Graeme Irwin made a rare home appearance and promptly won the prestigious Tommy Stewart memorial for the first time ever! Irwin’s name will now go on the trophy alongside the likes of former winners Alan Morrison, Adam Lyons and Gordon Crockard.
Irwin was on a RMZ 450 for the day at round five of the Ulster championship and Seaforde and, despite being second in qualifying, went on to win all three races in style despite some tough competition from Gary Gibson and Richard Bird.
Irwin rode in third for the first couple of laps in race one before passing Bird and Gibson, then slowly increased his advantage on the slick track to take the win. In races two and three Irwin holeshot and again, after a tentative first couple of laps, slowly but surely eased his way to an impressive victory.
Irwin looked a different rider on the 450, the familiar flamboyant, all out aggression was largely gone. This time Irwin was riding a gear higher, with his feet on the pegs and the engine just ticking over. It looked as if Irwin had watched a Stefan Everts video just before he got on the bike and decided to give that style a try! The Carrick man was impressive on the big bike and showed that when he moves up full time he could be one to watch.
Fastest qualifier Gary Gibson on the Bannside Pallets Suzuki was second overall and impressive all day. He now leads the championship going into the final round but it was heartache for his title rival Richard Bird.
The Suitor Brothers racing KTM rider was running second in the final moto and that would have given him a one point advantage in the series going into the last round at Tandragee, but Bird had a problem at the back of the circuit and only got going again at the end of the race. It means Bird will have to hope for a mistake from Gibson at the final round of the series because with the points he lost it is now Gibson’s title to lose.
JAR Honda’s Wayne Garrett was back on form to claim third overall but it was a disappointing day at the previous round that has left Garrett out of contention in the championship.
In MX2 it was once again a brilliant battle between Glenn McCormick and Jason Meara!
This time Meara got the edge winning the first two races and coming from behind to do it! But each time Meara passed McCormick, McCormick got angry and repassed him straight back. What ensued was a ding –dong battle right to the flag in the first two motos that enthralled the crowd.
McCormick got his revenge in race three taking the win after making quick moves through the pack early that left Meara too much ground to make up but it was Meara that took the overall while McCormick maintains the championship lead going into the final round. With their speed this year both riders are currently looking for a way to enter to EMX2 championship round at Matterly Basin in order to gain more international experience.
Graeme Irwin on his successful day on the 450 Suzuki…
“It was nice to do this it was the first local race this year. It was good to race these guys here because they do ride very well on this conditions. I ride the 450 quite well, a lot of people judge me from the 250 but you have to ride the bike where the power is and I think I ride the suzuki250 as fast as the Suzuki 250 will go and that’s why it does look more aggressive. Whenever you have the power underneath you can relax more and you don’t have to push as much. I enjoyed today, everything went really well. I had two holeshots and the first race I was away top three.
“In qualifying I was spinning everywhere and I wasn’t very fast to honest but I knew I just needed a bit more time and riding a 450 in these conditions is totally different and new to me. The first two laps and Wayne (Garrett) was behind me in fourth and I was just hoping he wouldn’t pass me because I wanted to suss lines and then after the second lap I knew the race was going to be a good one because I could ride the good line. I felt I had the races under control but the guys were flying today, they kept me honest. “
Jason Meara on his MX2 overall win…
It went good and I had a good battle with Glenn all day, the track was tough. Two wins out of three so I’m happy to get up and running again and we can move on to the next one now. It seems to be whoever is behind at the start of the race gets better at the end, but it feels good to get the better of him and hopefully I can do the same next week.
his ride at Desertmartin and trying to do the EMX2 British round at Matterly Basin.
It was awesome to be up there (with Sterry and Watson). I was going to be happy to score points but to get top fifteen was unreal. Alan Magee has helped me out a lot in the second half of the year and given me a bike to ride that is really good -he does a great job getting us ready every weekend. I would love to do the EMX2 round at Matterly Basin but I just don’t have the money to do it at the minute. But it would be unbelievable and a brilliant experience to race the top boys in Europe.
Article and photo by Jonathan McCready