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Honda duo dominate Hawkstone MX Nationals

Graeme Irwin and Martin Barr finished first and second overall as Buildbase Honda dominated the Pro MX1 class at round three of the Michelin MX Nationals at Hawkstone Park on Sunday.

Leading his team-mate by 16 points after overall victories at the opening two rounds, defending champion Graeme kept his 100 per cent record intact with victory in both 30-minute plus two lap races and left the iconic Shropshire circuit with a 24-point advantage over Martin.

“I qualified in pole and holeshot the first race and led every lap,” said Graeme. “In the second race I got another holeshot with Martin and Elliott Banks-Browne behind me. The track was really rough so it was down to who wanted to push the most.

“I had nice rhythm going and when they got past me I didn’t panic because I knew I had more in the tank. In the last three laps I put my head down, got into the lead and won the race quite easily. It was a good day.”

Graeme dedicated his win to close rival Steven Lenoir who tragically lost his life in a crash in his native France six days earlier.

From right, Martin Barr, Graeme Irwin and Elliott Banks-Browne
From right, Martin Barr, Graeme Irwin and Elliott Banks-Browne

Martin, again stepping up to a CRF450R from his usual MX2 machine, ended the day second overall with a 3-2 card. After two weeks out of the saddle with a leg infection he was forced to work harder than he’d have liked to after finding himself at the back of the field following a first lap crash in the opening moto.

“It’s been a tough day really,” said Martin. “I got a decent enough start in the first race and was just into fourth when I had a big crash on the opening lap. Carlton Husband went down and I got caught up in that so I had a lot of work to do but I just kept at it and eventually got up to third at the flag and was right on Gert Krestinov for second. It was a hard race and I had to put a lot of effort in to get back.

“I knew moto two was going to be another tough one because the track was really rough but I had another good start and was second behind Graeme so I followed him for a fair bit of it and then Elliott put on a charge and got past us both.

“We got back by him and then I got into the lead with maybe four laps to go but I made a couple of big mistakes and Graeme got by me. Because I’d put so much into the first race I ran out of steam ever so slightly.

“I’m happy to be battling for the win with Graeme, especially because of how well he’s riding at the minute and because I’ve had to jump off the 250 onto the 450. At the same time I’d still have liked to have won that race but I can’t complain too much and second overall isn’t a bad result considering how the last two weeks have been.

“Now I’m riding again I can get on with my preparation for the Maxxis next week and my home race at Desertmartin.”

Martin Barr took second
Martin Barr took second

Team boss Dave Thorpe was delighted with both his riders’ performances.

“Graeme and Martin have ridden very, very well today,” he said. “The track was in mint condition – there was a lot of moisture in the ground so subsequently there were a lot of lines which made for very good racing.

“Graeme holeshot the first race and when he decided to pick up the pace he just went away and won it quite comfortably. Martin on the other hand came from a long way back after a first lap crash to third behind Gert.

“In the second race Graeme and Martin started first and second. Elliott passed them both but they were happy to sit behind him and at half-distance they passed him back and then just went at it – Martin passed Graeme and then Graeme passed Martin. With two laps to go Graeme managed to open a little gap which was enough to secure the win. It was a great race for the fans.

“They’re now both heading into their home round of the Maxxis ACU British Motocross Championship at Desertmartin next week with their tails up so we’re really happy.”

Pics by Nuno Laranjeira

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