While the rest of us brave the bitter cold winds and rain, East Antrim motocross star Martin Barr will be enjoying the Spanish sunshine as he prepares for the forthcoming 2014 motocross season.
The Times caught up with Martin just before he jetted off and he was upbeat about the new campaign - his tenth as a full-time rider.
Could this be the year when the likeable Doagh rider realises his dream of becoming British Champion in the MX2 class?
“I’m heading to Barcelona for 10 days of testing and I am really looking forward to getting in some bike time in the better weather before returning home in plenty of time to practice in the conditions we are going to be racing in.
“I will have my fitness up and be in the best shape I can before the Hawkestone International in the third week of February. For a change this year I am ready early and, unlike last year, I know what I am training for, which is great. I am already a couple of steps ahead of last year, which is good,” smiled the 26 year old.
“I have a new guy, Nick Glackin of Malin Floors, helping me this year, which takes a lot of pressure off me and it is great that my sponsors from last season, Nutt Travel, and the rest are staying on board.
“With my dad (Martin senior) on the spanners I couldn’t be happier.”
He added: “It’s a nice environment to work in and everyone is there for one reason and that is to win races. I’m really excited for this year and feel a lot stronger going into the new season than ever before.
“Hopefully luck is on my side and everything goes to plan and I end the season as champion in both the British and Red Bull Pro Nationals. It won’t be easy as there are a lot of fast, young kids coming through. But I just have to be in the best shape I can be in and get the preparation right. So far, so good, and I can’t wait to get started”
Watch out for the VMXMOTO.COM/Malin KTM bike with the number 50 on the front this season as it could be the 2014 champion on board!
Hamilton wins fair share of MCUI silverware
Ballyclares’ Jamie Hamilton picked up his fair share of silver ware at the M.C.U.I prize-giving last Friday night.
He was the winner of the Darren Gilpin Trophy, Ulster 650 Supertwins Road Race Champion, Irish 650 Supertwins, Irish Supersport 600 and the Rusk Memorial Cup for the Most Improved Road Racer. Hamilton plans to announce his plans for 2014 very soon.
Glenn to race at
With the first round of the Arenacross Series taking place at Belfast’s Odyssey Arena in a couple of weeks’ time, Gleno rider Glenn McCormick will take his place on the grid in the rookies’ class after his entry was confirmed last weekend.
The talented 18-year-old has raced at the venue on five previous occasions but this time he hopes to do improve on 2013’s sixth-placed finish.
“I hope this time goes better. I will be entering with no expectations whatsoever but it would be nice to win,” he told the Times.
The 2013 Ulster and Irish 250 grade ‘A’ champion will be on a 250 KTM, and with the help of local businessmen Colin Todd and John McIlwaine, should be on the pace come Belfast on January 17 and 18.