Interview: Martin Barr
After a successful 2015 running his own team and getting on the podium at British Championship level in MX1, Martin Barr looked set to continue in the same vain in 2016.
But suddenly at the last minute, the deal fell through and Barr was again looking for a ride.
However Barr has ultimately landed on one of the best teams in the British paddock, Buildbase Honda, and will spearhead their assault on the the MX2 category in 2016.
We caught up with Barr at the Belfast arenacross and the Ballyclare man was in good form after enjoying two weeks’ testing in Spain and is genuinely excited to get his season started with such a professional team behind him.
Gatedrop: You’re back on red and you’ve just had two weeks in Spain, how are you finding the bike?
Barr: Yeah really good, Buildbase Honda have been really good to me. With it being last minute with my last deal falling through, I was lucky enough to get back on board with Dave and Honda. To be fair they offered me a deal in August time but I thought I was all sorted then, and their deal was really good, so it shows the faith they have in me. But yeah, back on the 250, back on the Honda and I’m really excited.
As you said I’m just back from two weeks in Spain and it was to get plenty of laps in, in decent weather. To be honest, compared to the last time I rode Honda it has come on leaps and bounds and once my dad gets his hands on it (MB performance racing) I have no doubt in the world it’s going to be a competitive bike for running up front, winning races and battling for podium positions.
Things have been going really good, my training at Bodylab NI and Lyndsey Haggan have been really, really good. Obviously I was training for the 450 and I’ve had to adjust slightly, trim a bit of weight and stuff to ride the 250.
Now we are back home, we will do a couple of weeks testing before we head off to Italy to do the Italian champion so that is going to be really nice to get a few races under my belt before the British kicks off. We will go out there and concentrate on racing but I don’t want to get carried away and pick up an silly little injuries and make sure I am 100% when I come back to England for the first round of the MX Nationals at Preston Docks.
Gatedrop: Was there much of an adjustment back to the MX2 bike?
Barr: It hasn’t been too bad. Last year I was riding the 350 so I kind had to ride it like a 250. I’m lucky enough I can jump between the two classes, I don’t really struggle with my weight or whatever. I’m excited, it’s like a new challenge, new class, new bike – bring it on, I can’t wait!
Gatedrop: Getting to ride for ride for Dave Thorpe, a three-time world champion, must be a pretty cool experience!
Barr: Definitely! Buildbase Honda is one of the most professional teams in the paddock and to have Dave as a boss is fantastic, all his experience over the years is going to play a part and also Neil Tuxworth, I have had a really good relationship with him as well. It has worked out really good and hopefully we can go out and get the results we are after.
Gatedrop: I was speaking to Dave and when asked if you could win the MX2 championship, he said:”why not?” So is that the goal?
Barr: I want to win it. That’s what we all train and practice and put all the hard work into it for. There is no reason why i can’t, I have won races in MX2 before and I won the MX2 Red Bull Pro nationals with Honda before. It’s not going to be easy, there are a lot of fast guys out there and a lot of fast young kids coming through but with the team behind me, my dad still on-board and Planet suspension still there, it means I am very comfortable. So we are aiming for race wins and podiums every weekend.
Gatedrop: You’re getting to ride your home round again at Desertmarin this season!
Barr: Yeah the last time there was a round there I won the last race. I am really looking forward to riding there, my home track and I can sleep in my own bed for a change – so that will be nice! It’s also less travelling for me too. But it’s brilliant to have it back, especially for the fans and local teams, I’m really looking forward to it.
Interview: Jonathan McCready
Pics: Buildbase Honda