10 September 2015
Irwin joins Whatley at Honda
Ulsterman's swop means big shake-up at Suzuki and Honda
Graeme Irwin is to leave the official UK Suzuki team to race for Dave Thorpe's Buildbase Honda squad next season. The 23-year-old Ulsterman will join Honda's current rider Kristian Whatley in the 450 class while Lewis Trickett will be the team's MX2 man.
His place at the Heads and All Threads Suzuki team is to be filled by Josh Spinks, while veteran Nev Bradshaw will once again rekindle his career by riding the team's RMZ250. Bradshaw joined the team mid-season to replace Harri Kullas who quit for the factory Husky team.
Irwin, currently fifth in the British championship with the possibility of climbing into the top three with one round remaining, moved up to the MX1 series last year and has been on the podium in both his MX1 seasons. He said: "This is a really good opportunity for me, to have the chance to work with and to ride for Dave and the rest of the team is something I am really looking forward to. I have showed good consistency over the last two seasons, and I hope with Dave's input and the potential of the new bike I can step up a level next year and show why I deserve my place in the team with Kristian and Lewis. I have still got a job to finish off this season, but I am already excited about next year now."
Thorpe said. "Graeme is a rider I have been watching for a bit now and has already showed that he can mix it with the leading names in Britain. Adding him alongside Kristian means that we are going to have a really strong line up in MX1 next year and I have high hopes as the initial testing we have done on the new CRF450R has been amazing so far. Then when you add Lewis into the mix in MX2, I think it is safe to say that Buildbase Honda is going to be a force to be reckoned with next season."
Neil Prince's Heads & All Threads Suzuki have secured three riders for 2016, with British championship riders Josh Spinks on a 450 and Nev Bradshaw on the 250, while Gary Gibson will compete in the AMCA MX2 championship.
Team boss, former British champ Neil Prince said: "I'm really happy to sign Josh, he's an up and coming rider who shows a lot of potential, and hopefully with the right winter, good training, and the proven RMZ450 package, we'll get him five spots up in the British championship. Nev is obviously a proven and experienced rider. He joined us late in 2015 and we know he'll give 120%, so to keep him on board for 2016 is great."
Spinks said: "I am very excited to be riding for the Heads & All Threads Suzuki team for 2016. With proven equipment and the experience within the team I'm hoping to take my results up a notch from this season, aiming towards the top five in the championship."
Bradshaw, who said he quit full-time racing at the start of this season only to make a comeback for Suzuki, said: "I'm confident for next year, it's nice to be able to have a proper crack at it again and I'll use the winter to hopefully get back to where I was last year. Obviously this year was difficult, and I realised how tough it can be, but with the backing of Heads & All Threads Suzuki and Neil, 2016 should be a good season."
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