Irwin closes on MX1 title

Graeme Irwin tops MX1 podium at  Blaxhall.
Graeme Irwin tops MX1 podium at Blaxhall.

Buildbase Honda’s Graeme Irwin raced to his third consecutive maximum score at round six of the Maxxis ACU British Motocross Championship at Blaxhall on Sunday to open up a 52-point lead in the MX1 title chase.

His double win at the fast sandy Suffolk circuit means the Carrickfergus rider could clinch the biggest prize in domestic motocross one round early at Preston Docks at the end of this month.

After qualifying second Graeme holeshot the opening moto on his CRF450R before the race was red-flagged following a crash. From the restart he again led the field into turn one and was never headed, extending his advantage to over 10 seconds at the end of the 25-minute plus two lap race.

He again reacted quickest when the gate dropped for race two and despite slipping to second in the early stages the victory never looked in doubt as he moved back to the front at half-distance to win by over seven-and-a-half seconds.

“There was a lot of talk before this race from a lot of guys who were all coming here to win so it’s good to be the man who actually did win both races today,” he said.

“The British is all that matters to me – I don’t care about any other series, this is the one that I want to win and to go 1-1 here and extend my lead to 52 points is perfect. I can wrap the title up one round early at Preston Docks and that’s the goal now.”

Competing in MX2 on his CRF250R, Graeme’s team-mate Martin Barr struggled out of the gate all day and paid the price with his a sixth and third.

“It’s been a really frustrating day for me today,” he said.

“I qualified fifth which gave me a decent enough gate pick but unfortunately my starts today were very poor.

“In the first race I spun too much from the gate and I think I passed the mechanics’ area in 22nd on the opening lap so I had a lot of work to do.

“I dug deep and kept my head down and eventually got back to sixth which was frustrating because my lap times were really good.

“In race two I wanted to go out and put it right and my jump was a lot better but me and the rider beside me hooked bars halfway down the start straight and I almost crashed.

“Again, I had a lot of work to do on a track that’s not easy to pass on but I kept pushing and worked my way back up to second but on the last lap I made a mistake and Ben Watson got better drive out of a corner and passed me.”

With two rounds left in the series the Doagh rider is still second in the championship 42 points behind Ben Watson.

“I need to beat Ben at Preston Docks in two weeks time to keep the pressure on him,” he added.

“There’s still 100 points up for grabs and I’ll just keep putting my work in.”