British Champ & MXGP ‘rookie’ Graeme Irwin: “I hope I can open some people’s eyes”

Posted on

British Champ & MXGP ‘rookie’ Graeme Irwin: “I hope I can open some people’s eyes”

A chat with Northern Ireland’s main MXGP hope and something of a Grand Prix ‘mystery’

One of the unknown and exciting prospects for the 2018 MXGP season involves reigning British Champion and Hitachi KTM UK ASA Scaffolding’s Graeme Irwin. The 26 year Irishman completed several MX2 and MXGP appearances around the start of the decade with Roger Magee’s British crew but injuries forced a return to national competition; Irwin, brother to Andrew in World Supersport and Glenn in British Superbike racing (and North West 200 winner), claimed the British title in 2017 with Honda and realigned with Magee as KTM’s main UK thrust on international and domestic stages.

Older, wiser but with a reputation for determined and unflinching competitiveness, Irwin has repeatedly represented Ireland at the Motocross of Nations but is largely a mystery to his current Grand Prix peers. His arrival back to the FIM World Championship scene coincides with Magee’s renewed push and stronger alliance with the Austrian brand; a link that now ten years old and with previous GP honours thanks to the likes of Shaun Simpson and Kevin Strijbos.

“I cannot fault the team at all because they have given me all I need,” Irwin says. “It has been really easy. This is the first time I’d ridden with factory suspension and I cannot say enough about how things like this help your confidence. Along with the work on the engine with the 450 SX-F I know I have the equipment that is capable of winning races and that’s all I’ve ever wanted.”

Irwin visiting the 2017 Grand Prix of Germany

Irwin may well come to be something of a ‘dark horse’ in the MXGP pack but he is one of the very few with a crushing schedule. Nineteen Grands Prix and eight British Championship rounds means over seventy race starts alone in the coming eight months. Dealing with the schedule but also aiming for results will be one of the biggest challenges to overcome. It will require a mature approach but Irwin is in the prime of his career physically and mentally to face the task. “Argentina will be the start of the season and we also want to make sure it isn’t the end!” says the rider who will take #55 on the OAT list. “We need to find our feet, not do anything stupid and then look to improve each week. I want to learn and get stronger and I’m really looking forward to it.”

READ ALSO  Husqvana 701 Vitpilen Lastly Going into Manufacturing

Irwin notched a solid pre-season that involved over a month in California (“the Troy Lee Designs team hooked me up with a factory-spec 450, which was pretty cool”) and another three weeks in Spain and insists his first appearance in orange at the Hawkstone Park International this weekend is about “having two steady motos and just see where we are.”

For his fans and followers the real test of his capabilities will come in the Grand Prix arena and a long awaited comeback to the top flight. Irwin cannot quantify his possibilities but is aims are quite clear. “It’s something we’ve been talking about with the team because I don’t think many people in GPs have not seen me ride,” he says. “The Nations isn’t really a true reflection and about what I can do.”

Meanwhile Team Principal Magee has expanded one of the most successful British motocross teams in the history of the sport for the 2018 campaign. Not only will teenager and former EMX250 race winner Conrad Mewse lead the MX2 arm with the 250 SX-F but Magee will continue to give opportunities to British and Irish youth with Conor Mullan (Irish and Ulster 125cc champion), Cain McElveen and Ryan Mawhinney all equipped with SX machinery in Irish, UK and occasional international fixtures.

Photos by Ray Archer

One of the unknown and exciting prospects for the 2018 MXGP season involves reigning British Champion and Hitachi KTM UK ASA Scaffolding’s Graeme Irwin. The 26 year Irishman completed several MX2 and MXGP appearances around the start of the decade with Roger Magee’s British crew but injuries forced a return to national competition; Irwin, brother to Andrew in World Supersport and Glenn in British Superbike racing (and North West 200 winner), claimed the British title in 2017 with Honda and realigned with Magee as KTM’s main UK thrust on international and domestic stages.

READ ALSO  Worst Bike Traits of 2017!

Older, wiser but with a reputation for determined and unflinching competitiveness, Irwin has repeatedly represented Ireland at the Motocross of Nations but is largely a mystery to his current Grand Prix peers. His arrival back to the FIM World Championship scene coincides with Magee’s renewed push and stronger alliance with the Austrian brand; a link that now ten years old and with previous GP honours thanks to the likes of Shaun Simpson and Kevin Strijbos.

“I cannot fault the team at all because they have given me all I need,” Irwin says. “It has been really easy. This is the first time I’d ridden with factory suspension and I cannot say enough about how things like this help your confidence. Along with the work on the engine with the 450 SX-F I know I have the equipment that is capable of winning races and that’s all I’ve ever wanted.”

Irwin visiting the 2017 Grand Prix of Germany

Irwin may well come to be something of a ‘dark horse’ in the MXGP pack but he is one of the very few with a crushing schedule. Nineteen Grands Prix and eight British Championship rounds means over seventy race starts alone in the coming eight months. Dealing with the schedule but also aiming for results will be one of the biggest challenges to overcome. It will require a mature approach but Irwin is in the prime of his career physically and mentally to face the task. “Argentina will be the start of the season and we also want to make sure it isn’t the end!” says the rider who will take #55 on the OAT list. “We need to find our feet, not do anything stupid and then look to improve each week. I want to learn and get stronger and I’m really looking forward to it.”

READ ALSO  Rizoma USA And REVIT! USA Type Unique North American Partnership

Irwin notched a solid pre-season that involved over a month in California (“the Troy Lee Designs team hooked me up with a factory-spec 450, which was pretty cool”) and another three weeks in Spain and insists his first appearance in orange at the Hawkstone Park International this weekend is about “having two steady motos and just see where we are.”

For his fans and followers the real test of his capabilities will come in the Grand Prix arena and a long awaited comeback to the top flight. Irwin cannot quantify his possibilities but is aims are quite clear. “It’s something we’ve been talking about with the team because I don’t think many people in GPs have not seen me ride,” he says. “The Nations isn’t really a true reflection and about what I can do.”

Meanwhile Team Principal Magee has expanded one of the most successful British motocross teams in the history of the sport for the 2018 campaign. Not only will teenager and former EMX250 race winner Conrad Mewse lead the MX2 arm with the 250 SX-F but Magee will continue to give opportunities to British and Irish youth with Conor Mullan (Irish and Ulster 125cc champion), Cain McElveen and Ryan Mawhinney all equipped with SX machinery in Irish, UK and occasional international fixtures.

Photos by Ray Archer

قالب وردپرس

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *