Former British motocross champion Graeme Irwin will make his debut in this year’s National Superstock 1000 Championship.
The 27-year-old will ride under the Team 109 Kawasaki banner, joining 2018 British Junior Supersport champion Eunan McGlinchey in the team, who has made the switch to the Superstock 600 class this season.
Irwin was forced to call time on his glittering motocross career as a result of a wrist injury, but after completing a test on a Kawasaki ZX-10RR under the watchful eye of his brother and British Superbike rider Glenn at Monteblanco in Spain, the 27-year-old believes he will be able to race competitively in the class on the less demanding short circuits.
“Although it feels really strange that my motocross career is finished and I have a new adventure ahead, it’s great to have such fantastic support all around me and I’m enjoying the zero pressure attitude that everyone has,” Irwin said.
“I want to have fun racing again and Kawasaki have allowed that to happen. At the start of the year I am expecting to be a little off the pace until I find my feet, but I plan to make improvements with every race.
“It’s all new to me, race tracks, road bikes and knees down but I can’t wait to get racing for Team 109 Kawasaki in April.”
Elder brother Glenn said he was ‘proud’ to be able to play a role in Graeme’s transition to short circuit racing.
“Whilst I was gutted to see Graeme’s Motocross career end, Graeme has always been a highly talented and professional rider and we knew we had to get him onto a road bike,” said the Quatrro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider.
“Due to my new relationship with Kawasaki UK and the recent success of the Ninja ZX-10RR, we mutually decided that Kawasaki and the Team 109 Kawasaki squad was the best combination for him to move forward. I’m very proud to be a part of Graeme’s new journey.”Team 109 owner Paul Tobin has welcomed Irwin to the team with open arms.
“As soon as I heard that Graeme wanted to compete in the National Superstock 1000 Championship I didn’t need to think twice about it and I agreed to have him on board immediately.
“All of the team are extremely excited to get his tarmac career under way and we are sure it will be as successful as his motocross career given his extremely impressive outings on a road bike so far.”
Kawasaki Motors UK Senior Racing Co-ordinator, Ross Burridge, added: "Despite never having worked with Graeme previously, he has always impressed me with his attitude both on and off the track. The Superstock 1000 class is extremely competitive, however I am confident that with the right team, machinery and manufacturer support around him, there is no reason why Graeme can’t surprise a few people right from the outset.”
Graeme is the third brother from the Carrickfergus-based Irwin family to join the British championship scene, with 24-year-old Andrew signing for the Honda Racing BSB team this year.