Glenn Irwin: 'I've had some battles with my mental health..but I'm feeling like my old self'

Glenn Irwin secured a fourth successive Superbike win at the North West 200 in May
Glenn Irwin secured a fourth successive Superbike win at the North West 200 last year

Motorcycle racer Glenn Irwin has revealed that he is "feeling like his old self again" after having some mental health problems in recent years.

The British Superbike rider said that he had endured "a year or two, maybe four or five, of a bit of darkness".

"The best thing is nowadays people tell you 'it's ok not to be ok' so I wasn't afraid to seek the proper help, which I did and continue to do," said Irwin.

"I've had battles with my mental health but that has made all the difference."

"Particularly over the past year I have struggled with it. I could always tell when I was going to race well. When things were right they were right, when things weren't right they weren't right at all," he added.

The 30-year-old's impressive racing CV to date includes four North West 200 Superbike successes, a Macau Grand Prix victory, British Superbike race wins and a third place overall finish in the 2018 BSB series.

The Carrickfergus rider believes his experiences and the fact that he is in the public eye leave him well placed to help others who may have difficulty coping with mental health issues.

"People do struggle and I'm always happy to reach out to people. If I can help someone out along the way I get a great buzz doing that.

"There is no better feeling than feeling that you are your old self again."

Glenn Irwin said asking for help 'made all the difference'

'Health comes first...but gutted at TT cancellation'

Glenn joins brother Andrew in the Honda Racing British Superbike outfit for the 2020 season, although the first three scheduled rounds of the series have been postponed because of the coronavirus crisis.

The eldest of the Irwin racing brothers was also set to make his much-anticipated Isle of Man TT debut this year - but that has now been put on hold for 12 months following the cancellation of the event.

"The health of the population is the most important thing right now but from a less significant racing point of view I'm gutted about the TT being called off.

"I've put so much effort into it - I've been over there for three days every two weeks and the preparation has been really, really good.

"The big picture is that that won't be wasted. It's frustrating and it is a year lost but at least I am quite young, especially in the road racing game. It is what it is and next year won't be long in coming around."

While racing is a non-starter at the moment, Glenn is keeping up his fitness levels through a combination of cycling and indoor workouts with the help of his personal trainer.

New Honda Fireblade has 'loads of potential'

Although he is moving to a new manufacturer with a new version of the Honda Fireblade to get to grips with, he is confident that he can hit the ground running if and when the season commences despite limited testing time.

"Obviously we have a new bike and we completed our first four-day Spanish test at Albacete and Andalucia on pretty much a road bike version but with Superbike forks and brakes.

"In terms of performance the pace of the bike is already strong although we have some things to tweak.

"The new Fireblade is brilliant, it has loads of potential and I'm confident it will be strong in both BSB and on the roads and is only going to get stronger."

'As nervous as I have been in my life'

Both of the Honda Racing brothers recently undertook their motorcycle tests and picked up the licences they require to ride on public roads.

"It was fun - we learnt a lot of things that can help you with both riding your bike and driving a car.

"Despite being racers the two of us have never been as nervous in our lives. Five minutes into the test I had to say to myself 'Glenn relax' as I felt so tense.

"It's something I have never had a huge interest in doing but I have a lot of sponsors who ride road bikes and invite me out.

"I've always had to say 'I don't have a licence' but now I can. We have so much beautiful coastline and I'm looking forward to getting out and grateful to the boys at Honda for putting us through it."

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