Ireland had their best performance since 2007 at the MXON after posting some excellent results over the weekend to finish a fine 13th in the team standings.
With an 11th from Martin Barr in the MX1 qualifier and a 14th from Irwin in MX2, the Irish finally made their way into the A final without having to go to the dreaded B final. Finally they could show everyone what they were capable of at the biggest race in the world.
Martin Barr lead the way with a fine 13th in moto one, he started in the top five, holding DUngey off for a lap, Martin admitted losing his rythmn half way through the race but found it again in time to re-pass Blake Baggett with couple of laps to go. According to Martin he did it ‘ on the pegs, round the outside, there was no way I was letting Baggett beat me!’ Not a bad way to beat the 250 US National champion, who is known for his late race charges!
His second moto didn’t go to plan, a couple of early crashes and no back brake from lap two meant Martin finished lower than his speed should have got him, but 21st was still an admirable ride with no rear brake. Martin finished 9th overall in MX1, a great result and he was on the pace of some of the top GP MX1 riders all weekend, surely he will get to race a full MX1 GP series next year!
Graeme Irwin deserves the Ironman award. A solid 23rd in race one Irwin was not happy with the way he rode even though he was top ten in MX2. He went to the line even more determined for race two, but it all went wrong in turn one when he went down and got run over by the pack. 30 seconds behind everyone and in pain with a seriously scraped up back, Irwin remounted, put a lion heart in his chest and rode maybe the best race of his life!
From being way, way back and in pain ‘ It was sore to sit down’, he climbed all the way back to 22nd position and 8th MX2 rider, bettering his first race score! It was an incredible ride and included passing Alex Lupino, and it meant he was still able to claim 7th overall in the MX2 class!
Stuart Edmonds moved up to the 450 for the event and despite a slow start on Saturday, Edmonds found his groove when it mattered on Sunday. A 27th place in his first moto got Ireland the points they needed to secure their 13th place. Edmonds said that for him individually “it was a bad day” but in reality it was still a good performance since he had not had much time on the 450 never mind racing it at Lommel!
For a such a small country to achieve such a results on such a tough track is amazing and full credit must go to all three riders as well as team manager and former GP rider Laurence Spence for getting the team organised and in a position to get the results they did.
Incidently, Laurence raced Lommel at the 1981 Des Nations, but said it was too different now to give them any advice about the track!
The lads and the team around them did everyone proud, and they can all be delighted with their performances… roll on Germany 2013!