Glenn Irwin still hopes to make Isle of Man TT debut with Honda Racing in 2022

Glenn Irwin has been forced to play the long game as the Northern Ireland rider’s wait to make his eagerly anticipated Isle of Man TT debut continues.

The Carrickfergus man was set to tackle the infamous Mountain Course in anger for the first time in 2020 until the coronavirus pandemic brought sport around the globe to a standstill.

For the first time since World War Two, the TT was cancelled for a second successive time this year, but Irwin is now hopeful he will finally get his chance in 2022, two years later than planned.

The 31-year-old is already a four-time Superbike winner at the North West 200 and a podium finisher at the Ulster Grand Prix, while Irwin also has a victory under his belt at the Macau Grand Prix.

Glenn Irwin is in his second season with Honda Racing after joining the team in 2020 to contest the British Superbike Championship and major road races, including the Isle of Man TT.

Undoubtedly, though, the TT is where Irwin is most driven to make his mark over the coming the years, and preferably as a Honda Racing rider.

He joined the Louth-based team in 2020 to contest the British Superbike Championship and major road racing events, finishing fourth in last season’s truncated six-round series on the new CBR1000RR-R Fireblade.

In his second stint in the team this year, he made it through to the Showdown, clinching his first win of 2021 at Silverstone last month, and is currently eighth in the standings ahead of this weekend’s penultimate round at Donington Park.

Irwin, though, believes he has only scratched the surface with the potential of the new Honda and although he is at pains to emphasise that no contract talks have taken place for 2022, he is keen to continue for a third year on the Fireblade in BSB, with the TT also at the forefront of his thoughts.

“I want to stay where I am because I want to be on the Fireblade when it reaches its full potential,” Irwin told the News Letter.

“I do love working with Honda and I have to be honest, I haven’t spoken to another team about signing any other contracts since I came to Honda.

“One team contacted me last year and I just said to them on the phone that I was really happy where I was and in the end we just had a general conversation about motorbikes.

“Also, from the roads side of things, Honda’s attitude is what you need to go road racing. They’ve had a long history of success on the roads and I do feel like we can achieve a lot together, and I think we’re only at the beginning of that journey,” he added.

“I’m happy too with the team, I enjoy working with Harv [Havier Beltran, team manager] and I enjoy the ‘Honda way’ to be truthfully honest. I enjoy going racing at the moment and I only feel like we’re going to get better.

“Having said all that, no-one has put a contract on the table yet!”

Irwin is focused on the final two rounds of the British Superbike Championship but once the season is concluded later this month, he will soon begin working towards next year, with the Ulster rider revealing he will undergo surgery on his troublesome left shoulder.

“My shoulder hasn’t been right since I crashed at Knockhill in 2017 when my handlebar snapped and actually hurting it this year [in a crash at Donington Park] has been a blessing in disguise, because it does need surgery,” Irwin said.

“I’ve an operation booked for December 10 and there’s a three-month recovery, so that would take me up to pre-season in March. I just can’t wait to get that surgery because that will mean I start next season in a stronger position already, as that left side has always been giving me gip.”

Next year’s Isle of Man TT is scheduled to run from May 29 to June 10.