Glenn Irwin has arrived in Portrush this week amidst a blaze of publicity as the British Superbike prospect steels himself for his Superbike debut at the North West 200.
Irwin has only raced once at the event before but he made such an impact on his debut in 2015 that he is regarded as one of the pre-race favourites on the PBM Be Wiser Ducati.
The air of expectation is not based solely on the Carrick rider’s stunning Supersport rostrum achieved two years ago.
He has forged his reputation following a series of sensational performances, including podium finishes on his Supersport debut at the Ulster Grand Prix in 2015 and a brilliant ride at the Macau Grand Prix last November, where he was battling with frontrunners Peter Hickman, Michael Rutter and Martin Jessopp for the rostrum before a technical problem thwarted his hopes.
That was Irwin’s first proper roads outing on a fully fledged Superbike on his maiden appearance at Macau.
If he is able to replicate that level of form, he has every chance of achieving his dream of winning a blue riband race at the famous meeting on the north coast.
His task will not be easy, with the 27-year-old going up against much more experienced NW200 opponents including last year’s victor Michael Dunlop, plus 17-time winner Alastair Seeley.
However, Irwin has shown a new level of maturity in BSB in the past two seasons in Paul Bird’s team.
With a factory-supported Ducati underneath him and invaluable Superbike experience in his locker, he just might pull it off on Saturday.