Padgetts Honda rider Ian Lowry almost quit racing at the end of last season as he contemplated turning his back on the sport and returning to a 'normal' day job with his dad.

Lowry makes no secret of the fact that he struggled to assert himself over the past two seasons and was so demoralised he was on the brink of calling time on his career once and for all.

From the position of leading British Superbike rookie in 2009, Lowry went backwards during the ensuing two years, his progress stifled by a series of failed ventures on ultimately uncompetitive machinery.

But just when the Ulster rider had all but given up hope of proving he could still cut it at the top level, he was offered the chance to team up with Clive Padgett, who was making a return to the premier class in BSB in 2012.

A revitalised Lowry is determined to make the most of the opportunity and following a promising pre-season development programme, he has made a terrific start to the campaign, finishing fourth at Brands Hatch in the opening round last month before claiming his maiden victory in the class at Thruxton.

Lowry has gained a certain satisfaction from silencing those critics who felt he was a spent force, but most importantly he realised the potential he always felt he possessed.

"I was so close to knocking racing on the head last year; at the end of last season I was thinking about giving up racing altogether and going to work for my dad," Lowry said.

"Over the past two years I became so demoralised, but the experience has made me a stronger person and I now I feel I'm able to deal with the downs as well as the ups in this sport.

"To come back after what I've been through over these past couple of years has made me a stronger person and a stronger rider for sure.

"People can be very critical; you only have to look at Valentino Rossi who's the best rider in the world, but everyone is writing him off at the moment," he added in the Belfast News Letter.

"Obviously I'm not comparing myself to Rossi but it just shows you how the public can change their opinion about a rider so quickly. I've been given a second chance with a good team and I've never doubted myself and now I'm being able to show what I'm capable of.

"The way I look at it is that I want to try and repay them for giving me the opportunity and provide them with good results."

Lowry credits Padgett's input as a primary factor in his racing revival.

Few in the paddock have as much experience or knowledge of motorcycle racing as Lowry's team boss and he feels fortunate to have such a wise mentor in his corner.

"Clive has so many years' experience of racing motorcycles, he has so much knowledge of the sport that our progress is very much down to him," he said.

"It was just absolutely phenomenal to win at Thruxton and Clive knew that we were capable of winning races, but like myself I don't think he expected it so soon.

"But that's why we are all involved in racing and for a brand new team just to come into Superbikes and win in the premier class in the second round is awesome.

"It's a great boost for us and for the whole team and it keeps the whole morale of the team high," added the Northern Irishman.

"We're trying to build and work all the time and I feel I've a pretty good pace. We are strong at this moment in time but we need to keep getting stronger because everyone else is going to keep raising the bar and raising their game."