Sunny skies and extra sand greeted the riders for round two of the Ulster championship at Desertmartin and it was a combination that provided a brutal track all day for the competitors!
On a track far rougher than Valkenswaard MXGP, (no track smoothing in Ulster motocross!) Martin Barr had his hands full with the 450 machines in the power-sapping deep sand but ultimately prevailed and answered every challenge.
Barr had won both motos at a Hawkstone in MX2 the day before and the Irish contingent including Glenn McCormick, Richard Bird, Jason and John Meara and more all landed at Desertmartin bleary eyed from their efforts in the MX Nationals but ready for another hard day’s racing on another sand track!
And the racing didn’t disappoint! James Mackrel, now on a 450 KTM, edged Barr in superpole and took the first race holeshot in front of a big crowd with Barr quickly into second.
The front two broke away from the pack as Barr shadowed Mackrel but wasn’t making a move as Mackrel showed some very impressive sprint speed on an already bumpy circuit.
Just after the half way mark Barr made his move and Mackrel couldn’t fight back allowing the 250f Crescent Yamaha to take the win overall but Mackrel took the MX1 win.
Behind them it was a battle royal with Robert Hamilton showing good early speed on the Risk racing KTM before John Meara, Jason Meara, Glenn McCormick (on a 250) and Richard Bird all battled it out for third overall.
McCormick, with just a couple of laps to go, got into third passing John Meara, but the eldest Meara countered immediately and a lap later McCormick was back in sixth with Jason Meara and Richard Bird both finding their way by – that’s how close the action was!
The battle was then on between the Meara brothers with Jason, finding his flow in the second half of the race, nicking third from John with just over a lap to go.
Race two was a three-way battle for the lead! The Meara brothers (John from Jason) who led out of turn one but it was Barr and Mackrel quickly on the move. Barr led by lap three but it was Mackrel coming from sixth who passed everyone including Barr to lead by lap seven!
Jason Meara woke up when Mackrel went by and found his pace to go with the front two of Barr and Mackrel and, when Mackrel made the move on Barr, Meara ended flowing suit and then passed Mackrel for the lead!
Barr looked to lose his rhythm but once the challenge was set and he was back in the third he started find some better lines and upped his game. Barr re-passed Mackrel and was chasing Meara when the Kawasaki rider went down handing the race lead back to Barr and the MX1 lead back to Mackrel!
Barr took to the win after impressively re-grouping despite a tough middle of the race and it was Mackrel who took his second MX1 win of the day. John Meara rode very strong for third and had been on the back of the front three after getting his flow mid-race with Glenn McCormick next best 250 in sixth doing his best to hang on to Barr and the 450s.
Race three and it was Mackrel who took the holeshot and set about pulling away, Barr gated fifth and had to work his way by the Mearas and a very fast Robert Hamilton, who is looking faster than he has in a few years and seems to be loving the KTM!
Barr made his way into second after John Meara hit the deck challenging Barr for third with Jason Meara again slow to find his race rhythm and unable to go with Barr’s pace early.
Barr then made the move on Mackrel with Jason Meara, now into his flow, right there in the third. With Barr into the lead, Meara raised his intensity and passed Mackrel to take the MX1 lead and set his sights on Barr.
But after closing the gap slightly, Barr got the message and upped his pace to take the win with Mackrel keeping Meara honest but unable to make a challenge for the MX1 win meaning Jason finally got the win he wanted and ended three days of racing in a row on a high – but he will rue that second moto crash that gave Mackrel the MX1 overall and prevented a mouth-waterinh battle with Barr for the moto win!
Glenn McCormick was showing superb pace early on running the leaders’ pace and getting his best result of the day in 4th and second overall in MX2.
In Grade B it was Conor Mullan who won all three but it wasn’t as easy and round one with Mullan taking the lead on the last lap to win race three in an exciting moto that showed the youngster not only has speed but the heart and desire to dig deep on a rough track.
Roy McGarvey had some nice lines to win Grade C MX1 with Scott Fisher winning all three in Grade C MX2.