2017 might now be behind us but for both, Martin Barr and Graeme Irwin it was a great year. Both had their best year’s to date which is pleasing to see and because of this, both riders have new challenges for the 2018 season.
For Martin Barr, he ended up second in the MX2 Maxxis British Championship missing out on the title to the very talented Ben Watson which is nothing to be ashamed off. After a two year stint with the Buildbase Honda team, Barr has now switched to Husqvarna machinery for the 2018 season as he’s agreed a deal with the Revo Husqvarna outfit. He is already looking at home in the new team and is very positive about the move.
“The team have welcomed me in really well, we all get on well.” says Martin. “The whole set-up is very, very professional. His son Sam, my mechanic Dan, they have really put stuff together that I am really happy about. Obviously the bike is the main change for me, getting on the Husqvarna. I am really happy to have such a good set-up and everything seems to be clicking at the minute.”
Barr will once again try and go for glory in the MX2 British Championship in 2018. He will face stuff competition from Conrad Mewse and the latest talk is Darian Sanayei might also compete the full series so it’s going to be competitive!
However, Barr will also contest the EMX250 series in 2018 which in terms of motivation is great for Barr! He has been concentrating his racing in the UK for the past few years now and you can get stuck in a rut racing the same tracks and competition week in, week out. However, in 2018 he gets the opportunity to travel all around the world racing different tracks and opposition.
The EMX250 series is very competitive but Barr will be one of the more experienced riders in the class and that should really help him. There are plenty of fast young guns in the class such as Tristan Charboneau, Miro Sihvonen, Roan van de Moosdijk and Mathys Boisrame to name just a few! Hopefully Barr can bang bars right at the very front of the class, he has already battled with the world champion, Pauls Jonass at Hawkstone International so he should be right at the sharp end.
In terms of Graeme Irwin – what a year he’s just had! He dominated the scene in British motocross doing the double by winning the MX1 Maxxis British Championship and the MX Nationals series.
Irwin has secured a ride to contest the entire MXGP World Championship in 2018 with the Hitachi KTM UK outfit. Of course, this isn’t the first time Irwin gets a chance at world level success as he had the opportunity in 2011 but looking back perhaps he was too young to contest in the MX1 class as it was known back then. Unfortunately, it ended during the fifth round as he suffered from a big crash at St Jean D’Angely which put an end to his season.
However, fast forward seven years and the twenty-five year old is a smarter and smoother rider now. After dominating the British scene he deserves the chance at world level again.
It’s not going to be easy as the level gets higher and higher every year – the series really is at an all time high in my opinion in terms of quality whenever everyone is fit. It’s important for Irwin to stay fit for the entire season and learn as much as possible riding with the best riders in the world.
With nineteen rounds of the MXGP series and the Maxxis series on top of that it’s going to be a long season and a big part of it is just staying fit! If Irwin can achieve that there’s no reason why he can’t finish top fifteen in the world and hopefully some top ten results as the season progresses. He already had a good start to the season at Hawkstone International beating the likes of Evgeny Bobryshev to show he has the speed needed at the top level.
“I want to be inside the top fifteen. It’s not unrealistic at all, I just want to start there and then see where we can go. That’s my plan, there’s a lot of fast guys as we know, the speed is high but I’m looking forward to it.” Irwin revealed.
It’s great for such a small country to have two riders in the Grand Prix paddock for 2018, we should be very proud of them.
Graeme Irwin’s season gets underway at the first round of the MXGP World Championship this weekend whereas Martin Barr has to wait a little longer. Barr will travel to Spain, Redsands for the first round of the EMX250 series but has the first round of the Maxxis British Championship to focus on first.
Fingers crossed they can both stay fit for the duration of the season and really help put our country on the map again in the Motocross world.