The Arenacross Tour burst into action today at The SSE Arena, Belfast with opening practice and qualifying sessions for all groups, followed by the first set of races of the 2019 season.
Reigning AX Pro champion Soubeyras (FRO Systems) set out his stall in the Pro Lites class, going quickest in practice, setting the fastest qualifying time in both sessions and securing first gate pick for this evening’s two Main Events. A position he’ll be eager to carry through to show’s climax; The Main Event Super Final. Julien Lebeau (Wooldridge Demolition) Valentin Teillet (SR75 Suzuki) and Adrien Escoffier (Buildbase Honda) were also in the mix, whilst the 2018 Pro Lites champion Joe Clayton (Team Green Kawasaki) kept on the pace to finish fifth.
In the Pro 450 class, Nique Thury (FRO Systems) went well in practice and qualified second behind new-to-AX Greg Aranda (Team Green Kawasaki). Thury’s team-mate Ashley Greedy showed good form to post third fastest qualifying less than half a second off the leading rider.
1. Cedric Soubeyras, FRO Systems, Husqvarna, 21.758
2. Julien Lebeau, Wooldridge Demolition, Honda, 21.968
3. Adrien Escoffier, Buildbase Honda, 22.057
4. Valentin Teillet, SR75 Suzuki, 22.060
5. Joe Clayton, Team Green Kawasaki, 22.725
6. Diogo Graca, Castrol Suzuki MBC, 22.887
1. Greg Aranda, Team Green Kawasaki, 21.787
2. Nique Thury, FRO Systems, Honda, 22.097
3. Ashley Greedy, FRO Systems, Honda, 22.165
4. Fabien Izoird, Shocktech Kawasaki, 22.274
5. Charles Lefrancois, SR75 Suzuki, 22.323
6. Adam Chatfield, Buildbase Honda, 22.348
In the unique-to-Belfast All-Ireland Cup, 21-year-old James Mackrel from Dundonald, who is recovering from breaking four ribs just three weeks ago, was dominant cleaning up in practice, qualifying and winning race one by a solid margin ahead of Lindsay Newell. Cameron Turley rounded out the top three. The 250 and 450 classes were combined for this group.
All-Ireland Race 1
1. James Mackrel, MX2, Yamaha, 15 points
2. Lindsay Newell, KTM, MX1, 15 points
3. Cameron Turley, Husqvarna, MX2, 13 points
Ben Clayton won the Rookie race by 1.84 seconds ahead of Josh Greedy, with Clayton’s FRO Systems team-mate Carl Osterman in third.
Rookie Race 1
1. Ben Clayton, Team Green Kawasaki, 15 points
2. Josh Greedy, FRO Systems, 13 points
3. Carl Osterman, FRO Systems, 11 points
The first-ever single-make Arenacross series welcomed a group of fast-paced youth riders, all evenly paced and identically clad. Arenacross-regular Raife Broadley went well in the early sessions, but Alife Jones in his debut Arenacross season soon got to grips with the technically-challenging track to set fastest second-qualification time and take the first race win.
Team Green Supermini Cup Race 1
1. Alfie Jones, 15 points
2. Raife Broadley, 13 points
3. Ethan Sills, 11 points
The youngest group in Arenacross caters for riders from the ages of seven to 10. There are a number of novice riders trying their luck for 2018 and all 15 starters finished. Zane Stephens, Freddie Bartlett and Ben Casey all showed their Arenacross pedigree out at the front, with local lads Cole and Robbie McCullough and Lewis Spratt taking well-deserved top ten positions, in fifth, sixth and seventh.
Youth 65cc Cup Race 1
1. Zane Stephens, 15 points
2. Freddie Bartlett, 13 points
3. Ben Casey, 11 points
This evening’s crammed programme of racing and entertainment will start in earnest at 7.30pm with an opening ceremony and FMX display. Prior to that Arenacross fans can try out the very latest Monster Energy Supercross Official Video Game 2 or, for those aged 18 and over, can study the Pro and Pro Lites form and enjoy a little race night flutter by downloading the Pitstop Betting App.
Arenacross Tour tickets for The SSE Arena, Belfast, are available directly from the Arena Box Office on 028 9073 9074 or on the door.
Main picture: Buildbase Honda’s Adrien Escoffier with Wooldridge Demolition’s Julien Lebeau