means a lot. Hopefully on Sunday at Hilton Park, Wolverhampton, the opening round of the series I can make a strong start to the season and carry on from there.”
The youngest of the Irwins is Andrew and at 20 he has already made his mark on the British 600 Superstock series putting the MWR Kawasaki on the rostrum twice.
“I had a lot of crashes in 2014 finishing only five races out of 12, but I know I am fast enough and with the MWR Kawasaki being better this time around I believe I can do the job in 2015,” he said.
“I need podiums from the start of the season but I won’t be happy unless I win races throughout the year.”
‘History made as Irwin brothers lift British titles’. Now that would be a great headline come the end of the 2015 season.
The final word must go to the boss, Alan. “I think all three can win but I always say to the boys, enjoy your racing and make it fun,” he said. “That was my attitude when I raced and I reckon that’s why I raced for so long.”