Round six for the British Championship saw the Heads & All Threads Suzuki team travel over the water to the former GP circuit, Desertmartin, on the Emerald Isle.
The challenging sand track was well prepared, but heavy rain made the start of day difficult. However, as the day progressed the track began to dry and the racing tightened.
The teams MX1 rider, Luke Burton, unfortunately twisted his knee early on in qualifying and couldn’t continue with the day.
Being Irwins home race he was eager to get the win for the Irish fans and he proved he meant business from the start. He was fastest in MX2 qualifying by a clear two seconds, but was dropped into second by a fully recovered Bryan Mackenzie in the superpole event.
In the first race, Irwin gated in third and had taken second from Steven Clarke on the first lap. Working on Mackenzie, who had taken the holeshot, he made the move stick at the halfway point and crossed the finish line five seconds ahead of fellow Irishman, Martin Barr, and a massive thirty-two seconds ahead of Mackenzie in third, much to the delight of the exuberant home crowd.
Things took a turn for the worse in race two. A problem on the start line meant the gate dropped without him. Stone last, frustrated, and with a problematic back brake, he pushed hard with the Irish fans behind him to come through the field and finish ninth.
A better start to race three and Irwin gated in the top ten. At the halfway point he was sitting in third and had posted the fastest lap of the race, but a small mistake on penultimate lap meant championship rival, Neville Bradshaw, and Mackenzie squeezed through causing Irwin to finish in fifth giving him fourth overall on the day.
Round three of the Red Bull Pro Nationals is on the 29-30th of June at Culham Park, Oxfordshire.
Round seven of the Maxxis British Championship is on the 11th of Augustat Hawkstone Park, Shropshire.
Images courtesy of Suzy Bailey.