Red-hot action beats the chill at Milverton
The second open grass track meeting of the 2019 season organised by Milverton Off Road Club took place on Sunday in a bitterly cold field just outside Duleek in County Meath.
It attracted a slightly smaller entry of 170, but there were still 39 races run, with trebles aplenty. Some spectators found the elements a bit too severe for their liking, but those who stayed witnessed some good racing throughout the day.
As usual the natural grass proved entertaining, with a number of the riders who had never raced on grass before struggling for traction. There were numerous crashes during the day, thankfully without serious injury.
As usual, the Autos were first to the line, and there were a number of newcomers making their very first race venture, and at the tender age of six it was a joy to watch them race.
Callum Dixon has been riding extremely well, and he took a fine treble to add to his double at the last event. In race one he beat Max Lazarewicz, Carter Williams and Callum Hughes. In race two Williams finished runner-up, with debutant Finn Manly taking third and Callum Hughes again in fourth. In the final race it was Callum Hughes who produced his best-ever result, finishing second, with Williams third and Marek Janicki fourth. Overall, it was Dixon from Williams, with Hughes third and Lazarewicz in fourth.
Jake Farrelly is an extremely talented rider, and when he is not racing Moto X he turns to the grass, and he is unbeatable in any class that he has raced in since he started in the Auto. He is now in the 85 small wheel and he took all three race wins with ease from Alex Whearty, with Ethan McEvoy in third.
The highly competitive 65 class produced some cracking races, and it was Lee Heary who took the first race win from Martin Pelaks, with Robijs Depers just behind in third and Reece Lennox fourth. In race two Pelaks rode a cracking race to edge out Depers, with Heary third and Kian Bruton fourth. Heary made a lightning start in the final race and was never headed, with Depers second, Calvin Kelly third and Reese Lennox fourth. Overall it was Heary from Depers, with Pelaks third and Lennox fourth.
There was a great entry in the 85 big wheel class, and it was in-form rider Jake Wall who continued from his treble at the last event when he beat Tom Pierce, Phillip Lennox and Cian Bissett.
In race two Wall was once more to the fore, but on lap three he struck trouble when his back brake seized, and it was Adam Clooney who benefited, taking his first win in a few years, with Cian Bissett second, Tom Pierce third and Phillip Lennox fourth.
Wall was busy in between his races, and he replaced his back brake in time for the final race, which he duly won from Lennox, Pierce and Clooney. Overall, it was Pierce from Lennox, Clooney and Bissett.
The Evo class saw the Whearty brothers, Andrew and Ian, battle it out over the three races, but despite leading all three Ian was caught and passed on the last lap in all three races by his younger brother Andrew who took the three wins. In race one Ian was also passed by Killian Rafter to finish third, with Ciaran Murphy fourth. Overall it was Andrew from Ian, with Ciaran Murphy third and Brian Heffernan fourth.
The Youth 250 had a small field, but there were three cracking races. In race one it was Jason Melia who took the win on the line from Shane Monaghan, with Killian Madden third. Monaghan got his revenge in the next two traces, and overall it was Monaghan from Melia, with Monaghan third.
Tom Garry continued to dominate the Youth 125 class, taking all three wins, with Evan Clarke finishing second in all three, with Cormac third and Jamie Ferguson fourth.
Chris Maypother took the honours in the Grade "B" MX1 class from Peter O'Flaherty, with Killian Rafter third and Sean O'Neill fourth. Jack Whearty took the first and third race wins in the Grade B MX2 class, with Conor O'Neill taking the second race win. Overall it was Whearty from Brendan Ryan, with O'Neill third and Gary Woodruffe fourth.
Andrew Whearty made it five wins from six starts by winning races one and two in the Grade A class, with Wayne Kirwan spoiling the Whearty party by taking the final race from Whearty. Overall it was Whearty from Kirwan, with Eamon O'Reilly third and Enda Mulcahy fourth.
Wayne Kirwan kept up his fine form in the Over-40s class by taking all three race wins. In race one it was Ian Whearty who was second, with David Byrne third and Benny Whearty fourth. In race two David Byrne was second, with Brendan Doyle third and Niall Monaghan fourth.
The final race saw Brendan Doyle squeeze past David Byrne on the last lap to take second, with Ian Whearty fourth. Overall it was Kirwan from Doyle, with Byrne third and Ian Whearty fourth.
The Grade C saw the bragging rights in the Clarke family go to Evan, who took all three race wins from his brother Jordan, who was second in the three.
In race one Conor Gilhooley was third and Gary Scott fourth. Race two saw former Irish Superbike champion Cody Nally finish in third and Darragh Smith fourth.
The final race saw Jason Derham finish third, with Darragh Smith getting the better of a race long duel with Cody Nally. Overall it was Evan Clarke from Jordan Clarke, with Cody Nally third and Conor Gilhooley fourth.
The Clubman class once more provided cracking racing, with the class split into two, odd and even numbers. Ally Kearney took all three wins in the even number race, but there was cracking close racing behind him.
In race one it was Dwayne Long who was second, with Alex Walsh third and Donal Cunningham fourth. Race two saw Brian Hickey take second from Dean Murray and Alex Walsh. In the final race, Long was back in second, with Hickey third and Mark Carey fourth. Overall it was Kearney from Long, with Walsh third and Cunningham fourth.
The first Grade C MX1 race was red-flagged, thankfully with no serious injury. In the restart Ciaran Coyle rode a great race to beat Michael Derham, Adam Corr and Paul Rock. In the second race Adam Corr took the lead, but it was the battle behind between Derham and Coyle that had the crowd cheering, and a brave manoeuvre on the final bend saw Coyle take second behind Corr, with Derham third and Stephen Dixon fourth.
Adam Corr took control of the final race from early on and once more Coyle had to work hard to beat Derham to the line with Sam Doyle fourth. Overall, it was Corr from Coyle, with Derham third and Zane Flaini fourth.
Aidan McGarrity hadn't been racing since the middle of the stubble championship after his bike blew up, and he couldn't get parts for it. He arrived in Duleek with a beautiful Yamaha Twinshock that he brought in from America, and while he battled with Matt Halpin for the first two laps of race one, until Halpin retired with a broken gear selector, McGarrity went on to win easily from James Devlin, with Tom O'Callaghan third and Ian Lowdnes fourth.
Halpin was back in action in race two, but once more McGarrity took the win from Halpin, with James Devlin third and O'Callaghan fourth.
The final race saw Halpin use all his vast experience and, while McGarrity was faster on the downhill section of the track, Halpin was the quickest on the uphill section towards the line. The pair slogged it out for the whole race, but it was the Yamaha of McGarrity who took the win, from Halpin with Devlin third and Grant Lyons fourth. Overall, it was McGarrity from Devlin, with Halpin third and Ollie Hughes fourth.
The Clubman's (odd numbers) wrapped up the proceedings, and again the entertainment was great. In race one it was Jeffrey Harris who took the win from Gary Swann, with Paul McCormack third and Leigh McEvoy fourth.
Race two again saw Harris take the win from McCormack, McEvoy and Swann, but in the final race there was drama when McCormack and Harris, who were chasing Swan, both crashed at the final gate, with Harris able to jump back on and finish second to Swan, with Martin Dunne taking third and McEvoy fourth.
Overall, it was Harris from Swan, with McEvoy third and McCormack fourth.
I haven't felt that cold in a long time, even though the racing was entertaining, but I think for the next event at the start of May, a good hip flask is the answer.
Fair play to all the riders who gave it their all, and especially to the medical team, the marshals and all the volunteers who stood in the cold to provide a day's entertainment.