July 31st In Motocross

MXGB 2017: Round Seven race report

Preston Docks | July 30

Buildbase Honda’s Graeme Irwin raced to the 2017 British MX1 Motocross Championship at Preston Docks with his fourth consecutive double-win.

The 24-year-old from Carrickfergus in Northern Ireland secured the title with one round still to go thanks to a commanding performance. “Serious momentum,” is how he described winning his eighth consecutive moto race aboard the CRF450R.

After qualifying in fourth in the deep sand, Irwin, as in the previous four rounds, holeshot the opening 25-minute plus two lap circuit. He only briefly lost the lead on turn two before pulling away to win by almost 11 seconds.

Finishing as low as ninth in race two would’ve guaranteed him the crown, and yet he grabbed the holeshot a second time around, resisted pressure from Enduro World Championship contender Nathan Watson and eased clear to win by over five seconds. In his words, “I just couldn’t have anybody talking about an Enduro rider coming to the British championship and winning.”

“It’s awesome, fantastic, amazing,” he said. “I can’t believe it. This year everything’s just clicked. The team, the bike, everything. I’ve been given the tools to do the job and I can’t thank everybody enough. My wife, my whole family, the team, all my sponsors – it’s amazing.” 

Irwin’s teammate Martin Barr, racing in the MX2 class on the CRF250R, went into Preston second in the championship but struggled with starts all day and saw his aspirations to finish the season at the top finally slip away.

“It’s been a pretty frustrating day, really,” he said. “In race one I just struggled to get out of the gate. I was way back but kept chipping away, kept fighting and got back to fourth and the second race was pretty much the same. I made a good few passes on the first lap and battled my way up to fourth again.”

The Ballyclare rider admitted he could do a lot better, but after finishing the day in third, he pledged to keep on fighting for the second spot in the overall championship.

Team boss Dave Thorpe paid tribute to both riders.

“It’s been a great day for Graeme, and he thoroughly deserved it,” he said. “He’s ridden like a champion all year and pushed when he could and been clever when he couldn’t. The last four British championship rounds he’s been outstanding, and we’re really pleased for him.”

The three-time World Champion said the whole team was a “great bunch of lads who work really hard together. At the end of the day we’re just a small team from Devon, but we’ve got a fantastic product in the CRF450, a great engine tuner in Ryan, a great rider in Graeme and some super mechanics in Rob and Willy.”