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Glenn Irwin on the North West 200 icons he looked up to

By Gareth Fullerton

Glenn Irwin is fast becoming a North West icon, but who are the legends he looked up to as a boy?

The Carrick rider has won the last four Superbike races at the Triangle circuit, and is on pole position for both of Saturday's blue riband races.

Irwin is a big homegrown favourite following his heroics in 2017, '18 and '19, with thousands of fans set to cheer the Honda Racing rider on Saturday as he goes in pursuit of more glory.

Read more: Glenn Irwin ready to thrive off 'twelfth man' on Saturday

Irwin looked up to his famous racing father Alan when he was growing up, but there are some other iconic names the British Superbike star was in awe of.

"Everyone obviously looked up to Joey (Dunlop)," Irwin said.

"My memories of the North West beyond 2000 were Michael Rutter who was an absolute favourite of mine. Also Callum Ramsay, I loved watching him on the 250cc.

Glenn Irwin (Stephen Davison/Pacemaker)

"Jim Moodie, Ian Duffus, that era was class.

"I loved seeing Rutter do well, John McGuinness, all them boys. Obviously my dad, but he retired in 1996.

"I still have five North West Superbike wins to go to catch Rutter, that would be a dream."

Rutter continues to race at the age of 50, while Northern Ireland's very own Jeremy McWilliams defied his 58 years to land a brilliant podium in Thursday's Supersport race at the North West.

Irwin, still only 31, says he hopes to emulate his heroes and continue competing for the next decade or two.

Michael Rutter (Philip Magowan / PressEye)

"I am never retiring. I fully intend flying around there when I'm 50," he smiled.

"People say road racing is like a drug and that it's addictive. But I don't know any drug taker who is passionate about drugs. I am completely passionate about riding motorcycles.

"This is pure fire in the belly. It is incredible, and it is the best thing you'll ever do in your life.

"Try that, and then try thousands of people cheering you on along the North West circuit. It is f****** incredible. The best feeling in the world.

"It is what we do and we have a strong heritage at home and I am doing my best to continue that with Alastair Seeley, Michael Dunlop, Lee Johnston and everyone else.

"The locals have plenty to cheer for.

"I am obviously proud to represent Northern Ireland, and I have a big following from north and south. I love all my fans."

Read more: Weather forecast for Saturday's North West 200 races

Read more: North West 200: Glenn Irwin to the 'four', but now he wants five and six

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