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Graeme Irwin interview – braving the pain!

Graeme Irwin interview – braving the pain!
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Graeme Irwin doesn’t quit, not even when he suffers third degree burns in practice!

The points Irwin got at Blaxhall in the third round of the British championship riding with third degree burns on his back have kept him in third place in the championship just 33 behind Jake Nicholls, with Irwin ready to attack the series at his home round at Desertmartin (RD4) this weekend now that he is healthy.

Irwin, who describes the two weeks after the race as “hell” such was the pain, has amazingly had his best GP events since his return to action with Ottobiano seeing Irwin get an 18th and 16th but running in 13th for most of the first moto until the heat got him.

The current British champ is showing the pace he has on the world stage and as he comes home with the number one plate to Desertmartin this weekend for British championship action, he is ready to give his all once again on his Hitachi ASA KTM machine to retain his title, pain or no pain!

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Did returning to St Jean D’Angely a couple of weeks back where you broke your neck in 2011 affect you?

I just wanted to get out of France alive and not leave in an ambulance! I think I went in with the wrong mental attitude. After first practice I wasn’t thinking about my crash so much but I just started my weekend wrong and that carried on for the whole weekend.

Last week we made some positive changes to the bike on Tuesday with WP and we definitely got more comfortable on the bike and that was the biggest step I think for the weekend.

Irwin Pic: Ray Archer

You had a great start in the first moto (sixth) at Ottobiano last weekend – it looked a very intense pace on the first lap!

I made a mistake and that cost me a few places so I dropped down to 12th, but from lap two to three I was there the whole race until the last five minutes, the heat really did get to me. I was quite surprised because I felt good in the second race, so it was not the fitness it seems to be just the heat.

Your pace since you came back from your injury seems to be really good, maybe even better than before,you have ran inside the top 15 at the British GP and Ottobiano, you must be pleased to show the speed you have at that level?

The pace since the injury seems to have turned around, yeah it’s the same as Matterley I was 13th or something to the last four minutes, it’s different running at the pace. I just think I needed to get more comfortable, I think that was the biggest thing, just to make it an easier ride and I feel we achieved that. Ottobiano was probably my first hot race I extreme heat that I really had to do, no other race really sticks out, so that was new for me.

Pic: Nigel McKinstry

I just need to keep on top of it, my best result is still 16th, I think I have had three 16ths so it’s becoming a bit of stumbling block but I am looking forward to overcoming that.

Even getting 20th in that class is a big achievement, I don’t know if some people realise just how quick you heave to go just to get a point in MXGP this season it’s that deep with talent, you are battling with guys that have GP podiums or wins every week!

It is a really fast class and there are so many guy that have won races or been on the podium. We are riding against a lot of those guys and a lot of factory bikes too and I’m not saying with a factory bike you would have a big advantage but it shows they are all good riders.

Pic: Scott Dunne

Moving to the British championship this weekend, you are currently third 32 points behind Jake Nicholls who seems to have the momentum in the championship, are you looking at changing that this weekend?

Yeah we have only done three rounds of eight, so this will only be the halfway mark. For me to win the championship I have to turn it around this weekend, we know that. As a team we set a goal when I came back. Blaxhall was a damage limitation thing, then it was about getting healed up and be 100% for Desertmartin. I feel like I am back there and riding back to my usual way, I just need to stay focused and concentrate on myself and we can definitely have a good day.

You haven’t had the best of luck in the British from round two then the injury at round three, how difficult was it to ride with those burns and then even just sleep for the next few weeks?

It was hell. Blaxhall in the first race after got going, it wasn’t too bad except I didn’t feel like I had much fight, when you have a serious burn like that your body goes into shock mode without you even realising, I just couldn’t get going. The second one I felt every single lap of it, you know with burns, your skin all tightens up and it was just hell.

Irwin Instagram

Then from there we went straight to the hospital and spent five days there. They told me straight away I needed a skin graft but I said I needed to race! They used this new treatment, nexobrid, and they did that and lucky enough I didn’t need the skin graft. But he said it would be more discomfort but in the long term it would be just as good as skin graft.

But those first two weeks, I feel like I went through hell with it, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t sweat, my body temperature went up the pain I was going through was so bad. But anyway, after two weeks it kind of settled down and two and a half or three weeks I was back on the bike getting ready for the British GP. I don’t think we lost any speed.

Irwin was impressive in his comeback ride after injury at the British GP. Pic: Ray Archer

I’m still going through the side effects of it with blistering and it weeping out after a day’s riding but it’s not making me any slower on the bike it’s not holding me back – it’s just a pain in the ass having to wash the bed sheets every night!

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