MOTORCYCLING: Andrew Irwin ready for Thailand test

Carrickfergus rider Andrew Irwin  all set for the Thailand round of the 2018 World Supersport  Championship.
Carrickfergus rider Andrew Irwin all set for the Thailand round of the 2018 World Supersport Championship.

This weekend Carrickfergus rider Andrew Irwin will hopefully realise his dream of actually racing in a World Championship series.

Irwin is set to line up at the, Chang International Circuit, Buriram, Thailand for round two of the World Supersport series on the CIA Landlord Insurance Honda team.

Graeme Irwin scores  points at MXGP of Europe.

Graeme Irwin scores points at MXGP of Europe.

He was unfortunately ruled out of the opening round in Australia due to a crash in the opening test, breaking bones in his left hand, which were successfully operated on before he left Australia. Since then the 23-year-old has be recuperating at home in Carrickfergus and can’t wait to get back out on track this weekend.

“It’s round one all over again for me but I’m looking forward to it,” he said before packing his bags for the second time this year.

“It was supposed to be an eight to ten week recovery time for my hand, but I have been doing everything I can to speed up the process and it seems to have worked. As the humidity will be extreme in Thailand I have been spending a lot of time in the sauna and believe it or not that seems to have helped the healing.

“It’s only going to be four weeks since the accident until I ride the bike again and I feel good. The one thing the injury hasn’t disrupted is my work in the gym. I have been training flat out and all I need now is bike time .”

What was the impression of the race bike albeit a short one in Australia?

“Straight away it felt good but because I have had very little time on the bike since the start of the season I have to be realistic,” said Irwin.

“Still my aim is to go through to SP2 and then into the final twelve in qualifying in Thialand. It’s going to be tough but I’ll give it one hundred per cent.”

Meanwhile, brother Graeme Graeme Irwin was in the points again in freezing conditions at the MXGP of Europe at Valkenswaard, Netherlands at the weekend round two of the world championship, but it was a tough weekend for the reigning British Champion.

After finishing 22nd fastest in timed practice he had a massive crash in the qualifying race on Saturday.

“I made a good start to the race but was taken out by another rider,” he said. “I picked myself up and got going again only to get launched over the handlebars with the bike coming down on my back. Luckily I wasn’t badly injured. That’s all part of motocross but it wasn’t the start I needed” Added Graeme. Eventually he finished the moto in 24th position.

In his opening race on Sunday, Irwin brought the 450 SX-F ASA Hitachi KTM UK home in a points scoring 19th place at the end of the 30 minute plus two laps moto and in the following race he finished just outside the points in 21st position behind double winner, Dutch rider Jeffery Herlings on the Red Bull KTM.

“I was so unlucky,” he sighed. “I just couldn’t find a rythm and wasn’t riding good in race one yet I finished inside the points. Then in race two I got an average start but was coming through the pack.

“I was making a pass for 16th when I washed the front out and crashed bending the bike quite badly and could do no more than bring it home best I could for 21st.

“It was really disappointing to finish outside the points but hopefully I will bounce back strong at Redsand MX Park, Spain this weekend in round three,”he added. Irwin now lies 23rd in the championship on eight points.

After the opening round of the Superbike World Championship in Australia Jonathan Rea lies third in the table after finishing fifth in race one and second in race two.

The Ballyclare World Champion will be hoping for a repeat of last years visit to Thailand where dominated the meeting taking pole position, a double win and led every lap of both races on the Kawasaki.