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All-Ireland crown is up for grabs at SSE Arena

 

On your bike: Arenacross riders (from left) Drew McCreanor, Glenn McCormick, Robbie McCullough, Martin Barr, Cole McCullough and James Makrel
On your bike: Arenacross riders (from left) Drew McCreanor, Glenn McCormick, Robbie McCullough, Martin Barr, Cole McCullough and James Makrel

By Roy Harris

The SSE Arena in Belfast will play host to a unique All-Ireland Cup - exclusive to the Irish motocross scene - when Arenacross visits on January 18 and 19 next year.

Promoter Matt Bates said: "We realised there were a number of riders who race on the national scene who maybe don't race in England like Graeme (Irwin) and Martin (Barr), so we are getting the 450cc and 250cc riders from here and qualifying them in their own race series.

"During the Friday afternoon there will be up to 48 riders qualifying down to a final 12 with the top six 450 and top six 250 competitors competing in a main event on Friday and Saturday night in what is anticipated to be a no holds barred fight to the chequered flag in wheel-to-wheel action with the overall winner crowned All-Ireland Cup champion."

Entries are still coming in for this rare opportunity for national riders to show their skills in what is essentially action-packed indoor motocross and to put on a show in front of a whole new audience.

To date, Irish and Ulster Championship competitors entered include fourth-place finisher in the Ulster MX1 series Lindsay Newell, Sean Devlin (fifth in the Irish MX1 series), Craig Browne, Cailum Meara, David Galvin and Dylan Stynes, who were fifth and seventh respectively in the Irish MX2 Championship.

An interesting entry is 15-year-old Nathan Green from Seaforde, runner-up in the Ulster 250cc four-stroke Youth Championship and fourth in the Irish equivalent. He finished first and third in two adult semi-expert MX2 races on his home track during the penultimate round of the Irish Championship at Seaforde.

During three hours of adrenaline-fuelled action each evening, not only can the spectators at the SSE Arena witness Irish riders in every class, from the insanely fast professional riders battling for points in the first and second rounds of six-round Championship, but also the Team Green Supermini Cup, the Rookie Cup and 65cc Championship.

Riders like the experienced Graeme Irwin, Martin Barr, Glenn McCormick and James Mackrel in the Pro Classes to 14-year-old Lurgan schoolboy Drew McCreanor, 10-year-old twins Cole and Robbie McCullough from Castlederg - the sons of multi-Irish MX champion Philip and nephews of another former multi-champion Adam Lyons - and 16-year old Ben Hall from Cookstown will aim to get the local crowd on their feet in what will be entertaining, action-packed family shows.

Tickets from the usual Ticketmaster outlets or www.arenacrossuk.com

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