Philip McCullough hails Team Ireland riders

Philip Neil pictured with Martin Barr, Richard Bird and Gary Gibson at the MXON in America.
Philip Neil pictured with Martin Barr, Richard Bird and Gary Gibson at the MXON in America.

Team Boss Philip McCullough was delighted with Team Ireland’s 14th place at the Motocross of Nations at Red Bud in America at the weekend.

France won the event but the performance put in by the local riders was amazing and McCullough was full of praise for his riders saying.

“The boys gave me everything over the weekend,” he said.

“We weren’t sure what would be the outcome going into the event after all the problems we had before leaving last Wednesday. I was delighted when we qualified straight into the grade ‘A’ final.

“Martin stepped up to the mark, Gary rode out of his skin on a bike he had never seen before the event and Richard’s result on Saturday got us into the ‘A’ final. It was a massive team effort and the help we got was just unbelievable so a big thank you to all involved.

“We could have had a little more luck in the races on Sunday but to come away with fourteenth, one place better than last year is incredible.”

Revo Husqvarna rider Martin Barr had a great weekend setting the eighth fastest time in practice before finishing 15th in his MX2 heat race after a mechanical problem early in the race.

With Gary Gibson, who took over Graeme Irwin’s ASA Hitachi 450 KTM finishing a great 14th in his MXGP heat and Richard Bird bringing the Five5 Motorsport 450 KTM home in 23rd place in the Open race heat Team Ireland had made it through to the ‘A’ final in 19th place overall.

In their three races Barr and Gibson were in action first and they finished 16th and 33rd respectively in the MXGP/MX2 race behind world MXGP champion Jeffrey Herlings.

In MX2/Open race two Barr finished 17th while unfortunately Bird had a DNF. Now the team were in 12th overall heading into the third and final race.

Unfortunately Gibson and Bird couldn’t find the results to hold on to 12th and eventually had to settle for 14th overall.

Barr was pleased with the team’s performance and his own saying: “I’m pretty happy with the overall results considering all the bad luck leading up to the event but both Richard and Gary stepped up to the occasion and done a fantastic job and we went one better than last year to finish 14th overall which is brilliant!

“For me going a 7-7 scorecard for seventh overall in mx2 class, beating some big names including the current MX2 America champion, is something I’m extremely proud of.

“Finally a big thank you to all our sponsors who made it possible and to our team manager Philip McCullough for all his hard work in getting the team organised and getting us out to America.”

For Richard Bird it was a weekend to remember.

“It was a real good weekend,” he said. “We qualified straight into the ‘A’ final and to be able to do that was good.

“The track was very tough going with all the rain we had but the atmosphere was unreal and it was great to be able to say that I raced around Red Bud with the best in the world.”

It was the same for Gary Gibson who added: “It was a fantastic experience to race with Martin and Richard representing Ireland. To race at Red Bud, my first ever race in America, is something I will remember for a long time and to help the team to 14th was pretty special.”