Heads and All Threads rider Graeme Irwin overcame difficult conditions at the inaugural Pro Nationals Motocross Festival at Weston-super-Mare to take third place on his RM-Z450.
Last year’s Weston-super-Mare round of the Red Bull Pro Nationals was beautiful sunshine all weekend long, a far cry from the weather at Weston this year with rain and thunderstorms delaying qualifying and racing on Saturday for several hours, and another front or two soaked riders and track alike on Sunday.
The team had expected to be at the event with both Irwin and his MX2 colleague Luke Burton, but a practice incident during the week side-lined Burton with a shoulder injury and it was Irwin alone who would run the yellow machine.
During the much-delayed qualifying session late on Saturday afternoon, Irwin put his bike on pole. With the sun setting, the first race went to the line and Irwin had his start dialled in perfectly.
Although he had to concede his lead, he clawed back second and remained there until the end. The evening then concluded with a head-to-head event, in which Irwin took the win over some tough rivals.
Sunday morning dawned bright and sunny for the second race of the weekend. After an average start, Irwin made the best of the subsequent red flag and restart by going into the first few corners in second. Despite the great start, he was unable to find a good rhythm and made a few costly mistakes, ending the race eighth.
The final race got under way with a lot of water on the track after a storm front moved through. Here again Irwin had a great start in second, followed by a heated duel between himself and Kristian Whatley in the lead. Irwin finished the race third after a small mistake let a rival through, but the positions overall gave him the third podium spot on the weekend.
Team Manager – Neil Prince summed up: “Good weekend for Heads and All Threads Suzuki, we got onto the podium. I knew Graeme could do it, he just needs to ride how he can. He had a little mishap in the second race, but it was all good. Luke had a crash on Thursday and hurt his shoulder, so it was best for him to rest up.”
Graeme Irwin said of the weekend: “I qualified on pole on Saturday, and in the first race I had a second which I was happy enough with. In the second race I made a couple mistakes and the best I could do was eighth. “I just didn’t ride as well as I know I can.
“In the last race I was second out of the gate, and in the first half I was putting the pressure on Whatley for the lead but made a small mistake which let Watson by. I finished in a strong third place. The RMZ-450 and team were awesome and had the bike on point! I’d like to thank all the team and sponsors for the weekend!”