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An Irish British Champion in 2016?

An Irish British Champion in 2016?
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The last time an Irish rider won the Maxxis British Championship? That would have been back in 2003 when Gordon Crockard last won his British title.

Thirteen years later, could 2016 be the year another rider from this country wins the British championship? It’s early days but it is certainly the best chance we have had ever since Crockard’s success.

Since GC we have had two fast, talented riders in Graeme Irwin and Martin Barr put in some good results in England and they are the best chance we have for a British title.

Martin Barr started off with a bright future, Steve Dixon spotted the talent in him and signed him at a young age. Since then, he has been with plenty of teams such as PAR Honda, LPE Kawasaki, STR KTM, Tyco Suzuki, VMX KTM, BRT KTM(his own team) and he is now with David Thorpe’s Buildbase Honda team along with Greame Irwin! A good team atmosphere I am sure!

It is quite amazing to think back to the end of the 2012 season that Martin Barr didn’t have a ride, crazy to think a top English team didn’t step up to sign him. Thankfully, a team from Ireland, VMX KTM decided to step up and offer him a ride. They give him a 250 KTM which meant he dropped back to the MX2 class for the 2013 and 2014 season. Unfortunately, he got injured during the 2013 season but only missed one round and still ended up eighth in the championship. The 2014 season was a disaster and he missed it all through injury.

The 2015 brought a new challenge for the determined Irish man, he then set up his own racing team so he could get to the races! Martin set up the BRT team, he decided to step up to the MX1 class where he finished seventh in the championship.  Everything looked settled as the plan was to stay with his own team in 2016. However, disaster struck as KTM didn’t have a budget for him and just a few weeks before the start of the season Martin was left without a ride.

However, David Thorpe seen sense and couldn’t let a rider of Martin’s calibre go without a ride. David had actually already tried to sign Barr for the 2016 season – KTM not having a budget, a blessing in disguise! After lots of months preparing on his KTM to compete the MX1 class, he now had to get used to the Honda and the MX2 machine.

However, what a start to the season it has been for the Irish man! We are now three rounds into the season, Martin Barr now has the red plate and championship lead going into his home round at Desertmartin.  Desertmartin couldn’t be coming at a better time, with all his home fans behind him and at a track he loves, a brilliant chance to gain points.

Barr has never found himself in this position before, he’s never had the British championship red plate and the first time he will have it will be at his home round of the championship. Something’s are just meant to be.

Before this year the favourites for the title were between Brylyakov, Sterry and Watson. However, Brylyakov has a visa problem which means he can’t get into the country. Ben Watson and Adam Sterry picked up injuries, the latter is back at the racing now.

This means the title race is wide open and Martin, the underdog, has the championship lead after a brilliant ride at Hawkstone meant he over took Steven Clarke in the championship.

However, it’s not going to be easy to keep this red plate and win the championship. Steven Clarke is no slouch and knows what it takes to win titles having won the EMX85 and EMX250 championships. This championship race is all new for Barr but let’s hope he can come out of it stronger and bring the title back home to Ireland come the end of the season.

Martin will need your support at Desertmartin more than ever, get there on Sunday the 12th June to give our man the best support possible. It’s going to be nerve racking especially because there is a title on the line but get over that fence and cheer on our man and hopefully to victory!

Article: Andy McKinstry

Pic: Honda

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