Angelo Pellegrini takes Belfast plaudits
The Arenacross UK spectacular rocked the Odyssey Arena in Belfast over the weekend with two fantastic nights of action on Friday and Saturday. Even for the non-motorcycling purist, this high-octane event is well worth ticking off on the calendar when it returns in 2016.
Series leader Thomas Ramette had to settle for second and third-placed finishes over the two nights with Englishman Adam Chatfield and Italian Angelo Pellegrini the victors in the Pro Class finals.
On Saturday night, Italian motocross star Pellegrini took full advantage of a mistake from Ramette to win in front of a sell-out Odyssey Arena.
Conspicuous by his absence on Saturday evening was the opening night's overall Pro Class and Head to Head winner Chatfield. The Englishman came to grief during a practice session on Saturday afternoon after losing control of his 450cc Honda.
The resulting injury - a broken rib and a partially punctured lung - sadly kept the Brazilian-based English rider out of action on the second night in Belfast, and he's certain to miss the remaining five rounds of this year's Arenacross UK series.
Worth a mention was late entrant and local Ballygowan racer Gary Gibson. The Heads & All Threads Suzuki rider took a convincing win in the last change qualifier heat on Friday night.
Freestyle Motocross has become a firm fans' favourite on the Arenacross Tour and Spanish legend Edgar Torronteras, Jamie Squibb and the rest of the crazy crew performed back-flips and a whole host of gravity-defying tricks well worth the ticket price alone.
Newtownards' former world motocross number three Gordon Crockard excelled in his new-found role as back-stage presenter. But the lion's share of credit must go to event promoter Matt Bates and his dedicated e22sports team for another superb weekend of action in Belfast.
The series now moves on to Birmingham (Jan 24), Newcastle (Feb 1), Glasgow (Feb 7) and Sheffield (Feb 14) before culminating in London on February 28.