Belfast Telegraph

Gary Gibson is in control despite fortunate escape

By Roy Harris

Reigning Irish and Ulster MX Champion Gary Gibson retained the prestigious Brian Bell Memorial Trophy at the Temple Club’s Laurelbank Circuit on Saturday.

The feature race, a 20-minute plus two lap handicap event, saw the Clubman riders get a full lap advantage over the Expert competitors and a 40-second start on the Semi-Expert riders.

Initial leader was Clubman MX1 rider Andrew McKibben, but Gibson soon took control of the race. He was chased by Richard Bird, Wayne Garrett and Graeme Irwin, only metres apart for the final third of the race.

In the closing stages, Gibson (Bannside Palletts & Haulage/Russells 450cc Suzuki), Bird (Five Motorsport Watt 450cc KTM) and Irwin (250cc Heads and All Threads Suzuki) fought out a thrilling finish with Gibson taking the chequered flag less than a second ahead of Bird with Irwin backing off on the last lap, three seconds off in third.

Garrett was a further five seconds behind on his Mullan Moto/ Spratt Electrical Watt 350cc KTM with first Semi-Expert riders Darren Grills and James Mackle fifth and sixth.

After the race, it was discov

ered that Gibson’s back wheel was loose, his team having changed the rear tyre and only finger-tightened the rear axle nut in the rush between the qualifying and feature race — a lucky escape for the Ballygowan rider, who rode the entire race with that loose wheel.

When it came to the Expert races, Garrett took the overall win of the three races — Gibson having won the first two, but hitting a fence post in race three, relegating him to fourth position with Garrett winning after third and second places in races one and two.

Both finished level on points, Garrett taking the win with the best last race performance.

Bird, with a second and two thirds, was third overall with Irwin fourth while James Mackle was first Semi–Expert home in each race to take the overall win in the category.

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