MXDN: Team Ireland battle to twentieth!
The 2016 Motocross Des Nations couldn’t really have started any worse for the Irish team. Getting the last gate pick was bad enough but then it got even worse when Graeme Irwin picked up a dislocated shoulder. The last thing you want is an injury before the event even starts.
Credit to GI as he put in a few laps during warm up on race day but he was just in too much pain and discomfort. This left Ireland with just two riders for the B final in the form of Stuart Edmonds and Martin Barr.
Barr was the leading MX2 machine throughout the B final and couldn’t have done much more, a great performance. Barr always has a lot of pressure to deal with in the B final but he always excels, he crossed the line in fourth place.
Bad luck struck for Edmonds around the first corner as he was brought down and had it all to do. An unlucky weekend just got even worse and it looked like we had no chance to qualify. However, Edmonds rode the race of his life and got back up to eighth in what was a brilliant ride.
Portugal were sitting well placed in second and third but Goncalves had a mechanical problem which left Germany in pole position to make it to the main. Disaster then struck as Jacobi crashed on the last lap for the Germans. This then meant Ireland made it again, we really are kings of the B final! Just getting through to the main event in itself is a huge achievement especially after the team’s star man was ruled out.
With the drama of the B final over, Barr then had to get going as his first moto was just around the corner in with the MXGP riders. Barr didn’t let us down and rode a strong race, not to mention everyone else would have been fresher. He crossed the line in twenty-seventh position, the twelfth MX2 rider across the line beating top guys in the form of Filip Neugebauer, Jorge Prado and Josiah Natzke.
The next moto Edmonds and Barr lined up together as it was time for the MX2 and the open moto. A tired Barr actually bettered his result in his last moto of the day with a twenty-sixth and the eleventh MX2 rider across the line. This meant Barr ended up eleventh overall in the MX2 class, a result he can be proud of racing with some of the best in the world.
Edmonds crossed the line just three seconds behind Barr in twenty-seventh which is a brilliant result for Stuey on his TM. He was the fifteenth open rider across the line beating MXGP regular, Kei Yamamoto and the talented Petr Smitka.
The last moto of the day Edmonds had it all to do in with the MXGP riders, a really deep field to say the least. A tired Edmonds ended up thirty-fourth and the sixteenth open rider across the line. He ended up sixteenth overall, Edmonds just like he always does, raised his level racing for his country.
Ireland ended up twentieth overall in the countries classification out of thirty-eight teams. The guys did us proud and no doubting we would have done better if GI didn’t pick up his injury but that’s part of the sport and these things unfortunately happen. Hopefully all three riders stay fit throughout the 2017 season and they can have another go at a top fifteen result at Glen Helen.
Philip McCullough (Team Manager Ireland): After just arriving back home late last night to Ireland, I personally would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in making the MXON 2016 in Maggiora Italy, the highlight of my motocross career. From the riders, the mechanics, the team sponsors, the helpers, and the supporters who made the trip across to cheer us on, along with the messages of encourage and support we all got from friends back home in Ireland. It was overwhelming. I am very proud of my team, and it was truly an honour to lead not just my riders out at such a high profile event but also to lead our country out at what is the pinnacle of the motocross calendar. Thank you to everyone again and roll on 2017 in the USA!
Article: Andy McKinstry
Pics: Adriano Dondi