Graeme Irwin started the 2013 season off just like he did in 2012 with a third place podium.
This season though he is focused on the title and like Banks-Browne and Steven Lenoir who also made the podium, Graeme has put himself in a good position to challenge for the coveted MX2 championship.
It was easy to lose points in the wet conditions but Irwin, despite a couple of crashes in race one, limited the damage and did what he needed to do in race two in order to stay in contention.
We spoke to Graeme about his weekend and got his thoughts on the cancellation of Canada Heights, where we discovered he has a plan B to allow him to hopefully get some racing in this Sunday.
Let’s start with practice -you were quickest for a while.
Qualifying went ok. If you get your lap in early it’s quite hard to better it. I didn’t get a perfect lap at the start. At the end I was doing similar lap times to what I was doing at the start so I knew my speed for the race would be good.
First race then it looked like you got a bad start..
Yea I got a bad start then I tried to make a pass around the outside of a rider and I went down. Maybe I was just being too keen with it being the first round. I rode really tight, I didn’t ride very well to be honest. The speed was good I was catching up on Bradshaw, he was fifth I was sixth. The last couple of laps I went to put a real charge on because I could see he was struggling then i ended up making a silly mistake and dropped it coming out of corner. I got up and had a sixth but I definitely made the most passes in that race for sure!
Second race you had the holeshot
I got a good start and that was the key to the race. The first half a lap I went at with Mel, but he rode really well and he was all guns blazing and I wanted to try to be start. I felt a wee bit on the limit really and I wanted to take it easy and finish. They way they did the points, there was a lot of points for each race so I didn’t want to make a silly mistake and DNF so I just rode a steady race. Banks-Browne passed me but I kept the gap the same then the last couple of laps a closed him back in but I didn’t want to take any chances. I wanted to be smart and I got on the podium so it was exactly what we wanted to do for the first round.
You have been on the podium at the first round two years in a row now, but is the mentality different this year? Last year you were coming off injuries but this year you are in it for the championship?
Yea exactly, this year I want the championship, I want to be a contender. I want to be smart as well, in those conditions a lot of good riders didn’t score points. Especially with the points being so big you could put yourself out of the championship hunt with one bad race.
Was it a relief to get out of there with a third?
Yea, after the first race I was thinking I am going to need a first or a second to get on the podium if I’m lucky. But with it being a mud race I just forgot about the podium and focused on the race.
That was your first main outdoor race with the team but was it good to have the arenacross series to get used working with Neil Prince and the bike to prepare for that
It was really, really good, the whole All heads and threads Suzuki team have been great. Obviously with Neil’s experience it fits perfect, his knowledge is unbelievable.
Do you think having Neil behind you will help you make better decisions in the races that could help you win the title this year?
Yea for sure I think that is something I have maybe been lacking over the years. Just more so like a mentor, Neil will definitely help me and bring me on.
Canada Heights has just been cancelled, how does that affect you?
I am not so happy with that. It is early in the week maybe they could have left it until Thursday, you never know what the weather is like. It is the same for everyone but I am ready to go racing.
You were hoping to be able to do some Grand Prix this year, do you know if you are able to do Valkenswaard?
Yea I find out tomorrow. I also might be racing the Dutch championship this weekend now and I find that out tomorrow as well.
What is your typical day off the bike when you are going for a British Championship?
I do quite a lot of cycling that would be the first thing, the second thing would be weights. You need big lungs to ride motocross, it is an endurance sport but you need the strength. Light weights and high reps but cardio is the main thing.
I did an article on motocross taking more than talent, you need the commitment as well and I remember speaking to you when you were 15 and you have always had the commitment from then. Has it been easy for you to have that desire?
Yea I think maybe that’s what makes me a bit different from some riders. I think also with breaking my neck to get to where I am now I have had to work for it. A lot of guys say you have the talent but I believe I have had to work for the talent that I have.
I still have the speed but I want to be better, I don’t want to be number two, number three , number four. I enjoy racing the most when you when, so what becomes fun is only winning and obviously the motivation then is unbelievable because there is no thrill like it.
Have you always had that motivation?
I don’t come from a rich family or anything and we never had the best of bikes so we had to work hard and race hard to get results. My mum and dad put absolutely everything into it for me and all my brothers to race. If we didn’t want it, or race 100% they wouldn’t have done what they done. They seen that from a very early age, and obviously with my dad being a racer too he always said if you want it bad enough you’ll get it and I believe in that.
I would just like to thank everyone that is behind me this season.
Article by Jonathan McCready
Picture by Kev Reid