Weather forced the eleventh hour cancellation of the Tinker Hill Ulster Championship meeting which allowed the focus to switch to the fourth round of the GR7 championship run by the MCCNI at the immaculate Robinsons Moto Park, Claudy.
There were some outstanding racing in all the classes in mostly dry conditions around the sand based Co. Londonderry track with Belfast rider James Mackrel, the current leader of the Ulster MX1 championship, powering the Edgar Electrical/Lyons Brothers Peugeot 450 KTM to victory in the opening two races.
It was Jay McCrum who made the hole shot on the Fona CAB/KMR Kawasaki in race one but by the end of the lap Mackrel had taken the lead and was controlling the race from the front. Martin Barr rode a steady race on the 25 0f Crescent Yamaha to finish runner up, less than a second behind the winner with Jason Meara on the Watts 450 Kawasaki completing the top three. Glenn McCormick brought the Unique Fit-Out Husqvarna home in fourth ahead of John Meara on the second Watts Kawasaki with Robert Hamilton completing the top six on the Go-MX / Norman Watt KTM by Enjoy. McCrum eventually finished seventh.
In race two Mackrel hit the front from the start and apart from Jason Meara snatching the lead briefly on lap four the 21 year-old crossed the line after thirteen superb laps of racing over a second clear of Barr who worked his way up from sixth on the opening lap to have nearly four seconds to spare over third place man John Meara at the chequered flag.
Race three saw Barr take the win with Mackrel settling for fifth in the end after an issue at the start gate with his KTM. The Meara brothers Jason and John completed the top three with Robert Hamilton fourth.
“I was happy enough with the days results,” said Mackrel. “In the opening two races I was pleased with my pace but in race three I hit the kill switch at the start and although I eventually caught the leaders I made a big mistake and reckoned as there was nothing to gain by keeping pushing until I crashed.
“I just settled down and brought it home in one piece.”
Barr was satisfied with his day’s work and added: “I didn’t really get too excited but it was good to be riding the 250 against the bigger bikes as it is good training.
“ It was a pity we couldn’t race the full track but still it was good to get three races after the past couple of weeks that I have put in.”
Another rider happy with the racing at Robinson’s was come back man John Meara.
“Saturday was good,” he said. “I was very rusty after being off a bike for almost a month more or less letting my body heel up. My sand riding has come on a lot and I’ve really focused on trying to improve it this year.
“I feel like the results are coming and I’m just going to keep on doing what I’m doing and see we’re we end up.”
Ben Kennedy was the A2 class overall winner from John Robb with Gareth Andrews third.
In the small wheel 85cc class Alex Henderson took two wins and the overall from Lennox Dickinson with Cole McCullough completing the top three. Great racing in the big wheel 85 class saw three different winners.
In the opening race Reece Ross led from start to finish with Jay Sherry only half a second behind after a poor start. In race two Matthew Beattie hit the front on lap two to finish well clear of Reece Ross.
Charley Irwin had an excursion off track on lap four before fighting back to third. Sherry had bike issues that saw him finish well down the order in sixth.
In the third and final outing Sherry had no problems and won with 18 seconds to spare over Beattie.
Lewis Spratt from Omagh, in his last season in the 65cc class, was fastest in practice and went on to win the opening two races at Claudy on the Glendale Filling Station KTM and finish runner up in race three, giving the 10 year-old the overall victory.
Hayden Gibson was unstoppable in the Auto class as he won all three races comfortably.