Belfast Telegraph

French lesson for Arenacross fans, but Barr crashes

 

By Roy Harris

A packed SSE Arena witnessed world-class Arenacross action in the ultra-competitive Pro 450 and Pro Lite classes on Saturday night as French aces Greg Aranda and Cedric Soubeyras put on a masterclass of racing for an enthusiastic crowd, young and old, in an electric atmosphere.

However, it was a disappointing night for local star Martin Barr (Crescent Yamaha), the victim of a hard crash right on the finish line as he battled to keep ahead of rival Diogo Graca in Pro Lites.

Barr suffered a suspected broken hand that kept him out of the rest of the action and his aim now is to be fit for rounds three and four in Birmingham in two weeks.

On Friday night, Barr had two fifth places in Pro Lite races and was eighth in the main 450/250 Super Final before rushing to the Cornmarket Awards to collect his Off-Road Rider of the Year trophy.

Aranda was unbeaten in Saturday's 450cc races and Soubeyras similar in the Pro Lites, but in the Super Final the FRO Systems Suzuki of Soubeyras shot off the start gate and Team Green Kawasaki rider Aranda had to work to catch up, taking the lead at two-thirds distance before securing victory.

In the All-Ireland Cup, James Mackrel was the star performer winning all his races from Lindsay Newell while in the Youth 65cc events the Castlederg McCullough twins,Robbie and Cole, secured top 10 finishes. Drew McCreanor was inside the top 10 in the Supermini Kawasaki class and Glenn McCormick top six in Pro Lites events.

Watching on, fresh from his fourth Irish Motorcyclist of the Year success the previous night, World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea said: "It all started for me here in 2003 when I won the 65cc class and the feeling you get on the start line in front of thousands of home fans is something pretty hard to replicate.

"This was a superb advert for MX and Belfast."

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