John Meara took a well deserved overall victory at round four of the Under 23 Ulster Championship at Tandragee Moto Park.
After a below par couple month Meara took two wins and a third on the TMC 450 Honda to show he is back on his A-game.
In race one Meara got the holeshot and eased away to take a relatively easy win on the slick, jump infested circuit. His younger brother Jason Meara came home second after coming through the field after a terrible start on the AMR 250f. But race two proved to be much more difficult for both riders.
The older but still just 18 year- old John Meara, had a race long duel with Comber’s Jason Garrett for the win and only managed to make the pass stick with two laps to go in what was an exciting race for the fans. Further back things were heating up between point’s leader Michael McCammond on the 450 Honda and second in points, 16 year old Jason Meara. Jason had passed McCammond after a couple of attempts which could have seen him take over the points lead but McCammond was having none of it and put Meara on the ground.
An angry Meara rifled back through the field from last and almost caught McCammond again on the last lap but ran out of time for retaliation. However he did limit the damage and only lost two points.
In race three it was Garrett who took the holeshot again with John Meara in second. Garrett sprinted hard at the beginning of the race and tried to open a gap as John had his own difficulties after picking up a puncture three turns in. He kept going but could do nothing about his younger brother Jason firing past him into second after starting fifth, just ahead of rival McCammond.
Jason Meara was on a mission and, once into second, he started to eat into the five second lead that Garrett had opened up. With a couple of laps to go Jason was right there and all over Garrett looking for a way through but, after losing race two at the end, Garrett was not going to surrender easily and he fought hard to keep Meara behind him.
With one and a half laps to go Meara tried to pass Garrett round the outside but Garrett held his line and Meara was forced wide and went down. This left Garrett , on the AJ Plumbing 350 KTM, with a huge lead and he took his first win in two years since breaking his neck and suffering a brain injury in the spring of 2011. The watching crowd all applauded as Garrett took the chequered flag and raised his head to the sky, giving everyone a glimpse of just how much that win meant to him after all the hardship of the last couple of years.
Meanwhile Jason Meara had to re-pass his brother John to get him back into second place on the last lap and it also meant that Jason took a slender points lead in the championship with only two rounds to go ahead of McCammond.
The fight between McCammond and Meara could go down to the wire and it won’t be friendly either but, the 16 year old now has the momentum now and it’s up to McCammond to halt it.
John Meara – I was happy enough with today. I have been on a bit of a downer lately but hopefully am getting back to my old self. In the final race I had a puncture from the third corner so I was lucky to salvage third. I was happy with the first race to lead it from start to finish, the track was very slippery and there was just one fast line. In race two I had a good battle with Jason Garrett, I enjoyed it but I was pleased to come out on top! With my shoulder injury it has been hit and miss, I have struggled with turning on hard pack with the 450 but I don’t like making my shoulder as an excuse to be honest!
Jason Garrett – It has been a long time coming. Jason Meara had caught me but fortunately I was in the line he wanted to take and he had to go over the berm to get by. I am definitely happy, it has been a long time coming and hopefully now I can finish the season well. I binned it twice in the first one which is never good but I felt really comfortable in the second one and John pushed me the whole way and got by me with two laps to go but I happy to take second. I have struggled all this year big time with a couple of problems and injuries at the start of the year. But the bike has been a lot better the last four weeks and I have been steadily getting quicker too so hopefully I have turned the corner now.
Jason Meara – I struggled with my starts as usual but my speed wasn’t too bad. I passed Michael McCammond in that second race then he went straight down the inside took me out. But that’s ok if that’s the way he wants to ride I can give it back to him! Overall I had a good day and I’m happy with how it went. It is hard on a 250 to keep up with the 450s but it is only bringing me on.
Article by Jonathan McCready
Picture by Nigel McKinstry