Belfast Arenacross review – perfect winter entertainment!
The Belfast Arenacross was once again a roaring success and kicked off the 2020 UK AX tour in style with some great racing and local favourites in the spotlight.
Here are our top five moments of the weekend.
Local star power – Graeme Irwin made his return to the dirt and was very popular with the home fans alongside Martin Barr and Stuart Edmonds and the rest of the local riders. But as an added bonus Gordon Crockard, who probably got the biggest cheer of the night, he roared into the arena on his 2001 CR250 clad in his 2001 UFO kit bringing back memories of the glory days of Ireland’s best ever motocross rider! Then, as an added bonus, five time WSB champ, Jonathan Rea, fired his factory Kawasaki superbike up and rode down the start straight to the joyous approval of the home crowd!
A shout out also to Jordan Keogh who was flying on Friday on his AX debut only to get hurt on Saturday morning. James Mackrel also impressed with his raw speed when he stepped up to the pro lite class on Saturday. Youngster Charlie Irwin was very impressive in the super mini winning 3 of the 4 races and bringing his home crowd to their feet with his performance on Saturday night.
Brian Hsu – This kid is a big talent on a dirt bike and, if it hadn’t been for injuries and team issues, Hsu would be a leading contender in the MX2 world motocross championship. However things haven’t went to plan outdoors and Hsu is now concentrating on indoor racing with a big desire to go the States. In his first appearance in Belfast and his first attempt at UK AX, he went 2-1 in the superfinals despite riding a 250 against some very tough competition! With incredibly good technique, the smooth German was doing different rhythms and cutting out of choppy corners early, his precision matched with GP level corner speed meant Hsu was the man to beat in Belfast. And that’s despite being knocked out the week before in the Dortmund supercross and riding in pain!
Head-to-head entertainment – it was one of the most exciting parts of the event and something that really captured the crowd’s attention especially with Martin Barr and Graeme Irwin went head-to-head on Saturday night! With fans seemingly cheering for both riders at the same time, Barr would get the edge in the battle of the two best dirt bike riders over the last 10 years from Northern Ireland.
Deceiving dirt – it initially looked grippy but ended up very slippery, with riders finding it hard to trust their tyres on hard braking and hard acceleration, making passing difficult at times. Indeed, the corners linking the start straight developed more like an outdoor track forcing riders to have very precise throttle control and line choice. It made things interesting to watch as the riders searched for traction and the best way to defend and attack their rivals.
Article: Jonathan McCready
Images: AX UK