Round five of the Maxxis British Championship at Desertmartin was nothing short of brilliant.
Massive crowds turned out in blazing sunshine to watch the best motocross riders in the UK and Europe battle it out around the spectacular Desertmartin track.
Local riders didn’t get the results they aimed for before the meeting but it wasn’t for the want of trying. Both Graeme Irwin and Martin Barr had their sights set on the top step of the podium but on the day it didn’t happen.
27-year-old Carrick rider Graeme Irwin, the reigning British MX1 champion set the fourth fastest time on his ASA Hitachi KTM, in qualifying behind Kawasaki’s Tommy Searle but in his opening race made an awful start ending the opening lap in fifth. In true Irwin style he never gave up and although Searle was gone at the front he reeled in those ahead and took second four laps from home and was only two seconds behind race winner at the chequered flag with series leader Jake Nicholls on the Buildbase Honda third.
In the second MX1 race his start was terrible lying outside the top fifteen on the opening lap behind early leader Evgeny Bobryshev on the Lombard Express Suzuki. Again he got his head down, pushed hard and lap by lap picked off the opposition to finish fourth and claim a hard earned second overall behind overall winner Searle with Ivo Monticelli second in the race and third overall. Other locals in the points were Richard Bird on the Five5 KTM, 17th overand Luke Smith, 19th on the Watt Kawasaki.
“I felt that I had the speed to win today,” said Irwin. “But I have to improve my starts. It was a tough day all round. Even in qualifying it didn’t go to plan and I could only manage fourth fastest.
“I had two horrendous starts in my races spinning off the concrete and giving myself too much to do. It is definitely something I have to work on. In GPs we use the start grid, which is like one hundred percent grip then we come here and it is concrete.
“It’s frustrating because I feel my starts today cost me the chance to challenge for the overall. A nightmare but at least I made the podium. It was great to race at home and a big thank you to all the supporters who cheered me all the way home and to the Cookstown Club for putting on such a great event.”
Local riders may not have won but locally based ASA Hitachi KTM team did in MX2, with Conrad Mewse in devastating form, blitzing the opposition over the 25-minute plus two lap races. He won race one by over 35 seconds then race two by over 40-seconds.
Race one saw Martin Barr bring the Revo Husqvarna home in a well deserved second ahead of his team-mate Mel Pocock but in race two an opening lap crash blew any chance of the podium for Barr. He bravely gathered himself up and rode hard to finish 17th but he was gutted.
“It was a disappointing weekend,” said Barr. “I started off alright qualifying second and in the opening race I got away third but it took me a couple of laps to get past my team-mate Mel Pocock.
“Conrad Mewse was on a different level today riding very well. He was gone in the opening couple of laps and pulled quite a gap so I settled myself and brought it home for second position.
“I was looking forward to getting a good start in race two. I got boxed in at the start but after the red flag and the restart at ‘mechanics’ corner another rider came across me and took my front wheel and my bars got stuck in his back wheel and it felt that it took for ever to get out and by that I was last away.
“I came back to 17th and 8th overall but it was a frustrating weekend. It is the home race and you want to do well unfortunately that is the down side of motocross. You have to pick yourself up and get going again but from a championship point of view it has ended any hopes of that. I needed a good weekend to claw points back and it didn’t happen.”
Jason Meara and Glenn McCormick finished the day in 12th overall and 16th overall respectively, on their KTMs. In race two the pair were locked in a long battle for 11th that went in the end to Meara. McCormick was disappointed with parts of his day saying: “I was pleased to qualify ninth and it set me up nicely for the races. Unfortunately at the first jump in race one I hit a big stone as I landed and tucked the front.
“It’s not easy to come back after that but I fought back to 17th then in race two I made a better start in the restart and ended up 12th but I could have made the top ten if I hadn’t of been so tired after race one but I’m happy as it is an improvement.”
In the two-stroke class Holland’s Mike Kras had no equals taking his KTM to a comfortable double ahead of Italian Yamaha rider, Manuel Iacopi with Ashley Wilde completing the rostrum on his Husqvarna.