Interview: Martin Barr on Lommel, MXGP levelling tracks and E-Trax NI!

Martin Barr had a tough weekend in the deep sand at Lommel with bad starts affecting his results, but the Revo Husqvarna rider still managed to limit the damage with sixth overall in two come-from-behind rides and remains third in the championship and still within shot of the title.

And, the Monday after the race, Barr was down at the opening of E-Trax NI, a unique indoor electric bike facility in Northern Ireland that allows the public to hire out the bikes to get a feel of what motocross is all about, similar to various karting experiences offered around the country.

Despite his exhausting efforts at Lommel Barr was back home supporting the new E-Trax venture and we caught up with him to get his take on the facility and his weekend at Lommel.

You are here at E-Trax NI and have done a few laps on the bikes, what do you think of the whole set-up?

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Its unbelievable, what the guys have done here is absolutely fantastic. I was down about five weeks ago testing the track for them and from then until now what they have done is unbelievable. They have done so much work and they have it looking fantastic. I just hope it takes off for them, the track, the bikes, everything about it is brilliant. It’s just motocross indoors.

The electric bikes are really good, I can’t believe how torquey they are, and they handle really good. They have taken on a big project and came out swinging with it. Now it’s just up to everyone to support it.

Barr on the KTM freeride machine.

I think once people get a taste of it they will definitely be coming back, it’s fantastic. It’s just like going for a day to the go karts but a motocross version, and there is nowhere else you can do, so fair play to the guys and they have my support and I will do all I can to help them. Hopefully everybody gets behind them and supports this project.

The track looks good, you were searching to get some grip out there, so it seems pretty realistic?

Definitely, it is technical, there are jumps, whoops, the corners are hard in places and you are trying to find grip, so it does give you that feeling of motocross racing for people that haven’t done it before. You have a bit of everything there and I’m sure over a period of time they will change the track and add different sections to keep it fun for people.

Just on Lommel, again it was your starts, you were riding good but coming from outside the top 20 in both motos…

It’s kind of been like that all year, my starts have been very, very poor. I have been practicing, I don’t know what it is, it is just giving me so much work to do. I know if I get a good start I can win races no problem, at Lommel I came from outside the top 25 in both races, it’s very hard to come through. Yeah it’s Lommel, there are loads of different lines but like any track there are only one or two fast lines and the amount extra  miles you cover going outside, inside trying to get round them, it’s unbelievable.

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But it’s nobody’s fault but my own, I’m still third in the championship but I lost a few points at the weekend, I think I am 36 down now behind Boisrame and 34 behind Mel. But there are three rounds left and 150 points up for grabs so it’s not over yet, so I will be trying everything I can to try and get those starts sorted and get back at it and win a few races then see what way the championship pans out towards the end.

When you realise you have got the bad start, is it hard to keep calm in the next few laps, I’m sure the frustration builds up!

Yeah although I knew Lommel with how hard and tough it is, not to panic. But on the Saturday I couldn’t get a flow going, I rode terrible, I was making things hard work for myself because I wasn’t hitting the lines I was wanting but no Sunday it was a lot better, I came back to sixth in moto two, it was a good ride but it’s not where I want to be. I want to be up at the front chasing podiums and race wins.

Hats off to my teammate Mel he rode awesome, got the overall win and closed the championship lead down so that is great for the team but there are still 150 points up for grabs and I will be doing everything as can to get as many of them as I can to close down in the championship before the final round at Assen.

Barr Pic: Revo Husqvarna

A lot of riders were saying at the weekend the track and sand feels very different to how they find it during the week when they are practicing, is that something you noticed?

Yeah it is a bit, obviously they get a lot more water through it and it is a bit heavier and that but as we were talking about, I can’t believe how much they level the tracks these days. When I was doing GPs eight or nine years ago, from Saturday started the track never got touched until Sunday night when the racing was over. Now for the MX2 and MXGP guys the faces of the jumps are levelled and some of the straights, I don’t really see the point in it, it’s suppose to be the best in the world out there but it is what it is.

As Lommel goes it was tough, rough and very, very warm, but I’ve come away quite disappointed with my performance. I had quite high expectations going there and it’s my mind of conditions and I didn’t perform the way I wanted it too.

Is it positive or negative that your speed is still good, but with the starts the results aren’t reflecting the speed you have?

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My speed is there, I know when you look at laptimes my speed is down a bit to the first couple but that is just down to not having a clear track, I am always coming through and trying different lines to work out and you lose time.

It’s frustrating because I know I should be up at the front and when you are finishing down in sixth position, 12th position with all the work you put in and the team as well, it is very frustrating. That’s the downside of motocross you can’t have it all your own way it’s how you bounce back and we will get stuck back in at the next round in Switzerland.

On the British championship. The last round at Duns, it was a bit of a washout in the end but you had two good, top five starts and almost won the overall but just lost out to Mel. Is it more awkward battling your teammate for wins?

Not really, we all want to win and in Duns for qualifying the track was perfect it couldn’t have been any better. Just before the first trace it started raining but as you said I got good starts and everything was going to plan.

Barr Pic: Nuno

On the last lap I had the overall in the bag and I lost 15 seconds in the last lap when a couple of back markers came off in the deep ruts and I got stuck in the deep ruts, that allowed Josh Spinks on me, and he could have won the overall, so he dived the down the inside of me but clipped a back marker and he fell off in front of me so I was stuck in ruts again.

So, by the time I got round them Mel was on me and nipped past me in the last corner, so it was very frustrating coming so close but a 1-2 for the team was a brilliant day although obviously I would have preferred the overall but in those conditions anything can happen, but I showed good pace and good determination and hung in there to the end and it was good to be on the podium again.