MOTORBIKES REVIEW: Double delight for Masters champ Graeme Irwin

Victory chalked up: East Antrim rider Graeme Irwin is the 2016 Pirelli Masters Champion.

Victory chalked up: East Antrim rider Graeme Irwin is the 2016 Pirelli Masters Champion.

Buildbase Honda Racing’s Graeme Irwin raced to a dominant double win at round five of the Pirelli British Masters at Pontrilas.

After qualifying fastest and winning both races over a minute clear of the field at the weekend, he has clinched the 2016 Pro MX1 Masters title with one round still to run.

The East Antrim ace has controlled the series on his Buildbase CRF450R Honda, winning four overalls in the process and his latest maximum points haul puts him out of reach of his nearest rivals in the six-round series.

“I’m so happy,” he said after the weekend victories. “Today’s been perfect for me. I was really fast all day and won both races by a big margin. The bike was faultless, the team was brilliant and I’m delighted to wrap up the title with one round still to go. It’s actually my first major championship, which feels awesome.”

He now intends to wrap up the British Masters in a couple of weeks time at Wakes Colne. “I only need nine points to win my second title so hopefully it all comes together on the day. Then I have a great chance to finish third in the British MX1 championship to complete a fantastic season”

In the Pro MX2 class Doagh’s Martin Barr regained the series leader’s red plate with two typically rock-solid performances on his Buildbase Honda after his main title rival crashed out of race two. He is now set to become the second East Antrim rider in a matter of a fortnight to claim a British MX title when he lines up at Whitby’s spectacular Skelder Bank circuit this weekend.

“All-in-all I’m happy to go away with a 36-point lead in the championship and I’m looking forward to the final round this weekend when hopefully I can wrap it up,” he said.

Team owner Dave Thorpe was full of praise for both his riders in action at the Herefordshire circuit.

“I’m absolutely delighted for Graeme,” said the three-time world 500cc champion. “He’s put his heart and soul into the Pirelli Masters and he was unbelievably dominant today as he has been at most rounds. We’re really, really pleased for him, his mechanic Rob Boseley and the whole team.

“Martin rode with his head today. Neither race was without incident for him and I know he felt the track was quite gnarly so when he saw the pitboard that Bryan MacKenzie was out he shifted his focus from where he was in the race to where he would be in the championship.”