The racing was intense at the Odyssey Arena for rounds two and three of the ‘Monster’ Arenacross last weekend with the large crowds on the edge of their seats over the two nights of action.
Local boys Matthew Beattie and Charlie Irwin were both on top form on the Friday night, with Matthew finishing fourth in the six-lap 65cc race final.
In his two qualifying races he finished third and fifth on the Solid Fabrications KTM.
After a good start which saw him lying inside the top eight on the opening lap, he rode steadily to cross the line in fifth - just over a second behind Robert Storer on another KTM.
“I was disappointed that I didn’t make the podium but there’s always Saturday to come,” he said afterwards.
Ballyclare’s Charlie Irwin had a minor scare before the final as his bike stopped as it was being wheeled from the pits to the arena.
A bit of quick spanner work by his father, Neil, fixed the problem and Charlie was able to compete in his first Belfast Arencross final.
The seven-year-old was pleased to bring the Discount Beds KTM home in tenth place out of 14 starters. “It takes a bit of getting used to this arena racing but once I found some rhythm it wasn’t too bad,” he explained.
On Saturday, Beattie came so close yet so far to his first Arenacross podium in the 65cc race. He was lying third and pushing for second when he hit a rut and crashed his KTM. He remounted and battled his way to eighth. “I really thought I could make the rostrum but that’s the way it goes sometimes. I will focus now on this weekend’s round in Birmingham,” he said. Beattie is still is inside the top six as the series moves on to round four.
Irwin suffered a crash on the final lap of the race but he got back on again and finished to the cheers of a packed Odyssey Arena.
In Friday’s Pro final it was former champion Adam Chatfield who took victory in the 12-lap main event on the ASA Racing Honda. He was nearly three seconds clear of LPE Kawasaki rider Florent Richier, with Thomas Ramette completing the podium on the SR75 Molson Honda.
The best local finisher in the Pro final was Heads and All threads Suzuki rider Gary Gibson in 11th. Ed Allingham did not make the final after crashing out of the last chance race.
Saturday’s Pro final was won by Italian rider Angelo Pellegrini after Fridays winner was sidelined after a practice crash.