Belfast Telegraph

Gordon Crockard to thrill Belfast

By Paul Lindsay

Santa and his elves stole the Freestyle show during yesterday's Arenacross launch at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast, but the big event news is that three time British Champion and popular double winner at the Queen's Quay venue, Gordon Crockard – will lead the Irish charge on January 17 & 18 at the seven round British championship curtain raiser.

The former world number three, who is strangely enough still without a main title sponsor for the Belfast event, is delighted to be on home soil to strut his stuff, as he explained: "It's always great to race in front of my home fans, but the Odyssey is special.

"On the build up to the Arenacross races in Belfast I'm very nervous, but once that gate goes down you just go into the zone."

Recounting those special victory nights at the Odyssey, Crockard added, with his trademark smile: "The atmosphere is electric, it really is, although it's a lot more of a pressure situation in the Odyssey, knowing that you're the local man in the spotlight.

"But if you can go on and win like I've experienced in the past then you can really milk it with the fans – it's a great experience."

The 34-year-old Newtownards man has been the pivotal marketing tool at the Odyssey event since Arenacross promoter Matt Bates made his fist tentative steps with high-octane indoor promotion back in 2001.

And even after a six year hiatus from the Odyssey, Bates' e22Sports company are well aware that Crockard – albeit in semi-retirement from the sport – has remained the fans' favourite at the Belfast venue.

Speaking from yesterday's launch, Bates, said: "Belfast was our first major arena event back in 2001, which always makes this place pretty special for me. We came every year until 2007, but then took a break until January of this year."

Complimenting the knowledgeable Irish fans, he added: "The special thing about Northern Ireland over any other venue that we go to, are the bike fans. They are so passionate for motorsport in this country and they come to our Arenacross event charged up and ready for a great night."

What Arenacross actually brings to Belfast is a world-class family event, with an international line up all wrapped up into a three hour concentrated cocktail with top quality 'edge of the seat' entertainment.

Freestyle Motocross will also be integrated into the January action with professional freestyler Dan Whitby and his team demonstrating breathtaking skills that have previously been showcased to Arab sheikhs, Russian oligarchs and gained him employment as a Bollywood stuntman.

Following the sell out at this year's Arenacross in Belfast back in January, a second night was a must for the Odyssey venue. E22Sports will provide back-to-back action on January 17 and 18, 2014.

A hand picked selection of the UK's finest riders will be complimented by the likes of American Tyler Villopoto, Frenchman Greg Aranda, current Pro class champion Adam Chatfield, and the Crockstar from Newtownards.

To book your tickets which start at £11.50 for children, contact the Odyssey Box Office at www.odysseyarena.com or on 028 9073 9074.

Belfast Telegraph

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