Ulster Championship RD3: Preview
The 2016 MRA Motocross Championships moves to the fast, spectacular track of Tandragee Motocross Park near Laurelvale for Round three of the most exciting series for years, after the success of last weeks British Championship round at Desertmartin, it’s time for the locals to shine once again.
In the Norman Watt Motorcycles Premier MX1 Class, John Meara from Loughbrickland is the surprise leader on his TMC Watt Kawasaki on 122 points, only 2 ahead of multi Irish & Ulster Champion Wayne Garrett on his GMP/CCR/Watt/Spratt Electrics KTM 350, the Comber man on the comeback trail after a serious arm injury forced a short ‘retirement’, but the lure of the dirt proved too much and he is back with a new ‘conservative’ approach, which seems to be paying off.
Only a point behind Garrett is Portavogie Risk Racing/GOMX Yamaha teamster Robert Hamilton, the reigning Ulster Champion suffered a shoulder injury at last months Irish Championship round at Desertmartin, but should be fighting fit for Tandragee, although he has a 29 point lead over reigning Irish Champ Richard Bird on his Five5motorsport Watt KTM 350, the Lisburn man suffering from a dnf at Seaforde which cost him dearly, he will be keen to close the gap to the three leaders, while fifth five points behind Bird, is another Ards Peninsula native in Greyabbeys Craig Browne on the Smoke Vent KTM 450, closely followed by Ards man Jordan Scott on his HTM Husqvarna 350, with his machine problems behind him, he will love the fast jumps at Tandragee and could be a dark horse for his first big bike win.
The nuttravel.com Premier MX2 Class is currently led by Jason Meara on the Motul/Watt KTM is second, the Loughbrickland teenager full of confidence this year after an injury plagued 2015, second is Richard Bird doing double duty this year only 4 points adrift of Meara, while in a Meara sandwich as big brother John is third on his TMC Watt Kawasaki 250 11 points behind Bird, with young Belfast lad James Mackrel fourth on the Risk Racing Yamaha, 13 points behind John Meara after some machinery problems at the last two rounds.
In the Precise Protect Insurance Semi Expert MX1 Class, Ballyclare man Ulster Shredders Husqvarna mounted Paul Atkinson is now 18 points ahead of Ryan Esler on his 350 KTM, with reigning Clubmans Champ David Martin an impressive third six points behind on his JSW Electrics KTM, fourth is Josh McCorkell on his KTM 450, and Downpatricks Chris Orr is fifth with Stephen Poots sixth.
The Matheson Contracts/Laverty MX Semi Expert MX2 Class Carrickfergus man Karl Thompson on his Risk Racing/GOMX Yamaha has what looks like a comfortable lead over, Loughbrickland teenager Cailum Meara of 27 points, however, the Kawasaki mounted teenager has had numerous bike problems this year as he learns his four stroke after a career on two strokes, and he will go well round Tandragee, third is Ballyclare man Kris Rea on his Yamaha only five points behind Meara, with another teenager fourth in Larne’s Cameron Turley 11 points behind Rea on his little Husqvarna 125, with Donegal man Aaron Gardiner only 5 behind him in fifth, and young Belfast teen David Robson sixth on his Honda only 2 behind Gardiner, shaping up to be a close battle here.
The Russells Motorcycles Clubman MX1 Class is led by English based Greysteel man Jordan Allingham on his EHA Honda, 20 points clear of Ciaran Boyle on his two stroke Yamaha, third is ex road racer Denver Robb on his 350 KTM 7 points behind Boyle, while fourth is Ian Dunlop on his Kawasaki, with two stroke Honda mounted John Martin fifth and Comber veteran Stephen Gabbey sixth on his KTM 350.
The Spence Racing Clubmans MX2 Class was led by Newtownabbey’s Alan Saunders on his Pallet Centre KTM, but he is now a point behind Nathan Hamilton on his Yamaha, while Johnny Presho is 16 points behind these two in third on his Honda, Tony Conlon is fourth, coincidentally 16 points behind, while fifth & sixth are Stephen Gill and John Morrow only a point apart.
Coupled with the charity Tayto Soap Box Derby in Tandragee town centre on Saturday night, what better way to spend a day in the heart of the Orchard County.
Racing starts at 11.00 on 18th June and the track will be signposted off the Mahon Rd between Portadown and Tandragee, postcode is BT62 2LS.
Words: Malcolm Beattie