The new-look 2019 Nutt Travel MRA Ulster Motocross gets underway on Saturday at Robinsons MX Circuit near Claudy.
With a new format, new sponsors and an increased prize fund making it one of the best rewarded series in the UK, the action promises to be hot and heavy around the Co. Londonderry track.
Topping the entry list is Crescent Yamaha rider Martin Barr. The Ballyclare man is one of the top MX2 riders in Europe and with the new format of racing in this year’s championship where the MX1 and MX2 machines race together an in-form Barr must be the one to watch for the win.
He will certainly give the regular Ulster championship competitors something to think about when he takes his YZ250f Crescent Yamaha to the start gate on Saturday.
Usually local MX fans only see Martin Barr once a year on home soil at the Maxxis British round at Desertmartin so it is a bit special when he decides to race at a local meeting.
“It’s been a long time since I rode at an Ulster Championship meeting but I’m really looking forward to getting a spin out and enjoying it,” he said.
“It’s not going to be easy at all as the home boys are on top of their game but I’ll just be going out to ride my own race use my head and not do anything stupid.”
The Premier MX1 Class, sponsored by Banbridge-based Adair Building Services, looks like being the most competitive class for years with defending champion Lisburn’s Richard Bird having to be on top of his game to fend off the challenge coming from the Meara brothers, John and Jason, from Loughbrickland on the Watts Kawasakis and Ballymoney’s Robert Hamilton on the O-MX Norman Watt KTM.
Fellow Ballymoney rider Jordan McCaw is another man hitting form on his Carmichael’s Bar Bistro and Restaurant KTM while Ryan Adair has just returned from Australia and will certainly be up front.
The rider they will all have to keep an eye on is Belfast man James Mackrel on the Russell’s Motorcycles/G&G Ross Yamaha. The 22-year-old won four out of six races in Cork at the opening round of the Irish championship and in that sort of form could easily leave Robinson’s leading the MX1 championship.
Reigning MX2 champion Glenn McCormick has swapped manufacturers for 2019 and now on the Unique Fit Out Husqvarna must start favourite in the Sports Insure sponsored class. “I’m enjoying my racing again after a difficult start to the year and I’m really looking forward to Saturday,” said Glenn. His main challengers will come from young talent like Jake Sheridan, and Jordan Keogh.
Norman Watt Motorcycles sponsor both the MX1 and MX2 semi experts and with the classes separated from the premiers this year the likes of Aaron Ashton, Gary Marmion, Sean Laverty and Kyle McCauley should shine in the MX1 class while Conor Mullan, William McBride and Quad star Leon Rodgers lead the way in the MX2.
The Clubman MX1 Class retains Robinson Concrete and is joined by CCM Racing from Dublin while Laverty Motocross are joined by Precise Protect Insurance as sponsors of the Clubman’s MX2 Class.
Laurence Spence, Ricky Watt, Jonathan McBride and Paul Heaney should be the main men in the new for 2019 Veterans Class sponsored by Stephen Russell Motocross & Chilltec Refrigeration.
Racing starts at 11.00 with admission £5 for adults and under 14s free.