With the Belfast Arenacross over for another year, we look at some of the talking points and the best moments from this year’s event.
Joe Clayton: The young Brit made a little bit of Arenacross UK history at the weekend. Clayton became for the first Pro Lites rider to make the main event with the big boys! As the winner of the Pro Lites class, he had a chance to progress to the main event by getting through the LCQ head-to-head.
When he was up against Bobryshev most people thought it was a foregone conclusion. However, Clayton proved he isn’t scared to run with the best in business as he passed the big Russian and then pushed him out to the loose dirt, Bobby crashed putting him out. Clayton then went up against the bad boy of AX, Ashley Greedy and beat him to secure third place in the head-to-head LCQ automatically putting him into the main event.
Clayton ride well in the main event to end up eleventh on his 250cc up against the 450’s. He was only a few seconds off the likes of Nique Thury and Jack Brunell which is impressive. Clayton secured his first pro points picking up eight.
Carl Ostermann: Another rider that was very impressive over the two nights in Belfast was the young German competing in the Supermini class. Osterman dominated Belfast and has won every race he’s competed in so far but is 18 points behind Buster Hart in the championship as he missed the Newcastle round.
Ostermann is working with a former World Champion, Seb Tortelli and you can see by watching him ride they’re working well together. Technically Ostermann is very good as he can put the bike exactly where he wants. This kid could have a bright future in the sport if he continues to work hard.
That moment in the head-to-head: The head-to-head is always one of the best parts of the night as it provides plenty of entertainment. However, one rider you don’t want to be up against is Ashley Greedy as he will simply do anything to make sure he progresses!
Cyrille Coulon was on the wrong end of an aggressive move by Greedy, you can watch it here to form your own opinion on the incident. Coulon got pushed off the track and nearly made it to the top of the freestyle jump before re-joining the track and crashing heavily. Sure, Greedy meant to push him off the track but did he intend for the French rider to go up the freestyle jump? Probably not! But nonetheless the action got the Belfast crowd off their seats!
The locals: The local riders put on a good show in front of their home crowd in Belfast. Glenn McCormick only got the RFX ride sorted a few days before the event and it was the first time he had ever rode a 450cc. It wasn’t exactly ideal and it was also only his second AX event but you can’t turn down a ride like that!
McCormick improved every time he went to the track as he started to gel with the bigger bike and get more comfortable on the AX track. He saved his best performance for his last pro heat of the weekend when he finished tenth and was running the pace of Millward, Kras and Thury which is very impressive! Hopefully this won’t be the last AX event for him!
In the pro lites class, the fans got behind Jason Meara but luck wasn’t with him in Belfast. On the first night he was in second in the first final right on Clayton and it looked like he might have made a move before he lost the front. In the second moto on Friday he got a tough block stuck in his back wheel due to no fault of his but that’s just the way it goes sometimes!
On the second night, Meara’s starts let him down and he had to play catch up. Clayton and Bayliss were both doing a triple-triple which Meara was doubling but he looked quicker on other parts of the track. Coming from behind he had to be content with two third place finishes on Saturday. He sits third in the series eight points behind Bayliss, if he can claw back those points and end up second in the series it would be a very good campaign for the I-Fly JK Yamaha rider.
There was another Meara in action as Jason’s brother, Jack Meara was making his Arenacross debut. You could see he was improving every session and getting more comfortable with the track. His best race was the first race on Saturday when he got a great start in second. He lost third on the last lap but fourth was still an impressive result. In the final on Saturday, he was in the top six after a bad start but unfortunately, he crashed to end up in ninth but the improvement he showed from the first to the second night was impressive as he was battling just to be top ten on Friday!
The level: There’s no doubt that the level in the Arenacross UK series continues to improve every year. In the pro class you just can’t afford to get a bad start anymore because without some sort of drama happening it’s nearly impossible to come from outside the top six to win. The additions of Dan Reardon and Evgeny Bobryshev have improved the level. One thing I’d like to see happen in the future is for the main event to be longer or to have two of them! The racing is great but I don’t feel we get to see enough, if they improved the series in that aspect then it would be perfect!
Article: Andy McKinstry
Pics: Nigel McKinstry