It was a great weekend for local riders at the penultimate round of the Michelin MX Nationals British Championships at Canada Heights, with Jason Meara and Ryan Mawhinney both wrapping up their respective titles.
Loughbrickland rider Meara has had a fantastic season in the MX2 class on the Watt KTM and at Canada Heights he dug deep and had to fight hard for his four wins that wrapped up the British title a round early.
“This weekend was good for me,” said Jason.
“I’m extremely happy with my riding but unfortunately my starts were terrible and I had to come from behind in the first three motos and only took the win on the last lap in two of them.
“In the final moto I managed to start around eighth and got into the lead early, pulling a 16 second gap before falling off.
“Thankfully I had enough time to spare to pick it up and still win the race.
“With all the hot weather this year my fitness has really shown and thanks to my team and a lot of hard work we have claimed the British MX2 Experts championship.
“I’m now looking forward to the rest of the season.”
For Belfast teenager Ryan Mawhinney it was another master class as he won all four of his races in the BW85 class to claim his first major MX title.
Ryan started his career at the age of six and has steadily risen through the ranks winning the Ulster 65cc title in 2013 followed by the Ulster 85cc title in 2014 before moving to the mainland to tackle the British championship.
This season he has been virtually unbeatable on the ASA Hitachi KTM and his dominance in the class has saw the 15 year-old Dundonald High School pupil crowned British champion.
“This was my first major championship and it feels good,” said Ryan.
“I am really pleased with my season and my bikes have never let me down and that’s thanks to Robert Gibson who has put a lot of time and effort into keeping them in top shape.
“I plan to move into the 125 class for next year and maybe take in some racing in Belgium and Holland but first I’m going to enjoy this championship win.”
In the MX1 Experts class, Lisburn rider Richard Bird will have to wait until the final round to wrap up the title.
The Five-5 motorsport KTM rider finished second overall at Canada Heights and leads Brad Cavill by 70 points but with 100 points still up for grabs he will have to put the champagne on ice for a little longer.
With a break in the Grand Prix calendar Carrick’s Graeme Irwin took the opportunity to get some track time at Canada Heights before travelling the the Czech GP this weekend. The ASA Hitachi KTM rider qualified fastest for the MX1 Pro class and finished the day second overall behind Jake Nicholls.
“It was my first MX Nationals of the year and although it would have been nice to have won, it was still a good run out before the Czech GP,” said Irwin.
“In the opening race I came from 25th on the first lap to third by the flag then in the second moto I was away second dropped to fourth then came back to second.
“I closed the gap to seven seconds to Jake (Nicholls) but couldn’t get any closer.”
Local rider Martin Barr was also on the podium in the MX2 Pro class finishing third behind Revo Husqvarna team-mate Mel Pocock.
“It was good to be on the podium again but I’m a little disappointed with the ride.
“However with the next round of the British in two weeks time I didn’t want to push the boat out and do something silly.
“I head out to Belgium his week for some testing before heading to Duns in Scotland for round six of the British at the end of the month,” explained Barr.