Graeme Irwin’s season came to a sad end after breaking his right wrist at the final round of the 2018 FIM Motocross World Championship in Imola. With Irwin now needing surgery, MXoN Team Ireland needed to react quickly with the Motocross of Nations now just days away.
Philip McCullough, Team Ireland manager, put out a statement this morning confirming that they were still on course for RedBud this weekend and that Gary Gibson will step into Irwin’s boots for RedBud.
Team Ireland statement read: “It is with deep regret, as Team Manager, I’m writing this statement.
“Graeme Irwin, unfortunately, was involved in a crash on lap 1 of the second MXGP race yesterday, at the final round of the World Championship at the Imola circuit in Italy.
Graeme sustained injuries to his right wrist and is flying back to Northern Ireland this morning to undergo surgery.
“I spoke with Graeme several times last night, from his hospital bed and this morning again, from the airport as he awaits his flight home, the disappointment at not being able to represent Team Ireland at this weekend’s MXoN, was very evident from our British champion.
“This is a massive blow for myself, not just on track, but to the team also as Graeme brings so much experience and charisma with his never give up attitude and outgoing personality.
“He is ‘gutted’ and along with myself, Martin and Richard will sorely miss his influence both on and off the track as we make final preparations before flying to the USA.
“Yet again, last night I made the call to my MXGP/Open class reserve rider, Gary Gibson, who was initially bitterly disappointed to hear of Irwin’s injury, but also thrilled to get the call and stand in for his friend and fellow countryman.
“It will be a very busy next few days for myself and Gary to get everything in place before we fly to Chicago on Wednesday morning.
“I want to thank Gary personally for literally dropping everything after his inclusion in Team Ireland was confirmed.
“At this stage, I would also like to thank Roger Magee, Lee Tolan and Bryan Connolly from Hitachi ASA KTM UK as more developments on this will be revealed in the upcoming days.
“Graeme Irwin is one of the toughest and most dedicated individuals I have had the pleasure [of] working with, not only since my appointment as Ireland Team Manager but also at the early stages of his illustrious career.
“I wish Graeme a full recovery and no doubt the Carrickfergus man will bounce back from this… it’s what he does best.” Philip McCullough, Team Manager.