For Graeme Irwin to be retiring from top-flight motocross is not only a real blow to the sport but a real blow to my ego too as it actually makes me feel really, really old. I can remember back to the days when he was a wee nipper rising up through the ranks – it wasn’t even all that long ago – and now he’s done-diddly-done!
Okay, he’s hanging his Tech 10s up a fair few years ahead of schedule – he’s only just turned 27! – as the wrist injury he picked up at the Italian Car Parkcross GP is so severe that he feels he won’t be able to perform at his best ever again.
Irwin’s one of those characters who has left a mark in many different ways. He’s possibly the only rider I’ve seen perform an Irish jig to celebrate winning a maiden Maxxis moto and he’s definitely the only rider whose shoulder I’ve helped to pop back into joint.
He’s one of the many riders I’ve raced back up the A34 in a van (yes, it’s irresponsible I know and not something I’d perhaps do now but was a good laugh at the time) and also one of the 100 or so riders who’s done something on a dirt bike that has absolutely blown my mind – that year he won all those titles with Buildbase Honda he was just something else!
On the flipside I’ve also seen him crash far too often too (some hideously big ones) and so in that sense I’m happy to see him walk away from the sport with his wife and two kids in tow having hit the kind of highs that so few manage. All in all it’s been an exceptional career, wholly entertaining – both on and off the track – and I’m glad to have been there to see lots of it firsthand and read about the rest in TMX. So, well done Graeme for having the balls to call it a day and congratulations on being a class act throughout your whole career – it’s been a blast…