Desertmartin in Northern Ireland was the setting for the penultimate round of the Red Bull Pro Nationals this past weekend. For Boost Energy KTM’s Martin Barr, this was a special occasion as Desertmartin is a track he practically grew up with, and he celebrated his birthday on the eve of the race.
For Barr, the day could not have gone any better. Qualifying in first by over two seconds over team mate Nathan Parker, he then proceeded to dominate the first race with a stunner of a holeshot. After building a substantial lead in the first few laps, he was able to cruise to victory over championship leader Brad Anderson in second and Gert Krestinov in third.
The second race went off without a hitch again, again starting with a holeshot. Anderson was right on his rear wheel in the first few laps, but Barr gradually pulled away. With rain pouring from the heavens and with sand in his goggle mechanism Barr’s pace dropped, but the confidence gained in the first race win showed as he played it smart, keeping the muddy goggles on as long as possible, aware that this careful approach would let his rival creep ever closer. Eventually, the goggles ditched, Barr sped up again and pulled away, streaking across the finish line in first again for the overall win.
Parker’s day started off very well with a second place in qualifying, but in the first race, whilst running in fourth place, things took a turn for the worse. A bad landing after a step-up launched him face-first into the banking, tweaking his neck yet again and skinning his knuckles on the bike. After dusting himself off, Parker remounted mid-pack and after a couple of slow laps to regain his composure he put the hammer down and was the quickest rider on the track in the middle of the race, fighting his way through to fifth place in his class by the chequered flag.
The second race saw Parker take a more cautious approach to protect his position in third behind Barr and Anderson. As the rain made things exceedingly difficult for riders throughout, Parker built up a substantial lead over the pack of rivals behind him. Although third across the finish line, he had to make do with a fourth overall on the day, pipped to the post by Krestinov.
Steve Turner, team principal, commented: “It was a great result for Martin today; a good weekend with the fastest qualifying and a holeshot in both races. He cleared off in the first one, in the second came under pressure from Brad in the middle of the race but held him off and won again. It is fantastic for him on his own track on his birthday, simply superb.
“A shame for Nathan, really. He qualified second and in the first race looked pretty comfortable, was sitting in fourth and then went down big. To be fair to him, he got back up, dusted himself off, and rode through another load of pain to get back to fifth. In the second race he had a reasonable start, came through to third, and had a comfortable race there. He ended fourth overall and missed out on the podium. But, not a bad race for him, so all in all the team had a pretty good weekend!”
Nathan Parker: “Today went pretty good, in qualifying Martin and I went 1-2. I felt good and went faster and faster throughout qualifying. For the first race I felt comfortable, I had a decent start, then had a big crash and hurt my neck again, then sort-of nursed it around, caught back up from being way down to fifth and kept some points. For the second race I had an all-right start, not the best but still in the top five, caught a couple of riders and was in third. With Martin and Brad on their own in front, I had a massive gap behind me so I just kept it on two wheels when the rain came down. So, a good day.”
Martin Barr: “Today went perfect! I was quickest in qualifying by 2.3 seconds, got the holeshot and just put the hammer down, got that bit of a gap and pulled away. In the second race I got another holeshot, started to pull away and then around two-thirds through my goggles stuck, and I tried to hold onto them for as long as I could before I whipped them off. Brad caught right up with me, but once I got them off I started pulling away again, so, really good. Went 1-1-1 today, I just want to keep that up now for the rest of the season and prove that I can beat Brad. At the British championship I should’ve won here but I learned a lot from that round and put that to good use today. I’m happy enough with that. With my birthday yesterday it was a good present!”