Glenn McCormick won his second major adult championship of the year at Desertmartin. The recently turned 18 year old Agnew Recovery/Watt KTM rider held his nerve during the day and went 2-1-1 to win in the Ulster MX2 championship in style by winning the overall on the day.
McCormick is now anxious to prove himself in the British Championship next year and after his two titles at home plus his Red Bull and MXY2 event wins this year he could be one to watch in 2014.
McCormick said: It is good to finally get it. I went for it last year but came up a bit short so it is good to get it. It has been a tough year because I dislocated my shoulder halfway through the season and stuff. This year couldn’t have went any better (winning the Irish and Ulster MX2 titles), I did what I set out to do and won a couple of races over in England as well. Now the preparation starts for next year. I am hoping to get over to England and the MX2 class but I need to see if I can get any help because it costs a lot of money.
McCormick’s closest challenger was of course Jason Meara. The 16 year old AMR Honda rider won the first race to try and put pressure on McCormick but bad starts combined with the mistake free McCormick meant that Meara was unable to get within striking distance for the rest of the day. It meant second place in the series and second place overall for Meara. Like McCormick, Meara is looking to do the full British championship next year if he can find the right opportunity.
Meara said: First race I got away pretty good and pulled a good gap. The second two it was bad starts again and crashes. I had good speed all day but the crashes ruined it for me. Coming into the season I wanted to win but second is good enough for my first year I am still only sixteen. It was a real good experience to get racing with the top guys in British. I showed good speed at Desertmartin and at Farleigh Castle, I had a good ride. Starts let me down all year so hopefully we can fix that next year.
Jason Garrett dropped down to the MX2 machine for the final round and showed much more aggression than he had all year. Jason showed glimpses of the speed that took him to an Irish MX2 championship a couple of years ago en route to third overall on the AJ Plumbing KTM.
However the main drama was in the MX1 class.
Much of the hype going in was because Philip McCullough was making a return to racing. But unfortunately for McCullough his day quite simply could not have gone any worse. A bike failure in practice meant an unfavourable outside starting gate for the races. But he only lasted half a lap in race one before crashing out and two laps in race two before crashing again and dislocating his shoulder. However it was good to see him back and he looked to be enjoying the competition again when he was on the bike!
This left the crowd watching the battle for the championship between Gary Gibson and Richard Bird. Gibson had a 14 point lead going in but Bird won the opening to races while Gibson had a second and a fifth after crashing in race two.
That meant it was down to the final moto – with only two points between the pair. It was a classic winner takes all race!
Gibson grabbed the all important holeshot but Bird was quickly into second. This was it, the race was on for the title! A determined Bird hounded Gibson but was struggling to make a pass for the lead as Gibson was riding the perfect race under pressure.
Then, the drama unfolded. Coming up to the step-up the yellow flags were out but Gibson cleared the jump anyway believing the flags weren’t being waved. Bird singled the jump and Gibson edged out a small gap.
Bird then caught Gibson back up and going onto the last lap was right on Gary’s rear wheel. He went for the pass with couple of corners to go but Gibson held his nerve and held onto first place as they crossed the flag. It meant Gibson was the 2013 MX1 Ulster champion – but was he?
As Gibson did his victory lap on the Bannside Pallets Suzuki, a protest was lodged in the paddock about Gibson doing the step up despite the yellow flags. Those protesting believed the flags were being waved and Gibson should not have jumped the jump.
When Gary got back to the paddock his heart sank and he quickly went to the steward’s area to eventually learn that he had been disqualified, thus handing the championship to Suitor Brothers KTM rider Richard Bird.
Team Gibson was not impressed and promptly appealed the decision and that means that the final decision of who won the championship will not be known until next week and lies entirely in the hands of the MRA and the interpretation of a rule.
So great days racing and a phenomenal last race turned sour at the end as everyone left the track not knowing who the real MX1 champion was…
Report by Jonathan McCready
Picture by Nigel McKinstry