Caolán Irwin made a fantastic return to the Dunlop Masters Supersport Championship at Mondello Park this weekend.
Riding at his home track for the first time since April, the Donegal racer picked up his fourth runner up finish of the season in race one, before hitting the top spot in race two to take his first ever Supersport race win.
A small issue in qualifying made it difficult to get the power down out of the tighter Mondello Park corners leaving the Oasis Bar and Clean Rubber backed machine in a lower than expected fourth place on the grid for race one.
With the issues resolved for the opening race, the Irwin Racing Yamaha was back on the pace and Caolán immediately moved up from row two to battle for second place with Masters Supersport champion Emmett O’Grady.
The pair swapped places a couple of times over the first half of the twelve lap race before Caolán moved clear to secure his fourth second place from four 2018 Masters races.
Starting second for race two Caolán got ahead of pole sitter Aaron Wright off the start but was pushed back to second by series regular Keelim Ryan.
By the end of lap two the positions were reversed with Irwin now ahead of Ryan and already looking to build a lead.
Starting lap three, Wright and O’Grady knocked each other out of contention in their battle over third, making it all the easier for the Kilmacrennarider to concentrate on what was ahead rather than behind as he cruised to a comfortable and highly impressive first Supersport win.
For the third and final race Irwin would again start on the front row and this time he jumped straight into the lead.
Having built a cushion by the end of lap one the 20-year-old was already looking likely to repeat his victory but he pushed too hard on the third lap and lost his bike at paddock bend, bringing an unfortunate end to an otherwise highly successful weekend.
“I’m delighted to get my first Supersport race win and especially to do it at the Masters” said Caolán.
“Its really satisfying to win on a stock bike against the Supersport machines and on the Dunlop tyres which we have very little experience of.
“We had a small bike issue initially and I have to thank Wesley from Clean Rubber, for his help all weekend, and Shane Wogan from Wogan Performance, who sorted out the engine problem for me.
“The only negative was race three where I had a lead of over a second by lap two but pushed too hard and lost the front.
“Luckily the bike is in good shape after the crash so I’m now really looking forward to the BSB finale at Brands Hatch and then after that it will be the Young Racer of the Year final.”
Caolán returns to British Championship action in two time at Brands Hatch where he will contest the finale race of the British Superstock 600 Championship.