Will 2018 be the year that Martin Barr finally gets his hands on the Maxxis ACU British MX2 Championship?
The 30-year-old Irishman – who kicks off his campaign at Lyng on March 11 – was on great form at the recent Hawkstone International, chasing reigning world champion Pauls Jonass for the full duration of the opening moto and his move to the REVO Husqvarna UK team clearly suits him.
“I’m feeling really good,” said Martin, who was runner-up in 2017 for Buildbase Honda. “It’s a new bike and a new team for me and everyone’s been working really hard. Hawkstone went pretty good – to finish second in the first race behind the world champion was an absolutely fantastic start for me.
“Unfortunately, in the second race I had a little slip which mucked up an overall podium but looking at the bigger picture I came away knowing my pace is good so I’m more than happy.”
A lot is made of the differences between European and Japanese machinery but Martin’s wealth of experience means he’s gelled quickly with his new race bike.
“Adapting to the Husqvarna hasn’t been too bad for me. Obviously, I’ve been about for quite a few years and have ridden bikes from a few different manufacturers. With Scott [Gardner] from Planet Suspension doing my stuff it kinda worked out pretty good straight away and I felt comfortable – he knows what I like and the way I like it – so switching bikes has been relatively easy.
“The team is brilliant. They’ve had us here, there and everywhere and made sure we’ve had the right preparation for the season so a big thanks to them and my mechanic Dan and everybody around me. We all have that one goal at the end of the year and we’re all working hard towards it.”
He’ll be competing against some riders who are almost half his age but the prospect of being the class veteran doesn’t bother him.
“I’m the old boy in the class but I’m probably feeling the best I’ve ever felt. My fitness, my mental strength – everything is clicking in at the minute. A lot of the young kids do get a bit wild at times but I’ll be using my experience to try and be there or thereabouts every weekend – at the end of the day age is only a number, it’s how you feel in yourself and I’m feeling really good.
“If I’m winning races I’ll just let that sort the championship out, if not I want to be as close to the front as I can and try and win the championship on my bad days. It’s going to be a tough year but it’s one I’m really looking forward to.”
Picture © Nuno Laranjeira