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Barr, Irwin and Whatley talk Leuchars

Barr, Irwin and Whatley talk Leuchars
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Buildbase Honda Racing’s Martin Barr gritted his teeth and dragged himself back into MX2 title contention with a typically gutsy performance at round five of the Maxxis British Motocross Championship supported by Pro Clean at Leuchars on Sunday.

The teak-tough Irishman, who injured his shoulder at his home round of the series at Desertmartin last month, came out swinging in Scotland. With a great start in the opening moto, he followed Bryan MacKenzie until just before half-distance when he hit the front and motored clear to win by over 11-and-a-half seconds.

Race two was tougher and after rounding the first lap in seventh he was forced to make a succession of passes before reaching second on lap 10. With the race leader clear he brought it home in second to close the gap to the championship lead to just seven points.

“I’m happy enough but I had to dig deep,” said Martin. “In the opening race I got a good start and followed Bryan MacKenzie for the first lap or two, saw where he was weak and got the pass done and dropped the hammer to bring it home for the win and was really happy with that.

“Race two I didn’t make such a good start and it took me a few laps to get into the swing of things. I clawed my way through but by then Adam [Sterry] was gone. All things considered I’m really happy. I’m second in the championship and have closed right up again so I’m happy enough. I’m back in the hunt.”

Lewis Trickett, riding the team’s second CRF250R, looked strong on his comeback from a concussion that had put him out of action for four weeks. After a month on the sidelines he ran 14-10 for 10th overall.

“I feel great – I feel 100 per cent – because being out with a concussion has meant I’ve been able to keep up the training,” he said. “It was very close in qualifying but in both races I had terrible starts and gave myself so much work to do.

“In the first race I hit a post a couple of laps in and bent my gear shaft so I had a really hard job to shift and ended up 14th which I wasn’t very happy with. In the second I had to go out on my spare bike which wasn’t the end of the world but I had another bad start and spent the whole moto coming through which was frustrating because my lap times were good enough for a top-six finish.

“I’ve had a month off so I guess to come back and be 10th overall is not the end of the world but my speed was a lot better than my results have shown so it’s frustrating.”

In MX1 Graeme Irwin put in consistent 4-4 motos that helped him consolidate fourth in the championship.

“It’s been a steady day,” he said. “In the first race I didn’t have a great start and I just rode steady for fourth. In the second I started second and dropped back to fourth again after I made quite a few mistakes but at the end of the race I was really, really strong and got back onto Jake [Nicholls] but just ran out of time.

“We’re going to continue working hard, try and keep the ball rolling and catch up the three in front. It’s been a solid day but I want more – I want to be on the podium.”

It was a tougher day at the office for Kristian Whatley on the team’s second CRF450R who never got to grips with the sandy circuit and was disappointed with 10th overall with a 9-10 scorecard.

“I didn’t feel good in qualifying and ended up ninth in race one,” said the former champion. “I wasn’t feeling comfortable so we changed a few things before the opening race which worked but I feel the first few laps I’m riding well and then I can’t keep pushing.

“I don’t know why but it’s frustrating. I was fifth around the second turn in race two and felt much better but about halfway through I started to get arm-pump and couldn’t breathe.”

For team owner Dave Thorpe it was a day of highs and lows.

“Martin has been amazing today,” he said. “He’s a very, very tough man. In the second race he got pushed around a bit in the first corner and if he’d got a better start he would have won it. It’s been a fantastic result for him – he was very, very good – and it’s great that he’s only seven points behind now.

“Graeme rode really well. He didn’t quite have the pace of the top three but he gave it everything and you can’t ask any more of him than that. Kristian’s performance was disappointing and the only person who can put it right is Kristian.

“Lewis has had a long time off and he was desperately unlucky in the first race when he hit a post but in the second race he rode his heart out – it’s not an easy venue to walk back in to and he did well.”

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