Loughbrickland’s John Meara is the 2019 Irish MX1 champion after a dramatic final round at Doon saw the championship go down to the last race of the season.
It was winner takes all as both contenders Richard Bird, the 2018 champion and Meara the 2016 champion were tied on points as they lined up for the 20-minute plus one lap race.
In a restarted race after the initial race was red flagged in which both Bird and Meara had slipped off, it was Lisburn rider on the Five5Motorsport Watt 450 KTM who took the hole-shot when the gate dropped.
His lead lasted until the half way point of the race before Meara made the pass for the lead and powered his Watts 450 Kawasaki to race win number three and the title, five seconds clear of the outgoing champion.
“That was a brilliant day as far as I was concerned,” said the new champion.
“I knew before going to Doon that I needed to win all three races to claim the title and that’s what I did.
“It was tight racing between Dickie (Bird) and myself in the opening two races.
“Going into the last race we were equal on points so it was first across the line was champion.
“I didn’t make it easy for myself in the final race when I hit the start gate and was last away but I got my head down and caught him around the half way stage of the race and made the pass pulling away to open out a five second winning gap by the chequered flag.
“I got the job done and I’m happy. It’s great to be champion again. I won both the Irish and Ulster back in 2016 before injury ruled me out of the 2017 season.
“I spent the following season building towards this year and all the hard work has paid off. A big thank you to Watt’s Kawasaki and my team for all the support.
“That’s one down and one to go with the last round of the Ulster championship at Tandragee on September 7th.”
Meanwhile, Lisburn’s Gary Moulds hopes to kick start his grand prix season again with a new passenger multi Australian Champion Brian Anthony in the chair replacing the injured Steve Kirwin for the rest of the season.
Thirty-two-year-old Anthony made his first appearance in sidecarcross GPs back in 2014 at Roggenburg, the same venue where he will make his debut with the local man Moulds in a couple of weeks time. He scored his first Grand Prix points at Plomion, France, earlier this season and at the last GP in Latvia he finished 12th alongside Swiss driver Joachim Reimann.
Moulds, who should have been enjoying the successes of Grand Prix racing in 2019, has instead spent much of the year watching instead of competing.
“It has been a very frustrating season so far but hopefully it will get better from here on in,” he said.
“Brian is an experienced passenger having won the Australian championship many times and he was passenger for me at Dean Moor in the British Championship recently where we finished fourth in what could only be described as a test run.
“At last weekend’s British round at Wakes Colne we finished seventh overall despite a big crash in race one that ended up with us having to pull in as I had severe bruising to my foot.
“A lot of ice to reduce the swelling and we were out in race two only for Brian to get hit by an outfit that threw him out of the chair injuring his shoulder. Eventually we got going to finish sixth. Despite the injuries we led race three for the opening three laps before dropping back to fourth by the flag.
“We have a week off now to recover from the injuries before heading to our first GP together is in Switzerland on August 25th. If all goes to plan we should add to the six points scored in Lommel at the start of the year.”