Interview: Martin Barr on Desertmartin and season to date!

After winning at Desertmartin last year, Martin Barr would have been coming into the 2018 event looking to do the same but unfortunately this year it just wasn’t meant to be.

The day started off well for Barr as he finished a strong second in the first moto but it all went wrong at the start of the second moto. On the first lap, Barr was battling his way through the pack and he went for an inside line behind Lewis Tombs. Unfortunately, Tombs didn’t see the move coming and both riders went down. If that wasn’t bad enough, the bikes got tangled up and it took an age to get them untangled.

A frustrated Barr came back from so far behind to end up seventeenth, a very disappointing moto but every championship point counts.

We caught up with Barr after his home race to discuss his season to date.

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Gatedrop: After the victory here last year today didn’t go the same way, you must be very frustrated with what happened you there in the second moto? Speed isn’t exactly the issue!

Martin Barr: This is the third weekend in a row that just something silly happening out of my control. The day started off good with second in qualifying. In the first race I had an okay start but Conrad (Mewse) was on a different level today. He was riding very well and gone by the time I passed Mel (Pocock). After passing him I kind of just brought it home for second.

I was looking forward to race two, the first start I got blocked in and then the restart was a bit better but going into the mechanics corner both myself and Lewis Tombs were going in for the inside and he came across me. I hit his back wheel and we both went down. My bars were then stuck in his back wheel and it just took forever to get out. By that stage I was basically last away, I came back to seventeenth but I needed to have a good weekend to get back into the championship hunt and that just kind of destroyed everything. It’s just motocross, it’s very frustrating and especially at my home race. You want to do well in front of everybody and stuff – it’s hard to swallow being it three weeks on the bounce.  They say things happen in three’s so hopefully that’s it all done and dusted and I knuckle down and look forward to the next EMX250 and the next British Championship. We need to try and get back at the sharp end.

Gatedrop:  I feel like at the start of the season your starts were actually pretty good but maybe the last month, bad qualifying has led to a bad gate pick which means you’re not getting the best of starts. Would you say that’s hindering you?

Martin Barr: A bit, yes and no. Some of my qualifying has been good but I’ve still been getting bad starts.  There’s no doubt about it that, we have been struggling with the starts and you need to get away to get a clear race. When you’re battling with people you’re not used to battling with and they’re all over the place, it’s hard to come through. It is what it is and we’ve just had to get on with it. We’ve been trying lots of different stuff and hopefully we’re heading the right direction now.

As I said, I’m looking forward to the next round of the British Championship at Duns and then onto Lommel for the next EMX250 race. I’m still in with a shot of the European championship so that’ll be my main focus now as well as the British Championship of course, yeah I’ll probably not win it now but I still want to get on the top step of the podium and get race wins and stuff.

We’ll just keep working, a big thanks to my Revo Husqvarna team, they’ve been absolutely fantastic. The bike is working a dream and also a big thanks to my personal sponsors for making it all possible.

Pic: Nigel McKinstry

Gatedrop:  This is your first year racing the EMX250 Championship and you’re one of the oldest riders in the class. How have you been enjoying that series and how would you say the level compares to the British Championship?

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Martin Barr:  It’s my first time ever doing it and I’m the oldest rider in there but I’ve really enjoyed it. I’ve been doing the British Championship for so long now and you know who’s fast and at what track and what way it’ll cut up before you get there. The EMX, it’s new, it’s fresh and it’s keeping me my on my toes.

As you say there’s a lot of young guys in there but they’re not very calculated with their passes and stuff, it’s mayhem. That’s where I’ve been struggling with getting bad starts and then getting caught up in carnage. It’s been difficult but I’m enjoying it, it is stiff competition. A lot of people that do the British do the European as well. Hopefully the last four rounds we can make it count and get that red plate back.

Gatedrop:  It must be good for the motivation too because you’re riding different tracks and some tracks you’ve never even rode before. It must be better than just racing the British tracks that you know like the back of your hand by now!

Martin Barr: Yeah that’s it. I’ve been doing the British stuff for so long, same tracks, same riders and you know who’s fast at what track before you get there. It’s all fresh tracks, fresh riders, it’s give me that buzz to keep going. I’ve been really enjoying it, the last couple of rounds have been disappointing, disastrous. You know, to go from leading the championship to being thirty-two points behind. It’s not been very good at all but I’m confident, there’s still 200 points up for grabs so we’ll knuckle down and get back at it.

Gatedrop: The first five minutes or so of an EMX250 race seems like mayhem with riders crashing everywhere! Just how important is it to get a good start in that class to stay out of trouble?

Martin Barr: Yeah, that’s what I’ve been saying. With not getting the starts and getting caught up and that, it has been hard. The young riders as I say aren’t calculated so when you don’t get a start you’re getting caught up in all that stuff and you can do without. It’s making life difficult but the teams been working hard and we’ve a couple of new things to try out. We’re going forward with the bike, I’m looking forward to the last four rounds.

Gatedrop: Just on next year, Irish fans have had to wait a long time for a GP rider after Crockard but we have one again now in Irwin. Could we see two in MXGP next year with yourself contesting?

Martin Barr: Hopefully. You know, nothing is set in stone yet, that’s the way I’d like to go but it just depends on the team and everything else falling into place. We’ll just have to wait and see but hopefully in the next few weeks we’ll know what the score is.

Interview: Andy McKinstry

Pics: Nigel McKinstry