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The fastest rookie on the mountain

2 years ago

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Stephen Dobie | Journalist


4 November 2022

In most sporting disciplines, making your debut aged 32 would seem absurd. In the world of football, you’d be approaching the twilight of your career. But racing motorbikes on the Isle of Man is no ordinary sporting discipline. And Glenn Irwin is no ordinary sportsman.

Without wishing to ruin the ending, it’s fair to say Glenn nailed his TT debut. After Covid delayed his first appearance on the island by two years, he became the fastest newcomer in history with apparent insouciant ease, surely helped by seven years of infusing Irish road races with his career on British circuits. He’d already scored numerous victories on the fearsome North West 200 on the coast of his native Northern Ireland. It’s an event that typically warms riders up on the approach to TT fortnight, but he’d never competed at the world’s most legendary closed-road event until this summer.

Glenn arrived on the island acutely aware of the challenges and dangers it throws upon its combatants. I know this because back in February I joined him for a lap of the course on four wheels, with a certain John McGuinness MBE – his Honda teammate at the TT in 2022 – barking tips from the front seat which Glenn feverishly typed into his iPhone notes app. The race’s living master keen to keep its promising new protégé out of trouble.

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