Belfast Telegraph

Graeme Irwin hoping to home in on British title at Desertmartin

By Roy Harris

Graeme Irwin brings the much-coveted red No.1 plate — which signifies the Maxxis British MX1 Championship leader — to Desertmartin tomorrow where the Cookstown Club host the fifth round of the high-profile motocross series.

Irwin is hoping to become the first local rider since Gordon Crockard to lift the major British MX1 Championship.

However, the occasion will also be a sad one following the death of 25-year-old Steven Lenoir — the second-placed rider — in an accident during a Flanders Motocross Championship meeting in his native France two weeks ago.

Lenoir was once a team-mate of Irwin’s at Emberton Yamaha and his death shocked both Irwin and the motocross fraternity. Lenoir will be remembered at Desertmartin by a minute’s silence and a lap of remembrance.

On the same weekend brother Glenn won at the North West 200, Graeme took the overall win of the British MX round at Hawkstone Park to earn the No.1 plate.

He takes a 29-point lead into tomorrow’s two races over Latvian Gert Krestinov in third.

The Carrickfergus rider said: “I’m proud to be bringing the red plate to my favourite circuit, but I also want to leave Desertmartin still wearing the No.1 plate. I came here a year ago with high expectations, but a mistake cost me dearly and I don’t want to repeat that.

“When I saw Glenn winning at the North West it put pressure on me to up my game, which I did by taking two victories for the overall win at Hawkstone — I can’t have Glenn hogging all the headlines, can I?”

Irwin’s Buildbase Honda team-mate Martin Barr, who is from Ballyclare, lies in third position in the MX2 Championship, 43 points behind leader Ben Watson, who rides for Crossgar businessman Roger Magee in his Hitachi KTM UK team.

The high-class entry at Desertmartin includes the best of British competitors plus many from further afield battling it out over two races per class in what should be a thrilling day of action which kicks off with practice from 9am, the first race being scheduled for 11.55am.

Meanwhile, organisers of the MCE Ulster Grand Prix have announced a new partnership with the Charles Hurst Group, which will see the Group become an event partner.

Lexus Belfast and Charles Hurst Van Centre will be the official vehicle suppliers and Charles Hurst Motorcycles will be the title sponsors of the Dundrod 150 National Road Races.

To celebrate, Charles Hurst will host an exclusive ‘meet the road riders’ event on Monday, June 26 at their BMW Motorrad showroom from 7pm with fans now invited to register for a ticket by e-mailing

win@ulstergrandprix.net no later than Wednesday, June 21.

The line-up of riders will include Michael, William and Gary Dunlop, Peter Hickman, Dean Harrison, Adam McLean, Daley Mathison and Dominic Herbertson.

They will all be interviewed live by Manx Radio commentator Chris Kinley on their preparations for the final major international road race of the season.

David White, Head of Business at Charles Hurst Motorcycles, said: “It was an easy decision for us to support the MCE Ulster Grand Prix this year.

“The standard of racing is at world-class level, as is the specification of the full week’s programme of fan-based, engaging racing events. I know our customers are excited about the partnership and we all look forward to the UGP.”

Dundrod Clerk of the Course Noel Johnston added: “We’re delighted to announce the Charles Hurst Motorcycles Dundrod 150 and the wider partnership with Charles Hurst Group as an overall event partner.

“We’re looking forward to the event at BMW Motorrad, which will showcase what we have in store for fans come August.

Belfast Telegraph

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