Donegal based Motorcycle Racing team ‘Irwin Racing’ made an impressive debut in the British National Superstock 600 Championship as the series kicked off at a very wet Donington Park over the weekend of April 1st and 2nd.
Beginning his first full season in the highly competitive category for standard 600cc machines, Caolán Irwin put in a brilliant performance in the race to climb from nineteenth on the starting grid to take tenth place at the flag and outstrip the teams expectations for their maiden weekend at the highest level of British Motorcycle Racing.
The weekend started very wet, which added an extra challenge for the team and rider who were having their first competitive outing with their brand new ‘Oasis Bar’ and ‘Clean Rubber’ backed Yamaha R6. Following two wet practice sessions, qualifying was the first dry running and the first opportunity to find a dry weather set-up. The lack of a proven dry set up meant that the twenty year old struggled for pace and found himself starting nineteenth for the weekend’s only race.
The pressure on the newcomers was increased, when the race was moved at short notice to Saturday evening, instead of Sunday afternoon, due to concerns about the weather. The change of schedule left the team even less time to sort their handling issues prior to the race, but they coped in fine fashion to give their rider a bike which was much more to his liking. Caolán then repaid the teams’ hard work by climbing from the seventh row of the grid to an unexpected top ten finish.
Speaking after his impressive opening performance Caolán said “It was a tough weekend’s racing for the opening event of the season. The cold and wet conditions made setting up my new bike, which is unfamiliar to me, unusually difficult. Free practice went well but technical issues saw me line up 19th on the grid. With hard work from my mechanics, Wesley and Ray, we made some set up changes which made it possible for me to get back on the pace of the frontrunners and fight my way to a top ten finish. I am absolutely delighted with my result as this is my rookie BSB season and I’m looking forward now to Brands Hatch in two weeks time. ”
Caolán Irwin will make a swift return to the British Superbike supporting championship when the series hits Brands Hatch for round two on April 13th & 14th. He will be joined at the Kent Track by team mate Rhys Irwin who will make his debut in the Moto3 Production Championship on his Motorcycling Ireland backed Honda.