Former British Motocross champion Graeme Irwin will make a much-anticipated switch to tarmac racing this season aboard a new and improved Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR in Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Championship in Team 109 Kawasaki.
Irwin enjoyed many triumphant years during his motocross racing career however an injury to his wrist forced the Northern Irishman to reconsider his future in the world of motorcycle racing. The physical demands particular to Motocross and the impact it would have on his wrist prompted a look towards Superbike racing. After initial shakedown testing, Irwin is already seamlessly adapting to racing on tarmac.
Irwin will ride alongside 2018 Dickies Junior Supersport champion Eunan McGlinchey who will pilot a Ninja ZX-6R 636 in the Pirelli National Superstock 600 series.
Speaking ahead of the new challenge Irwin said: “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. 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 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.”
Graeme is the third of the Irwin brothers to switch to tarmac racing with both Andrew and Glenn already competing in the Bennetts British Superbike Championship. Glenn, who will also be racing a Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR in this year’s series said: “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. 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 Owner, Paul Tobin is ecstatic to have Irwin in the team: “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 Coordinator, Ross Burridge believes that the team’s passion combined with Irwin’s determination to succeed will be a winning combination as Team 109 Kawasaki continue their association with Kawasaki.
Burridge concluded: “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.”