Coupe de l’Avenir – Team Ireland
Ireland have announced their teams to represent the Coupe de l’Avenir also known as the U21 Des Nations event. The Coupe de l’Avenir will take place during the 1st and 2nd of October in Belgium.
The team Ireland have selected is:
OPEN – James Mackrel
MX2 – Jason Meara
125cc – Stuat Fee
James Mackrel will take part in his first ever Coupe de l’Avenir event on a 450. He was selected to take part in 2016 but an injury meant that he couldn’t compete so he will finally be able to take part in 2017. James has mostly rode a 250 machine this year and has won some races, he continues to impress. However, at the last two rounds of the Ulster Championship he ended up riding in the MX1 class. He showed some good speed despite not being used to the bigger bike, at the last he rode Graeme Irwin’s Heads N Threads Suzuki and didn’t look out of place. James will race a Yamaha 450 at the Coupe de l’Avenir.
Jason Meara has had a good year on his Motul/Watt KTM. He has won the Irish MX2 Championship but just missed out on the Ulster title to Richard Bird, a DNF proved costly for Meara in his hopes for the Ulster championship. Jason has also been taking part in the Spanish Championship, he currently sits sixth in the MX2 Spanish championship. He even beat Jorge Prado at the start of the year! However, Jason will miss the last round of the Spanish championship as it clashes with the Coupe de l’Avenir so he will do well to stay sixth in the championship.
Stuart Fee has been out of action most of the 2016 season. He was set to compete in the Spanish Championship along with Meara. However, an early season injury ruined that and he has missed most this season. Fee is a strong 125cc rider and so far in his career he has had his best days on the 125cc so hopefully he can show that in Belgium.
There’s a lot of top talent racing the Coupe de l’Avenir, in my opinion it is stronger than the last few years but it will be good for the Irish riders to ride and improve against stiff opposition. To give you an idea of the riders that they will be up against, these include Thomas Sileika, Alvin Ostlund, Anton Gole, Maxime Renaux, Mathys Boisrame, Jago Geerts, Glen Meier, Davy Pootjes, Freek van der Vlist, Roan Van De Moosdijk and Mikkel Harrup plus many more. As you can see there are plenty of European and GP stars on show, it will be great for the Irish riders to learn from top top talents from all around the world.
Ireland will also send a 65cc and an 85cc team, it’s great to see the kids get a chance to compete at such a good event.
The 65cc team is:
The 85cc team is:
We would like to wish team Ireland all the best, hopefully they can learn lots from the event and do our country proud.
James Mackrel: “I am glad that I have been asked to represent Ireland at the Coupe de l’Avenir again this year as I had to miss it last year due to injury but I am happy to get another shot. It will be different riding the 450 but I will give it my best shot and I hope for good results!”
Jason Meara: “I’m excited to be picked to represent my country for the second time. I competed at this event back in 2011 on the 85cc where our team ended up fourth. These are the riders for the future, I really can’t wait to go up against them and hopefully do our country proud!”
Stuart Fee: “I am very glad to be picked for the team! After having a bad year with an injury it will be good to get back racing. The 125 is my favourite bike to ride and I will give it my all. I hope to do well and I’m very grateful to have this opportunity to represent my country”.
Article: Andy McKinstry
Pic: Nigel McKinstry