by Kyle White
National Superstock 600 runner-up Glenn Irwin feels the time is right to step up to the Metzeler National Superstock 1000 class next year.
The 21-year-old had to settle for second best to fellow Northern Ireland rider Keith Farmer in the championship standings this season after a disjointed campaign that saw him begin the year with MWR Kawasaki before rounding off the season with CN Racing.
Irwin has been retained by CN Racing for 2012 and will team up with hot prospect Danny Buchan, last year's runner-up in the Metzeler National Superstock 1000 Championship, and former AMA rider Taylor Knapp, who made his mark in the class in 2011.
CN Racing will run Honda machinery next year with support from Ten Kate Racing.
“The start of this season was very disappointing because my performances weren't good enough and we had a lot of other problems as well,” Irwin said.
“But once we got settled down we made progress, especially when I signed for CN Racing because I was able to focus on the racing and the results started to come.
“I was really happy with the end of the year and when I went to Portimao for a round of the European championship I was really pleased because even though I didn't finish the race I qualified second,” he added.
“To be able to compete at that level was encouraging and I was happy with how the year ended.
“The Superstock 1000 championship will be a big challenge for me next year but we did a test at Mallory three weeks ago and Danny Buchan was there and we were only 0.2 seconds behind him on the day,” added the Ulsterman.
“I took to it pretty quickly and I made my mind up after Mallory because I was on the pace there.
“I had planned to ride in Supersport next year because I didn't think I could ride a 1000cc bike competitively, but you always have those doubts until you try it.”
Irwin hopes to begin testing in January as he prepares for the season opener in April and also intends to compete in several rounds of the European Superstock 1000 Championship next year.
Andy Reid will line up for CN Racing in the Metzeler National Superstock 600 class on CBR600-RR prepared by Ten Kate Honda.