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Tough day at the Heights for Honda men

Buildbase Honda riders Martin Barr and Graeme Irwin narrowly missed out on podium finishes after a challenging third round of the Maxxis ACU British Motocross Championship supported by Pro Clean at Canada Heights on Sunday.

A solid third following qualifying, Martin started the opening MX2 moto near the front on his CRF250R and was chasing the leaders before a technical problem in the closing laps saw him slip back to ninth.

After taking the holeshot in race two he fought hard for the full moto duration, eventually finishing in third for fourth overall. The result maintains his third place in the championship standings.

“Today’s been okay but it could have been better,” he said. “I made a pretty good start in race one but had a problem with the back wheel and the chain came loose so I lost a lot of drive. I tried to keep pushing on but I eventually dropped back to ninth which is really disappointing but these things happen.

“I was fired up for race two and managed to grab the holeshot. Ben Watson got past and he was quicker than me in one part of the track and I was quicker than him in another. It was cat and mouse but then I made a mistake which allowed Harri Kullas to go through.

“It’s not over yet. I’ll go home, put the work in and come back even stronger. The next round is at Hawkstone Park which I’m really looking forward to.”

Graeme qualified second in MX1 and ran at the front in the opening race before crashing while fighting for the lead. Remounting fourth, the race was then red-flagged after another rider crashed and he was unable to pull back any places.

After another great start on his CRF450R in race two a technical issue saw him slip to fifth which he held for the full race duration.

Although disappointed to miss out on a podium finish for the first time this season he’s now just two points from the championship lead.

“In the first race I went for a pass for the lead, made a mistake and went down,” said Graeme. “I was up quickly and felt confident I could pull some places back but the race was red-flagged.

“In the second race the throttle was sticking. It’s not been a good day for me and I’m very disappointed but despite this I’m confident in my riding and only two points away from the red plate. I feel stronger every race and I’m looking forward to round four at Hawkstone in a fortnight.”

Team boss Dave Thorpe was keen to accentuate the positives after what he admitted was a challenging day.

“It’s been tough for us,” said the three-time world 500cc champion. “We came into Canada Heights with a clear objective for Martin and Graeme and it didn’t quite work out.

“Technical issues are a part of motorsport and frustrating for everyone – as a team we give 100 per cent but sometimes things don’t always work out. That’s the nature of racing.

“There’s a long way to go and even after a disappointing day Graeme is second in the MX1 championship and just two points off the lead and Martin is third in MX2.

“Both of them are very professional and focussed on winning and we’ll take today in our stride.”

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