Here we are smack bang in the middle of what’s been the best weather on the Emerald Isle since the potato famine and there’s a three-week break in play! The sun is shining and that makes everything look and feel a whole lot better – even Here we are smack bang in the middle of what’s been the best weather on the Emerald Isle since the potato famine and there’s a three-week break in play! The sun is shining and that makes everything look and feel a whole lot better – even hangovers seem not quite as bad when the rays are focused on Ireland.
No sooner has the mud-plugging of early season races passed and the river banks returned to normal levels than the cries of ‘dust and drought’ echo around the country. Well I for one have everything crossed for the sunshine to appear around Desertmartin come September 17 when GP motocross returns to Ireland.
"Will Gordon ride?" is the question on many lips. Much depends on just how much punishment his wrist can take after such a long lay-off and unless GC feels that he’s capable of running with the fast guys there’s nothing to gain from racing.
Many including myself feel that Phil McCullough has returned to the top of his game and could possibly score GP points in either class if he can master the qualification process. McCullough has suffered with his win or crash trying attitude throughout his career and can be equally as stubborn on or off the track but as well as talking the talk he can walk the walk.
A subject that always stirs up some ***t is the selection of the des Nations team – the one race capable of splitting a nation as quickly as a vote for entering the Euro currency. In years gone by it was nearly impossible to find three riders to represent Ireland either through injury, or the talent pool was somewhat low – to say the least. Team manager Stephen Russell will thankfully take on the task of picking three out of a possible seven or eight riders each with their own merit for selection.
Before the GP circus reaches these shores there are many events in August and early September – the MCCNI Super National at Ballykelly being the first. This annual meeting always attracts many cross channel competitors – both youth and adult riders.
The final round of the BYMX National championship will return to Desertmartin the last weekend of August. Last year Martin Barr clinched his British youth title at Porters Pit and since then the Dixon Yamaha rider has made his mark in the adult ranks.
There are many local youth racers who regularly make the trip across the pond to ride against the best young riders in the UK – many have gained numerous trophies and register highly in their respective points table. Desertmartin, August 27 – make a point of making the trip to support our stars of the future.
Just two rounds remain in the Irish National series and in the MX2 class it’s a battle royale between the two veterans – Phil McC and Brian Steele – whose combined ages would enable them to collect a pension.
Steeler has a narrow margin gained by the do-or-die move that McC tried on the final lap at Tandragee last time out. The move resulted in McC recording a no score. Young Robert Hamilton is third in the points but the ’04 champ really needs Lady Luck to interfere to have any realistic chance of top honours.
A mere 15 points separate the McKeown brothers at the head of the MX1 points table – six motos will decide whether elder brother Richard will retain his national title. Last season’s runner up Mike Sinton still occupies the final step on the podium with Tubman Thompson just waiting to pounce. Neil has stepped up his game in ’05 as has LS Racing rider Phil McLaughlin who fills out the top five.
In the Ulster Premier series only three points separate the young pretenders Barr and Simpson but with the GP season in full swing Ricky Mac may just capitalise on this over the remaining two rounds. Defending champ Tommy Merton holds fourth with Wayne Garrett putting on a late charge in fifth.
So there you have it – there’s the British youth, MCCNI Super National, GP, des Nations and the return of the Coupe de l’Avenir under 21 team race in Belgium as well as the Ulster and Irish titles to conclude. And there’s all this to wind up before we can even look forward to the international supercross in Belfast on November 24/25. Book your tickets early – they’ll be at a premium after the cracking show Events 22 put on last year!
Words by Stevie Mills Photo by Sutty