Reigning British MX1 Champion Graeme Irwin has his bags packed and the ASA/Hitachi KTM crated up and away to Argentina for the opening round of the MX1 Grand Prix World Championships this weekend.
Before heading off Graeme took time out to chat about his preparation and hopes for round one at the Neuquen circuit, Patagonia, Argentina.
The 27-year-old Carrick rider had his first competitive outing on the ASA/Hitachi KTM he will race in this year’s World Championship at the Hawkstone International at the start of February and he was happy with his performance and results.
“I was a good overall meeting finishing fifth in race one and eighth in race two,” Irwin said.
“I now know where I am and what I need to improve on. I’ve got the first race out of the way injury free so all’s good as I head to round one.”
Irwin raced against a few of the GP regulars like Jeffery Herlings, Max Anstey, Evgeny Bobryshev and Tommy Searle at Hawkstone and is set to go up against them again in Argentina.
Hawkstone offered the Ulster star a chance to gauge himself against future opposition.
“Yes it was a good chance to see where we were. I beat some top guys like Bobryshev and Searle and there were some good guys ahead of me in both races,” said Irwin.
“In the first race I was the first non-factory bike home, which pleased me and in race two I was the first non-factory bike until I was took out by a back marker.
“It wasn’t an ideal situation but it was a pre-season race and these things happen. After Hawkstone we knew where we were with the bike.
“Obviously we were happy with it but once you go to a race and put it through it’s paces you know where you need to make the little adjustments and fine-tune the bike,” he added.
“We tested some stuff after Hawkstone and I feel it’s going to be a lot better for me and more comfortable at the races so I’m really happy. We have had a couple of solid weeks preparing for Argentina in Europe which went really well.
“We did a three day test in Belgium then moved to Italy for a further four days so we are in the best shape we can be going into the opening round.”
Irwin is keeping an open mind ahead of the opener in Argentina, although he has the top 15 as an initial target.
“To be honest I am going in with an open mind and not pressure myself on the race. Obviously I have to get a good result, that’s my job, but I will go there and ride the bike how I know I can ride and I honestly think we will be good,” he said.
“A top 15 is where I want to be but we won’t know until we’re there. I suppose we are going in a little bit blind but our speed during testing is good and we’re not far away, so fingers crossed.
“I can’t wait now for the start gate to drop and we go racing.”