Talking point: 2022 Irish MXoN team selection heading to RedBud

We react to the 2022 Irish MXoN team selection…

Jonathan McCready: It was always going to be a good team this year with a few riders on form, so the difficult thing was leaving a rider who deserved to go out! Unfortunately for Glenn McCormick he was the guy who got the short straw and in my view would have been a very deserving pick, especially after a great performance at Whitby in the British championship that saw him take pole and then almost climb back into the top ten after going down in turn one. It’s been a strong year overall for Glenn on the Chambers KTM in GB and to miss out on going to Red Bud, of all places, will hurt a lot.

That said the team is very strong and any of the three riders going would have had a reason to be very disappointed to be left out as well. Martin Barr is thankfully back on the team and an easy first pick with his performances this season especially towards the end of the season – even if he has been struggling with some health issues. Barr is the fastest rider in the country and has experience and success at Red Bud the last time they raced the MXoN there in 2018 – and even battled US MX2 champ Plessinger on the day! The talisman is back in 2022.

Jason Meara has MXoN experience too with a blistering  performance last year that almost saw him lead Ireland into the A final in a nerve-jangling B final! Unfortunately the team just came up short but it was Meara who set tounges wagging with his performance. If he can get the starts and stay on, Jason, who has had a tough season with injury and not always been able to show his potential on a consistent basis in 2022, will have the chance to once again to show his pace on the international stage and has proven he can deal with the pressure.

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Finally big brother, John Meara, got on the team to make it two brothers representing Ireland in what is a very cool story with Cailum also invovled in what will be a family affair. It’s a tremoundous achievement for the family to have two sons going to represent Ireland and John has had a remarkable last couple of weeks that probably clinched his spot. Battling with Jason at home for the win to the point of an intense collision, collecting the Ulster 450 championship then going to ride a borrowed 250f KTM at Whitby and sticking it in third place in the second moto despite a crash, really was a ride that John will have dreamed about for years. The talent has always been there but injuries meant he didn’t have the opportunities he probably should have, now is is getting his shot at glory and taking full advantage. With a Hitachi KTM at his disposal as well, John Meara is living the dream right now – but he has fought hard over many years to get here.

So, can they qualify into the A final at Red Bud? Of course!

Andy McKinstry: Last year was a bit of a disaster from the get go so it’s nice to see new team manager, Mark Mooney pick a much stronger team. A team that I believe can qualify for the event and it’s fantastic to see Martin Barr back racing for Ireland – he should never have been excluded in the first place! RedBud is a track that suits him well and he’s had a very solid season racing in England so hopefully he can take good speed to RedBud.

Before I touch on the Meara Brothers, one rider who can feel hard done by is Glenn McCormick who has had a strong season sitting eleventh in the MX1 British Championship (only three spots behind Barr). McCormick has never represented Ireland at the MXoN and perhaps that went against him but how can he get experience if he keeps getting over looked? Hopefully he can have another good year in 2023 and be in contention again next year. If he doesn’t get to represent Ireland at least once in his career that would be a real shame.

Jason Meara has represented Ireland twice – at Assen and Mantova. Perhaps his experience racing the event before is what give him the edge and that’s something I can understand – he was brilliant in the B-final at Mantova. He has been dealing with some injury issues this year which hasn’t helped his results but hopefully he’ll head to RedBud 100% and I’m sure he’ll deliver when it matters.

One rider that really does deserve this selection is John Meara who hung up his boots for a couple of years but it’s nice to see him back racing in 2022. Perhaps if the team was picked a few weeks ago he might have actually been left out but after a fantastic display at Whitby (round seven of the British Championship), finishing sixth overall in the MX2 class and an amazing third in the second race on a borrowed KTM. The other bit of good news is that John will get his hands on a Hitachi fuelled by Milwaukee KTM – pretty much riding standard bikes his whole career he’ll be loving the power! Hopefully he can test the bike a few times before RedBud so he can get used to the bike.

Overall, it’s a good team – let’s get behind them all at RedBud and hopefully we can qualify without the dreaded B final!

Pic: Nigel McKinstry