STUART DWYER took a giant leap into the unknown when he took up motorcycle racing in 2012. However the Bray native took it all in his stride to finish the season in eighth position overall in the prestigious Adelaide Masters Series and landing the Best Newcomer award in the process.
The 25-year-old, who works as an assistant sales manager for Dell Inc., has only been riding motorcycles for four years and didn't hold any great ambitions towards going racing until some of his friends loaned him a race bike to try his hand at a 'track day' in Mondello Park. In typical fashion, one visit to the Kildare venue was enough to have Dwyer hooked and within two weeks he had bought himself a Honda CBR 600 race bike.
Entering the 'Pre-Injection' Class in the Adelaide Masters Series, Dwyer set himself the lofty goals of finishing within the top 15 at every race meeting, as well as gaining as much experience as possible. As anyone within racing will testify, consistency is key to a good season and the Bray man only had the very occasional trip to the 'Kitty Litter' in an otherwise solid debut year, indeed a ninth place finish at the opening round of the championship hinted at the potential of the rookie.
In the subsequent rounds, as the lap times fell so the points garnered increased with two seventh place finishes at rounds five and six of the championship whilst at the following two rounds, held at the ultra-fast Bishopscourt Circuit in Co. Down, Dwyer secured a pair of eighth place finishes. The final three rounds of the Adelaide series were held on the International Circuit at Mondello Park over the weekend of October 6th and 7th and the weekend didn't get off to the best of starts, with Dwyer crashing out on the third lap of qualifying. Thankfully both bike and rider were ok and despite only completing two laps, he still qualified a very respectable seventh, behind and ahead of much more experienced competitors.
Race one saw Dwyer cross the line sixth, with his best lap time of 1 min 55.8 seconds, just 4 seconds off championship winner and multiple champion Declan Swanton's best time. Race two saw him take 10th place after a race long battle with Thomas Whitmore who had won the Adelaide Masters Pre-97 (the predecessor to the Pre-Injection Class) title in 2011. In race three Dwyer took a ninth place finish to close out his season in eighth place overall.
Dwyer has decided to enter the fiercely competitive Supersport 600 Class for 2013 on an ex-Gearlink UK Kawasaki ZX-6 in both the Adelaide Masters Series and the Irish Clubman Championships. Sponsored by 'Something Incredible Clothing' who are based in the UK. The Bray man hopes to continue to improve his lap times whilst retaining his consistency, and as such will be joining a local cycling club to improve his fitness over the winter.
"I grew up cheering on Texan Colin Edwards in the World Superbike and Moto GP Championships and like every other fan, I dreamt of one day having a go at racing, but it wasn't until my friend loaned me a track oriented bike for a spin around Mondello that I really started to think about giving racing a go," Stuart said.
"I have had a better season than I expected so hopefully I can continue to learn as I take the step up to the Supersport Class. I know it's probably the most competitive category there is and I will have to up my game a lot if I am to even score points but I will be giving it 100% once the flag drops at the start of the season.
"Racing is extremely expensive, and but for the on-going support of my sponsors 'Something Incredible Clothing' I would have struggled to be on the grid all year. One or two other companies have expressed an interest in being involved next year so hopefully their interest becomes concrete over the winter. If any readers would like to be involved with us in 2013 we would be most grateful for any assistance."
The long dark nights of winter are only around the corner prompting many to retire to their favourite armchair beside the hearth to sit out the bleak months, but one young Wicklow man will be out training for all his worth to try and do his Garden County proud.