Belfast Telegraph

Two local racers target the top as Arenacross arrives in Belfast

By Robin McIlveen

Two local racers will be in the thick of the action as the SSE Arena is turned into a natural home for motorsport.

The 2018 Power Maxed Arena-cross Tour arrives on Friday and Saturday, giving Jason Meara and Jack Belton a chance to show off their skills in front of friends and family.

The more experienced Meara says he is gunning for success while Belton will make his Arenacross debut, fired on by a recent family struggle.

Belton, 14, from Donaghadee, makes his debut in the arena as a wild card rider. A fan of Arenacross, Jack entered the 2018 tour thanks to his uncle, Jeff Wright, who was a former racer.

Jeff has mentored Jack but, in only his late forties, was recently diagnosed with Motor Neurone disease. Jack says this has given him further reason to compete, in order to make his uncle proud by, in his own words, “doing something really big.”

Jack’s racing mad uncle and grandfather will be supporting him from the pits this weekend.

Tiler by day and racer by night, Meara has burst onto the Arenacross scene since his debut in January 2017.

The 20-year-old Loughbrickland rider showed up to the opening round of the 2017 tour without a crew. His lack of mentoring and assistance from the pits wasn't a natural set-up for success but he managed to recover from a massive fall in Birmingham a week before last year's Belfast event to finish fourth at the SSE.

“Getting fourth overall last in the 2017 championship was okay, but I’m returning to Arenacross year with one focus, and that’s to win the Pro Lites class,” he said.

His display last year attracted attention from professional team Fly JK Yamaha who quickly signed him up. From there, he contested the full series and soon earned the respect of the crowds thanks to his gutsy style of racing.

Spectators at the SSE Arena will enjoy a pre-show filled with music, lights and fireworks, prior to a ceremonious presentation of the riders. Then it’s straight into the main event with invigorating, fast-paced indoor race action "where anything goes", according to the organisers.

The classes cater for mini-racers from the age of seven-years on 65cc bikes, Superminis 10 to 15, Pro Lites 15 to 23 and then Pros – professional motocross racers from around the globe. French, Italian, German, Russian, Dutch, Finnish, Australian and, of course, British riders will all be on show, as will three sets of high-flying Freestyle motocross shows. Brits Dan Whitby, Arran Powley, Samson Eaton and Nez Parker have honed their considerable FMX skills for Belfast, hoping to pull some incredible high-air tricks out of the bag. From Spain, the self-appointed ‘Daddy of FMX’, Edgar Torronteras can’t wait to get back to the SSE Arena, citing Belfast and its "wicked" crowd as his favourite stop of the Tour. New on the FMX block is Australian Ryan Brown, who rides with a relaxed and effortless style.

There are a range of different prices tickets now on sale, with prices from £17. Anyone interested should visit www.arenacrossuk.com or call the SSE Arena Box Office on 028 9073 9074.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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