Following recent speculation in the motorcycle media, Kawasaki can now confirm that Graeme Irwin will switch to tarmac racing in 2019 aboard a new and improved Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR in the British Superbike Championship, Superstock 1000 Class.
Graeme will ride under the Team 109 Kawasaki banner, alongside 2018 Junior Supersport Champion Eunan McGlinchey who will pilot a Ninja ZX-6R 636 in the Junior Superstock Class. Team Owner, Paul Tobin is ecstatic to have Graeme on the team and has welcomed the former British Motocross Champion 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,” revealed Tobin. “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.”
Graeme 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 saw Graeme look towards Superbike racing. After initial shakedown testing, it appears that Graeme will be able to seamlessly adapt to racing on tarmac.
“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,” said Irwin.
“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 turning wheels in the British Superbike Championship. Glenn, who will also be racing a Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR in this year’s series says: “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 109 Kawasaki have proved their worth in the short time they have had an association with Kawasaki. Kawasaki Motors UK Senior Racing Coordinator, Ross Burridge believes that the team’s passion combined with Graeme’s determination to succeed will be a winning combination. “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.”