TT 2022: Irwin breaks newcomer record with near-130mph lap

| | TT and Roads
Picture: Impact Images

Throughout the build up to his Isle of Man TT debut, Glenn Irwin has been quick to play down any hopes or expectations but performances in qualifying showed what the Honda Racing man was capable of and in Saturday’s Superbike race, he duly became the fastest newcomer in TT history with a sensational lap of 129.849mph.

With homework and preparation second to none, Irwin has steadily built his speed during practice week – from 122.616mph on the first night to 128.268mph on Friday evening – and he duly converted that into an exemplary performance with four 128mph+ laps and an end result of eighth.

“That was awesome and so enjoyable,” the Carrickfergus man smiled afterwards. “I was steady away at the start although I ran slightly wide at Doran’s so reined myself in a bit and when I saw P12 on my first pit board I thought to myself ‘that’s pretty good’.

“I was happy in the first sector and again over the Mountain but know I can improve on the run to Ramsey, especially from Ginger Hall to Glentramman where I’m still learning where and when to keep on the throttle.

“The whole experience was a new one – pit stops, a near two-hour long race – and I was rolling off in places as gaining a second here and there wasn’t that crucial for me. When I’d worked my way up to eighth, James (Hillier) was something like 17s ahead so I just settled into the position and had a steady lap five.”

However, the near 130mph lap on the sixth and final lap meant he was only 6.8s adrift at the chequered flag so had he pushed that bit more on lap five, the result could have been seventh.

“Yeah, possibly but, honestly, finishing seventh instead of eighth isn’t that big an issue. As I’ve said all along, it’s all about enjoying myself and I certainly did that today. I had no issues with either the bike or the Metzeler tyres and although I could have run the softer tyre, preferring instead to go with the safer hard option, that’s something I may look into for the Senior.

“The races are long and the body was bit tired at the end whilst so many people were waving at me on the final lap, it was unreal – I wanted to wave back to them all but I had a job to do! A lot of effort’s gone into getting here, right back to the winter months of 2019, so it’s great for the team and everyone concerned to have a day like today.”