Gary Moulds made a dream start to his Grand Prix career in Switzerland a couple of weeks ago but at the final round of the series at Vesoul, France the Lisburn driver with passenger Steve Kirwin exceeded all expectations.
They finished eighth in race one, scoring 13 world championship points and despite being sidelined in race two after being hit in the eye by a flying stone while in another points scoring position, the Lisburn man was delighted with his Grand Prix experience.
“I couldn’t be happier!” said the 22-year-old. “We qualified seventh fastest in group ‘A’ giving us an automatic front row start for the races.
“We gated third in race one but lost a few places to the front Grand Prix riders dropping to 11th but it wasn’t long before fought back and were battling for seventh.
“Unfortunately a few laps from the flag we lost out to Davy Saunders, who finished ninth in the championship, but we were delighted to cross the line in eighth and score 13 points,” he added.
“We got boxed in at the start of race two and were hit by another bike on the start straight, which didn’t help the cause, leaving us in 20th place.
“We got our heads down and fought our way into 15th before a stone went through my goggles and split my eye. I pulled into the pits for new goggles but when the team saw the mess I was in they said enough was enough and we were forced to retire.
“We finished 32nd in the world championship after only doing two rounds and I couldn’t be happier. Although Steve and I get the credit his was a team effort and without their support none of this would have been possible, so a big thank you to them.”
Meanwhile, Lisburn’s Richard Bird completed a fantastic weekend when he was crowned Michelin MX1 Nationals British Champion at the final round of the series at Cusses Gorse, Salisbury, Wiltshire on Sunday.
The Five5 Motorsport KTM rider missed Saturday’s racing as he was competing at the Laurel Bank round of the Ulster championship where he romped home to a treble in the Experts MX1 to leave him within two points of adding the Ulster title to the Irish and British at the next round at Tinkerhill.
At the British round he finished second in his opening race and then won race two.
“It was a good weekend,” the champion said.
“Winning all three on Saturday at Laurel Bank was a great start to the weekend and to be awarded the number one gold plate for the championship made the long overnight drive to the British round all worthwhile. Then to get the word on Sunday that I was part of Team Ireland for the nations was the icing on the cake.”
It will be Bird’s second MXON having ridden in the 2011 team in France.
He said: “It will be some experience racing in the States for the first time but I’m looking forward to it. France was good in 2011 but this is something special.”
The MX1 and MX2 Ulster motocross titles are still up for grabs after the latest round at Laurel Bank.
Bird has one hand on the MX1 title with three wins on Saturday despite the best efforts of Jordan McCaw, who finished runner up in all three motos on the Unique Fit Out Husqvarna.
In the MX2 class the crowd at Laurel Bank witnessed some fantastic racing between great rivals Jason Meara and Glenn McCormick on their 250f KTM’s.
Race one went to Loughbrickland’s Jason Meara after McCormick crashed at half distance. By the time the Glenoe rider remounted Meara was gone.
In race two the same happened with the two rivals wheel to wheel until Meara went down leaving McCormick to comfortably win from Stephen Mullally with Meara, who pulled in to the pits to change a front wheel due to a puncture, eventually crossing the line in fifth.
Race three was a classic with Meara and McCormick fighting for every inch of the track. At the last corner they were side by side but Meara got the better drive and won by 0.640 at the flag.
It was Meara’s day as he also won the Brian Bell Memorial trophy race at the end of the meeting after early leaders Richard Bird retired with a puncture and Glenn McCormick crashed out leaving the KTM rider to control the race from the front to the flag.
“That was a good day!” said Meara. “In the opening race I was in the top three off the start and got up in to second before Glenn (McCormick) made a mistake and I got past. I won the race comfortably after he went down a few laps later.”
This Saturday the MCCNI are holding a fund raising race day at Desertmartin for Team Ireland who travel to the 72nd running of the 2018 Motocross of Nations at Red Bud at Michigan USA from October 6-7.
The three man team of Graeme Irwin, Martin Barr and Richard Bird, have provided signed race gear for the raffle, which will help towards the £30,000 cost of funding the squad.
At the MX Nationals, Carrick’s Graeme Irwin took the chance to get some track time in before the MXGP of the Netherlands on September 16 and claimed a comfortable double on the ASA Hitachi KTM.
“I made a poor start in race one lying eighth on lap one but worked my way through to second with ten minutes to go before taking the lead from Elliot Banks-Browne and controlling things from the front,” Irwin said.
“In race two I led from lap one to the flag, winning quite comfortably.”
In other news, Ballyclare High School pupil Charley Irwin finished on the podium in Saturday’s Lee Tolson Memorial race at Brampton on the Discount Beds SW85 KTM followed by another podium the following day in the East Cumbrian championship round.