Words: Malcolm Beattie
It’s hard to believe that the biggest off-road event in Ireland is almost upon us, with only two weeks to go until the highlight of the motocross calendar arrives at Desertmartin on the 24th June, the organising Cookstown Club are hard at work preparing the World-famous circuit to the highest level ready for the cream of British motocross to show their skills.
This year, the Club are delighted to host a round of the British Two Stroke Championship for the first time.
This Championship has been introduced by the ACU due to rider enthusiasm and is presently led by Dutchman Mike Kras on the GL12 KTM run by two stroke enthusiast Bob Buchanan, second dis Ashley Wilde, no stranger to these shores, while third is Kras’ team mate James Dunn, further down the table are familiar names like frequent visitor to Ireland South African Neville Bradshaw, veterans such as Brian Wheeler Phil Mercer and Mark Eastwood, mixed with younger talent like Jamie Skuse, there will be some local names announced next week to add to the mix here.
Meanwhile, in the MX1 Class for big bikes, the Championship has been dominated this year by Buildbase Honda star Jake Nicholls on 140 points, the step back from GP riding seems to have rejuvenated the ‘Rev’ and he has been on impressive form, following behind in second is the big Russian Evgeny Bobryshev on 121 points, the privately run Suzuki seems to suit the aggressive riding ‘Bobby’, while third is local hero Graeme Irwin run by the Northern Ireland based Hitachi Construction ASA Scaffolding KTM UK team based is Crossgar and owned by local businessman Roger Magee, Graeme is also holding down 24th in the World, a fantastic achievement considering he suffered serious back burns in an horrific crash at Blaxhall in the last round of the MAXXIS British Championship, repaired but in pain he finished both races there and has competed in GP’s since then, he has 107 points and will be looking to the home crowd to help him add to this points tally.
Fourth is another ex-British Champion in Elliot Banks-Brown on 105 points, while fifth and sixth are veterans Brad Anderson and Ryan Houghton on 82 points each.
In the field as far as, local interest in concerned locals such as Loughbricklands John Meara on his Kawasaki, Jim O’Neill from Dublin on his SONC Concrete KTM are regular, Championship runners, but it looks like crowd favourite and all round nice guy, Stuart Edmonds will be a non-starter on his Apico KTM due to a recently sustained broken arm.
In the ultra-competitive MX2 Class the next ‘big name’ on the motocross scene, Conrad Mewse leads the Championship on 138 points, the youngster came up under the radar as he, perhaps wisely, concentrated his early youth career on the continent and has proved to be a great signing for the Hitachi Construction KTM UK team as he also lies thirteenth in the World Championship.
Second on 117 points is Josh Gilbert on the Dave Thorpe run Honda Adventure machine, another promising youngster on the domestic scene, while third is Mel Pocock on the Revo Husqvarna machine on 106 points while a point adrift is Liam Knight in his Pope Racing KTM.
Fifth after a disappointing opening round on 98 points is Ballyclare native Martin Barr on his Revo Husqvarna, however, Martin is currently leading the European MX2 Championship by three points from team mate Mel Pocock, Martin always enjoys racing in front of his home crowd and having a night’s sleep in his own bed too helps!!!
Other home interest in this class are the perennial home rivals Jason Meara from Loughbrickland and Glenoe man Glenn McCormick, both KTM mounted, and Dundonald youngster James Mackrel on his Yamaha, details of local wild card entries will be released closer to the event.
The Cookstown Club as usual would not be able to promote the event without the help of local sponsors, these include, Bannside Haulage & Pallets, Banbridge, Tobermore Concrete Products Ltd, Tobermore WJ Scarlett & Son Merchants, Ballyclare Bavarian BMW, Belfast
Charles Hurst Motorcycles, Fluid Plumbing & Heating Services MRA Ireland Ltd 2×4 Wheel Motorsport Steering Group, Edgar Electrical Supplies, Belfast, Heron Brothers, Draperstown
JB Tyres, Tobermore Lance Graham, LG Racing BM Auto exchange, Newtownards, Thompson Leisure Dromore, Mid Ulster District Council, and of course title sponsors MAXXIS Tyres and Pro Clean.
Further details will be released later, but racing commences at the circuit on 24th June at 1045 with practice and qualifying off at 0900am, postcode for the circuit is BT45 4QW and further details can be found on www.mxgb.co.uk
Words: Malcolm Beattie