A sell out crowd greeted the riders for the second round of the Arenacross series in Belfast where Adam Chatfield won his second main event in a row to take control of the series.
A tight track made passing difficult as the riders protected the inside lines. But Chatfield had his starts dialled on his Buildbase Honda, was fast in whoops and was getting over a difficult triple no problem all night. He controlled the main event in style despite Jack Brunnel’s best attempts to close the gap.
“I am two for two now and it is looking good for the championship,” said a delighted Chatfield. “I was comfortable tonight and things are getting better and better with the bike. I am really happy, the track was really slippery and hard to pass so I was happy I got a good start!
Neville Bradshaw took third and was fast all night and all day in practice, Bradshaw really does excel on the indoor tracks and the confidence may help him going into outdoors this season but he needs to start beating Chatfield to win this title.
Frenchman Cyrille Coulon joined the series a round late and was maybe the only rider that had the speed to challenge Chatfield but bad starts meant he was never in the position he wanted to be in but he still pulled through to fourth and won the entertaining Dash for Cash head to head competition!
One of the best things about this season’s Arenacross is seeing riders like Carl Nunn and Tom Church back out of retirement and competing at British level. Carl Nunn still showed the style and talent that took him to GP victories as he got to the final of the head to head and rode a steady race in the main to fifth. “The progression in the last few weeks has been really quick,” explained Nunn. “I have to keep reminding myself I’m just here for fun. I really happy with tonight – I’m enjoying myself!”
It wasn’t a great night for the Irish riders at their home race. The only bright spot was when LPE Kawasaki rider Gordon Crockard took victory in the opening heat race and pointed to the crowd as he led it on the first lap! “You have to enjoy these things – how many chances to you get to holeshot and lead an arenacross in your home town!?” enthused Crockard on his first lap antics!
Crockard wouldn’t get a good start again all night and was battling Martin Barr for sixth in the final when Barr went down and left the LPE Kawasaki rider nowhere to go but over the VMX KTM machine and down hard.
Gordon couldn’t remount and was forced to DNF again, while Barr got up and soldiered on for tenth but he left frustrated and couldn’t wait to get some testing time under his belt so he can start to challenge for the podium. “I crashed in every race I was out in which isn’t the thing to do in Arenacross. The track was tough, it was very slippy but it was the same for everybody. I just need more time on the bike to get myself prepared,” admitted a disappointed but philosophical Barr.
Graeme Irwin on the All Heads and Threads Suzuki didn’t even make the main event! Irwin got taken out in his first heat race by Musquin then again in the LCQ by Lopes to leave Irwin limping and angry!
Lopes and Musquin barely even made it to the race. Both riders missed practice after struggling to get over from Europe with the snow. The two riders eventually made it to the stadium just half an hour before the night show and only got five laps of practice before the racing started – Irwin will be wishing they never made it!
It was another exciting night of racing but it looks like the championship is now going to be between Bradshaw and Chatfield as the series heads to the final rounds in Birmingham and Liverpool.
- Adam Chatfield
- Jack Brunnel
- Neville Bradshaw
- Cyrille Coulon
- Carl Nunn
- Mickael Musquin
- Charles LeFrancois
- Eric Sorby
- Tom Church
- Martin Barr
- Stuart Edmonds
- Gordon Crockard
Top five things about Arenacross
- Dirt bikes in winter – with the snow outside where else could you get to see top flight action in January, Arenacross is perfect for both riders and spectators to continue their passion in the winter months – especially in the UK.
- Freestyle action – the freestyle element was just enough to entertain with taking away from the racing – those guys can do some serious tricks!
- Unexpected – You just never know what is going to happen, aggressive riding is taken to the maximum and with everyone a similar speed the racing is short sharp and intense!
- Prize money means top riders– with some excellent prize money on offer you get to see the top British riders and top indoor riders from all over Europe coming over and competing for the championship.
- Schoolboy racing – get to see the rising stars of the future and hear some two strokes!
Article by Jonathan McCready