Graeme Irwin took his Buildbase Honda to a dynamite double victory at round four of the Maxxis ACU British Motocross Championship supported by Pro Clean at Hawkstone Park on Sunday.
It was the Irishman’s first overall victory in the class, earning him the MX1 red series leader’s plate as the championship passes the halfway stage – and there was a podium too for a fully-fit Martin Barr in MX2 following a pair of typically gritty rides.
After setting the fastest time in qualifying on his CRF450R, Graeme was made to work for his win in the opening moto when he lost a handful of places in a physical first turn. In race two he took the holeshot and sealed the overall with a gate-to-flag victory.
“That was a perfect day,” he said. “It couldn’t have been any better apart from the fact that I got a bad start in the first race but other than that it was awesome. I qualified in pole, won both races, the bike was fantastic, I didn’t get stung by any bees – everything was sweet. The first moto I had to work really hard to get there. I didn’t have an easy race and got banged about but fought my way through and in the second race I got the holeshot and just checked out. A huge thanks to all my team and sponsors. Now I’m bringing the red plate home to Desertmartin. That’s going to be a proud moment for me.”
After qualifying second Martin – who’s now fully recovered from a painful collarbone dislocation – took his CRF250R to a 2-4 scorecard for third overall on a circuit that remained surprisingly smooth. The result lifts him clear in third place in the championship and sees him close to within 13 points of second.
“Today wasn’t too bad,” he said. “In the first race I came out of the gate probably about fifth or sixth and it took me a few laps to get by some of the riders ahead of me. The track today was very fast and didn’t really rough up like it usually does but I still finished second and with Harri Kullas having a DNF I pulled some points back on him. In the second race I was looking for a better start so I could get on the top step but I was only 10th on the first lap. A few people ahead of me crashed so I worked my way up to third but lost a place on the last lap.
“It was good to get back on the podium but obviously I wanted more but my home round at Desertmartin is up next so hopefully things will go better there for me and I can start to claw some more points back.”
Team boss Dave Thorpe praised the behind-the-scenes work of the Buildbase Honda personnel.
“It was a brilliant team effort,” he said. “Graeme, Martin, Rob, Will and Ryan have worked tirelessly for the last few weeks to get to where we are now. Graeme dominated today. He got bumped in the first corner of the first race which knocked him back to about 10th but he methodically picked his way through. When he got into second he was 12 seconds behind Steven Lenoir but he put his head down, caught him and then pulled away to win comfortably. The last race was textbook motocross. He took the holeshot, rode hard for a few laps to open a gap and then controlled the race from the front. Martin’s back to full fitness now which is great but because of the dry weather the track didn’t dig out as much as he would have liked and he always goes better when it gets really rough. He rode exceptionally well today but I think if we’d had it a bit rougher it would have favoured him more than the younger guys.”
Images from Nuno Laranjeira