The 2019 Nutt Travel MRA Ulster Motocross began last Saturday at Robinsons MX Circuit near Claudy Co. Londonderry with a new format, new sponsors and an increased prize fund encouraging a bumper entry of 226 riders, and spectacular racing round the well-prepared sandy circuit.
The Premier MX1 Class sponsored by Banbridge based Adair Building Services was taken with a spectacular last corner pass in race 2 by Jason Meara on his Kawasaki from a highly impressive Dundonald youngster James Mackrell on his Yamaha. In the two Premier races where the two classes run together, James had caused a sensation in Superpole by displacing Martin Barr for overall pole position and leading over three quarters of race one overall ahead of the Doagh based British Championship runner.
Mackrell was untroubled by any MX1 runners in race 1, but he was hunted down by a hard charging Jason in race 2 coming from a really bad start to clinch the overall on a tie break after an aggressive last corner pass, third was defending Champ Richard Bird, the Lisburn KTM mounted rider was rather subdued in race 2, where a missing petrol cap left him in some discomfort, and fourth was oldest Meara John on his Kawasaki, the Loughbrickland man suffering from bad starts, and an overcooked last corner left him frustrated during Superpole, where he looked the fastest man on track, fifth was Luke Smith on his Yamaha, returning from his Northampton base, and another exile returned in the shape of ex Irish & Ulster Champion Richard McKeown on his Husqvarna who captured 6th.
The Premier MX2 Class sponsored in 2019 by Sports Insure was clinched by Martin Barr on his Crescent Yamaha with two dominant class wins, second was his neighbour Glenn McCormick on his Husqvarna, third was consistent Dubliner Jordan Keogh on his Kawasaki, with local man Matthew Loughlin taking fourth on his return to the sport, fifth was David Robson from Bangor now KTM mounted, and sixth was Ruari McKeown, newly promoted from Semi Experts and showing good form.
The Premier Class only managed two races due to the delays caused during the day with First Aid cover, red flags, and gate malfunctions.
To add to the excitement, Magilligan MX Park ‘Superpole’ was a fantastic spectacle, as the riders crossed the line within five seconds of each other with the fastest qualifier, Barr, being pipped to overall pole by Mackrell.
The Semi Expert MX1 Class & MX2 Class both supported by Norman Watt young Southern rider Jack Daley ran out the overall winner with two impressive wins on his two stroke KTM, Donegal youngster Anthony Brown was second on his KTM four stroke, with Mpneyreagh man Aaron Ashton third, fourth was Russell Tannehill, fifth Jamie Mottram on his Yamaha, and local man Kyle Farrell-McAuley sixth.
The MX2 Class was dominated by Crossgar teenager Conner Mullan on his KTM, with Jack Moore and ex quad Champion Leon Rodgers battling it out for second, Dollingstown youngster William McBride looked set for a podium until a first corner pile up left him dead last in race 2 so fourth overall was an impressive result for the tall teenager, fifth was Magherafelt youngster Jake Hall on his Husqvarna, while sixth was another promotion from the Clubman’s this time in Calvin McCorkell, racing in this class was fantastic through the field all day.
The Clubman MX1 Class retains Robinson Concrete and is joined by CCM Racing from Dublin managed to get three races in on the day after a nasty crash caused a lengthy red flag in race 1, the overall was taken by Ballyclare man Stephen Mottram on his two stroke Yamaha from another two stroke mounted rider in Colin Gordon, third to fifth were taken by ‘local’ men Lee McGrath Roy McGarvey and Ryan Canning from Dungiven, while sixth was Dale Russell.
Laverty Motocross Clubman’s MX2 Class also managed three races with Eoin Duffy taking the overall from a spectacular Scott Fisher, third was Callum Hemphill, fourth was Aaron Finlay with another returnee in Matthew Bruce fifth and sixth was Connor Devlin.
The new for 2019 Veterans Class sponsored by Stephen Russell Motocross & Chilltec Refrigeration produced another tie break between friends Jonathan McBride and Richard Watt, the Kawasaki mounted Comber man McBride nearly losing the overall after a last corner lunge from the KTM of Ravarnet man Watt early had him, third was a steady Laurence Spence, fourth was a stylish Ian Moore on his two stroke KTM, fifth was Ballygowan man Brian Presho on his ex-Gary Gibson Kawasaki, sixth was a consistent Adrian Lappin from Ringneill.
If this is a foretaste of the coming season then we are in for a treat, full gates, close racing, and big crowds will certainly lift the sport, and well done to the enthusiastic young Club members of the North of Ireland Club on hosting their first Championship opener and coped well with unexpected and unpredictable delays and who prepared the venue to a high standard. Roll on Easter Monday for round 2