Glenn Irwin shares Isle of Man TT memories as he prepares for island visit

Photo showing Glenn Irwin
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)

Glenn Irwin says he has nothing but love for the Isle of Man TT, but insists he has no urge to make a competitive return following his impressive 2022 debut.

Two years ago Irwin became the fastest-ever newcomer on the Mountain Course while riding for Honda Racing. The Carrick rider clocked 129.849mph en route to finishing eighth in the Superbike class.

Bike fans were hoping it was a sign of things to come from Irwin at the TT, but the 34-year-old made a measured decision to step away from the annual event.

Read more: North West 200 history-maker Glenn Irwin hails 'greatest achievement'

Read more: North West 200 race RECAP

Explaining his reasons back in 2022, Irwin said he was putting his family first, while also turning his full focus to his 'main job' in the BSB after returning to the PBM Ducati team.

Two years on, the 34-year-old is more than comfortable with his decision.

He told Belfast Live: "I have talked about it quite a lot. I loved the TT but it just wasn't for me. British Superbikes are my priority, and I now have to think of a lot of things when making career decisions now.

"I am a father of three. When I rode at the TT I had two kids and a third on the way. I admire what the guys and girls have there, and how they are able to cope with it all, especially if they're parents.

"I found the anxiety side of things overwhelming. That side of things was just too much for me. Every morning you're thinking 'will I be having dinner tonight?'. It is difficult to switch off those thoughts and mindset.

"And I am sure it isn't just me thinking like that. I am sure every rider struggles with their emotions at times."

Irwin recently became the most successful Superbike rider at the North West 200, eclipsing the previous record of legendary pair Joey Dunlop and Michael Rutter.

The Carrick man admits riding at his home road race is one of his biggest thrills in racing.

"The TT is a great event and I am all for it. But looking back, it didn't do for me what the North West 200 does for me," he said.

"The North West 200 will always be special, being a local and growing up with it. I didn't go to the TT until I was in my twenties.

"So I think the desire required to ride at the TT has passed me now. But I thoroughly enjoyed it when I did it.

"I loved it. I have got to do some brilliant things in my life, and the TT was one of them. I ticked a box doing that."

Irwin will spend the full race week at this year's Isle of Man TT, acting as a guest host at the Ginger Hall Hotel in Sulby. He is due to travel over next Friday, ahead of the opening Supersport race on Saturday, June 1.

While he won't be competing, Irwin says he is excited to return to watch some thrilling - and safe - action.

He also admits returning to the island will bring back some fond memories, not least his superb debut year when he became the fastest-ever TT newcomer.

Irwin said: "It is a special memory. Something I am very proud of. I can't see that record lasting too long, though.

"The year after I rode at the TT they resurfaced the track in many areas, and everyone who did 128mph laps on the old surface suddenly did 130.

"As a racer I was a second off 130, and you sometimes wonder what you could possibly do. But, no, I am more than happy and content with what we did that year.

"It is a nice record to have, and one day that record will go. It certainly won't last forever."

Irwin had hoped to ride at the TT in 2020 but coronavirus>Covid delayed his plans. He finally got the chance two years later.

"The TT was mint. From a racing side of things, I put so much homework into it and it was handy enough to learn. I put so much time and homework into it for a couple of years beforehand, because of the pandemic," he said.

"The racing part I enjoyed. The riding, concentration and all that was fine. That side of things wasn't the difficult bit. It was what you go through for the two weeks that I found difficult."

Photo showing Glenn Irwin who was competing for Honda Racing at the 2022 TT
Glenn Irwin was competing for Honda Racing at the 2022 TT -Credit:STEPHEN DAVISON

Irwin says he has "nothing but respect" for the men and women who compete at the TT.

He said: "People think road racers are 'mad' or 'crazy' or whatever. It is easy to cast those stones. But everyone in the paddock is a human being, and there is nobody thinking they'll just go out and 'give it a lash' no matter what.

"Nobody can say a road racer is just a lunatic on a bike who will go hell for leather and not give a f*** what happens. Every single rider is equally professional and aware of what they're doing. And I commend every single rider who turns up every year.

"You hear riders talking about those nerves before the start of a TT race. It is nuts. But every rider is aware of the risks and what they're doing.

"Let's hope for another exciting year of racing at the TT, and a safe one for everyone involved."

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