Belfast Telegraph

Barr and Irwin set sights on more glory in Desertmartin


By Roy Harris

The Maxxis British Motocross Championship bursts back into life in Desertmartin tomorrow following a seven-week break for the biggest event on the local motocross calendar.

Last year, Graeme Irwin and Martin Barr scored an MX1-MX2 double at their home track, and we may be in for more of the same tomorrow.

Irwin — who went on to claim the MX1 title last year — will ride the Hitachi ASA 450cc KTM UK run by Crossgar businessman Roger Magee and despite a difficult first half to his season in the Grand Prix, local support is sure to lift the Carrickfergus man’s spirits.

Despite suffering horrific burns to his back and shoulder during the last British round at Blaxhall after being trapped underneath his machine, Irwin will certainly be one of the favourites in the MX1 races tomorrow.

His main opposition is likely to come from Jake Nicholls, Russian Evgeny Bobryshev, Brad Anderson, Latvian Gert Krestinov, Dubliner Stuart Edmonds and Tommy Searle, while the current Ulster Motocross Championship leader Richard Bird — who last month scored maximum points in the Experts MX1 Nationals at Preston Docks — will be looking for a top-10 result.

In MX2, Barr — on the Revo Husqvarna — has been having a great season, currently lying third in the European 250cc MX Championship after some terrific performances.

In the British series he was the overall winner of the last round at Blaxhall, beating Championship leader Conrad Mewse, so the Ballyclare runner is carrying winning momentum into his home round.

His chief opposition will come from team-mate Mel Pocock, Mewse, Josh Gilbert and Josh Spinks, while Jason Meara, Glenn McCormick and James Mackrel head the local talent.

A round of the Two-stroke Championship is also on the programme tomorrow, with action around the highly-acclaimed former Grand Prix track scheduled to commence from 9am with practice followed by the first race at 10.45am.

Further afield, Jonathan Rea and Eugene Laverty contest the eighth round of the World Superbike Championship at Laguna Seca, California.

Rea will look to put the last race at Brno in the Czech Republic behind him as he continues his campaign to win a fourth WSB Championship in succession.

Despite his first non-finish of the season, after a controversial crash when he and team-mate Tom Sykes collided, the Ulsterman still holds a healthy 65-point advantage in the series ahead of Ducati’s Chaz Davies.

Rea said: “Laguna Seca is a great but demanding circuit and we need to concentrate in free practice to understand how the Kawasaki ZX-10RR works with the new rules around the circuit to be able to challenge for wins.

“Turn one here is one of the most thrilling corners on any circuit we visit, so I’m really looking forward to my first lap.”

Laverty will be looking to continue Milwaukee Aprilia’s up-turn in form after his best finish of the season to date when he finished fourth in the second race in the Czech Republic despite a rear tyre grip problem.

In the first free practice session yesterday, Rea topped the time sheets. He was a tenth of a second clear of Italian Marco Melandri with Laverty a further three tenths back in third.

The first race is tonight at 10pm UK time followed by race two tomorrow at the same time.

Belfast Telegraph


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