The second nomination for the 2017 Masters Superbike Championship Young Racer of the Year award final has gone to Donegal’s Rhys Irwin. Fifteen year old Rhys is the first rider to be nominated twice for the award, having also received the vote of the judges at the same event in 2016. Irwin will now join Eunan McGlinchey in the final of the Mondello Park, Dawn International and J Plumbing Supplies backed competition, which takes place in October.
For 2017 Rhys is concentrating on Thundersport UK where he rides in the one-make Aprilia RRV 450 class. Alongside his Thundersport campaign the Donegal lad will also compete in non-clashing Masters events in the Lightweight Supersport, class using the same Aprilia machine.
The May 6th and 7th Masters was the first home appearance for Rhys and also the first time an Aprilia RRV was raced in the Lightweight class, as the bikes were only recently given permission to race alongside the older but more powerful 400cc machines. Despite a massive horsepower deficit the Irwin Racing Aprilia lined up on the front row for race one having set second quickest qualifying time.
In race one a strong first lap gave Irwin the lead and he then held on to win by over three seconds, taking fastest lap of the race on his way to victory. Pole position for race two was also converted into a lead and this time the winning margin was even more impressive as it grew to almost ten seconds with the youngster also setting a new lap record. The final race of the weekend again saw a lights to flag victory, with fastest race lap, which impressed the competition judges sufficiently to earn Rhys the Young Racer of the meeting award.
A delighted Rhys gave his reaction to being nominated for the second season running, “I’m just absolutely delighted to be nominated for the final of the ‘Young Racer of the Year Award’ for the second year in a row. It’s my first time back in Mondello Park this season so it’s just such an honour to get the nomination at my first Masters event of 2017. The start of this season has been a bit of a struggle for me with my winter Rugby injury still hurting a good bit, which was made worse by a racing incident in the UK. I just love racing at Mondello, it’s my home circuit and a strong weekend was just what I needed to kick start my season. Thanks to all those who voted for me and to the award sponsors. I look forward to doing my very best at the final.”
Winning a nomination to the Young Racer of the Year award means that Rhys Irwin will receive a free entry to the next Masters event along with free testing and garage space. All nominees will be invited to attend an end of season assessment day in Mondello Park where a successor to Robert English, the 2016, winner will be chosen.