Sidecarcross: Tough opening round for local crews

Gary Moulds and Steve Kirwin
Gary Moulds and Steve Kirwin

Lisburn’s Gary Moulds with passenger Steve Kirwin had an eventful start to their world sidecarcross campaign at Lommel, Belgium.

The reigning Ulster and Irish champions couldn’t race in Sunday’s opening GP after a massive crash in their qualifying race on Saturday left Steve Kirwin unconscious and for safety reasons they decided to sit out the opening round that was won by reigning World Champion, Marvin Vanluchene.

The duo had nothing but problems with the new bike leading into Saturday’s qualifying working on the machine until late on Friday night. With 46 teams chasing 30 starting places qualifying was all-important and in-timed practice Moulds and Kirwin were 12th fastest and confident of making the cut for the GP on Sunday.

“After all the bike issues things went well in timed practice and despite not getting a clear track we were happy with 12th and looking forward to our qualifying race,” said Moulds.

“We made a bad start in the race but pulled through to seventh that would have given us a front row start when at the halfway point Brett Wilkinson crashed and the race was red flagged.

“If the race had ran for one more lap the result would have stood but as it had not a complete rerun took place. We made a bad start and another rider clipped the handlebars on the start/finish straight and sent us tumbling end over end resulting in Steve lying in the track unconscious.

“With the bike battered and bent and Steve a bit second hand looking we pulled the plug for this one.”

Thankfully Steve Kirwin will be fit for this weekends Spanish round at Talavera, Spain.

Our other local crew Neil Campbell and Charley Ide struggled all weekend. “We didn’t make it through the qualifying race and had to go out in the last chance race but we lost our clutch at the end of the opening lap and were unable to put in a good lap,” explained Neil. It just ended a miserable weekend for the Lisburn team.

While Gary Moulds was having a nightmare in Belgium his sister Emma and passenger Niki Adair were having a ball at the opening round of the sidecarcross Irish championship, Clonroche. The pair joined forces again for the 2019 season and were unstoppable, winning all three races at the season opener.

“We came here hoping to do well but three wins was unbelievable,” said Niki. “We had to work harder in race two for the win after taking four laps to catch and pass Jeff Ingram. When we did get in to the lead we were able to pull a gap and control it to the finish. In race three we pushed all the way once we hit the front. It was good practice for the forthcoming opening British round 28th April.”

Mark McLernon was the premier quads winner after taking two seconds and a close win in race two by less that a second over Leon Rodgers. Rodgers finished second overall on the day with Justin Reid completing the top three. Reigning British champion Jack Young dominated the support class with three wins while Connor Bradley, Tomas McNulty and Andrew Black were the respective youth class winners.

Round one of the Irish youth championship took place at Desertmartin and Niall Cregan on his Husqvarna was125 Intermediate class winner while Yamaha’s Jack Galvin took maximum points in the premier class. Fin Wilson won the SW85 class while Drew McCreanor was the BW85 winner. Omagh’s Lewis Spratt raced his KTM to victory in the Junior 65s with three wins from three starts. Noah Annett won the Cadets while in the Auto 50 class Kole Nally took the honours.