Interview: Graeme Irwin
It was so close yet so far for an unlucky Graeme Irwin at Desertmartin!
Pole position and two holeshots should have got the popular Buildbase Honda man at least on the podium at his home round if not the win, but a crash while leading race one left the Ulsterman with broken handlebars, and a costly DNF. Irwin went from the ultimate high to the ultimate low in a matter of seconds.
Up to that point it couldn’t have went any better as the partisan crowd urged their hero around every inch of the track as he defended the lead from Tommy Searle. Irwin had some blazing speed and it was even more impressive considering he is riding against guys doing GPs week-in, week-out.
In race two Irwin was even more motivated and took the holeshot of his life, five bike lengths ahead of everyone! Despite another crash Irwin worked his way back into second to salvage what he could for the day and gave the crowd something to cheer right until the end of meeting.
We caught-up with an understandably frustrated Irwin to get his thoughts on a roller-coaster day!
Let’s start with that qualifying lap that got you pole, you were putting the bike sideways in the air and riding with full-on aggression!
Irwin: I believe this year I have the speed and I knew I had the get the lap in early. There was that triple at the back that I think only me and Tommy did, and that separated us a lot, but we were definitely riding fast!
You holeshot in front of the home crowd and led, how does that feel?
Irwin: Yeah it’s amazing, the crowd were awesome, I put the hammer down for a couple of laps. I knew Tommy was going to come on strong, I knew he was going to catch me so I wanted to get in a rhythm, but I didn’t jump the triple one lap and he was right on me then. But I was holding my own, everything was going good, then, it wasn’t so much a mistake, I went to jump to the right – I was doing it every single lap but this time I must have missed it by six inches, I just clipped the post and it fired me down. I broke the handlebar and I was gutted because I think I might have been able to get up and still win it after what happed Tommy (mechanical issues). That was really disappointing.
The second race I went into the first corner with full aggression, with riding here before when you come into the first turn too hot the worst thing you can do is shut off so I just kept the gas on, I landed to the left but landed in some soft stuff and that fired me to the right! I had a bit of a battle with Tommy but I got water behind my tear-off and I couldn’t reach it, by the time I got the tear-off pulled off, I was second and Nicholls was right behind me. He passed me which was a bit disappointing because if felt if I stayed behind Tommy I could see where he was going and try to go.
Then to top it all off I lost the front and went down and got up in fourth, got back up and put the hammer down and got by Simpson and then Jake but Tommy was quite a bit up the track. I think he made a mistake near the end and I caught up a bit but it would have been better if he wouldn’t have been able to start it! (laughs)
Aside from the crash you must be really happy with you speed, you are the only non-gp guy on the pace with the GP regulars.
Irwin: Yeah and it’s been the same all season, I was third in the championship coming into today but I am absolutely gutted about that first race (Irwin dropped to fifth in the series), that crash. The crash didn’t bother me, it happens and it’s easy to do stuff like that but to not be able to get back on the bike again, I believe I would have won the race (with Searle’s DNF) and it really pissed me off, it’s hard to take.
The entry lists came out for the British GP and you aren’t on it, was that your decision?
Irwin: No I really want to, it was Dave’s decision not too. I don’t think he wants us to get hurt, I am leading two championships in the UK which I kind of understand, but I want to be racing GPs. I think that second race after going down and passing Nicholls it shows I have the speed to run with those guys (GP regulars).
I just want to thank the crowd for all their support today it really was awesome and I really appreciate it.