Tuesday 22 August 2017 09:27:36 PM

Motocross And Charity Work In Ballynahinch
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THE Mourne Motorcycle Club held their fifth annual charity event at the Millbrook Lodge Hotel on Wednesday, June 22nd.

In the first four years of the charity event the Mourne club has raised £30,000 for seven different causes and this year they had chosen two that are close to the heart of every motocross rider. This year the collection was for the British Red Cross and the St Johns Ambulance, two of the most important groups in attendance at all off road events, as they are always on hand to help injured riders.

As it was an evening event, each race lasted for six laps so each class could get three sets of races.

The Grade B class were first to the line and it was Chris Nelson who got the holeshot ahead of Leitrim’s Jonathan Hilland in the first race and the two men stayed in the same positions and  finished in first and second after the  race had to be red flagged on the fifth lap.

In the second race Hilland finished in third position and a bad start in race three left him to fight through the pack to finish in second position. Once the racing was over Claire Woodburn was declared the overall winner of the Grade B quad class, with Hilland in second and Emma Fitzsimmons in third position.

The sidecars were next to the line and the evening’s racing was dominated by the Lisburn pair Neil Campbell, who was the rider, and his passenger Ross Graham. They left the line in second position in race one, but they moved into the lead on the second lap and went on to win the race. Then in races two and three the Lisburn men grabbed the holeshot and went on to win both races, along with the overall honours.

The next class to move onto the line was the Grade A quad class and the spectators were treated to a great night’s racing. At the front of the pack the fight for first place was between Fraser Mulholland, who won race one, David McKay and Mark McLernon, who won races two and three. Overall the honours were taken by McLernon, with Mulholland in second and McKay finishing in third.

Then it was time for the solo machines to take to the track and the first group of Grade C class saw Ballynahinch men Jonathan O’Neill, James Horner and Murray Hayes were out in front of their home crowd.

It was O’Neill who took the local honours taking two 3rd positions and a 2nd, as Horner took two 5th positions and a 7th and Hayes came home in 13th, 18th and 19th position finishes. The winner of the group was Rodney Dugan and O’Neill’s great finishes earned him second overall.

The star of the second Grade C class was Rathfriland man Bobby Watts as he won all three races and the overall honours. Kilmore’s Adrian Douglas was more unfortunate after he came home in 4th and 6th in races one and two, his third race ended on the second lap.

In the final Grade C class Annacloy’s Matthew King and Carryduff man Keith Conway both earned a share of the honours. In the first race King left the line at the front of the pack and at the halfway stage of the race he moved into second and held in to the line. Conway had started mid-pack, but at the half-way stage he had moved into third position behind King and he held his position to the line.

The second race was King’s as he grabbed the holeshot and after a great race he took the win. Conway had another unlucky start, getting away at the back of the pack, and he came home in seventh position. King left the line in first position again in the last race, but with two laps to go Jamie Sloan took the lead and left King to come home in second position.

Conway had enjoyed a better start at the front of the pack and came home in third position. At the end of their great night’s racing King had earned the overall honours, with Darren McInness in second and Conway finished in third position overall.

The final group on the line, the combined Grade A and Grade B class, offered the spectators to watch Newtownards man Tommy Merton and Banbridge’s David Gorman racing for first position. In the first race Gorman moved into the lead on lap two before winning the race, as Merton started the race in sixth position and coming home in second position. Gorman got away in first in race two and held the lead for one lap, before Merton moved into first and led the pack home.

It was Gorman who got away in first again in the final race and he led up to the halfway stage when Merton took first and then the chequered flag. With racing over the overall Grade A winner was Tommy Merton, with 2nd 1st and 1st, David Gorman finished in second, with 1st, 2nd and 2nd, and Temple man Richard Watt was third with 3rd, 3rd and 5th position finishes.

Although they had been in the same class for the races there were separate prizes for the Grade B riders. The overall winner for the Grade B class was Comber man Gareth White, with 6th, 5th and 8th, Killinchy’s Paul McMinn was second, with 7th, 6th, and David Russell from Killinchy finished in third after he came home in 8th, 10th and 4th positions.