HOLMFIRTH’S Joe Irving is having a debut season to remember in the British Superbike Championship.
Racing in the British 125GP Championship and competing for the ACU Academy Cup, the 14-year-old Holmfirth High School student has made a huge impact.
Already he is pushing for the Academy Cup title and lies fourth in the rankings on 72 points, just 31 behind leader Wayne Ryan, and is eighth in the 125GP standings overall, having scored 51 points.
And Joe’s dad Mark, who runs the Toad and Tatie in Holmfirth, couldn’t be happier.
“We are very pleased with what he has achieved and he has had a really good season,” said Mark.
“When we came in to the championship this season we were hoping that he would run in the top 15 or so, and to have him doing so much better is brilliant.
“But he has worked for it and he trains hard and we have had a great deal of help and support from his team manager Nick Carpenter.”
Irving races for Carpenter’s e3motorsport team, having joined the Hereford-based outfit following two years racing in Spain.
Joe headed for the continent after winning the British Conti 50cc Cup UK title to race in the Spanish 80cc GP series, and the experience has given him a great grounding for the British competition.
“He had two years out in Spain and while the first year was very good, the second was not so great,” said Mark.
“We had a couple of problems out there and trouble getting the bike set up how Joe wanted it, but the plan was always to come back and have a run in the 125GP once Joe was old enough.
“He started the season well enough and he had a great ride at Thruxton before we went to Knockhill and he got second place.
“In fact, had he not got such a poor start in Scotland he could easily have won that race.”
But Irving has already found a strong level of consistency in the series and has only once failed to pick up points – at Yorkshire circuit Croft – and on his last outing was a very creditable sixth at Oulton Park in horrendous weather conditions.
“The weather couldn’t have been much worse at Oulton Park,” said Mark.
“But then he has dealt with everything that has come his way this season.
“We go to Brands Hatch next and that will be another new track for him, but he is very bright and he learns quickly.”
With backing from his team and his dad, Joe is looking forward to having a second season in the 125GP category but then he may well follow in the footsteps of another Holmfirth racer – twice British 125 champion James Lodge.
“While it probably costs around £2,000 to compete in each meeting, we are definitely looking at next season,” said Mark.
“Then maybe we will go the same route as James did to the bigger bikes.
“Really it is a question of how quickly he grows as to when he moves, but ideally we would be looking at MotoGP in the long term.”