Loughbrickland’s Jason Meara only made his Arenacross debut last January in Belfast but despite tackling the event for the first time, he excelled with a stunning ride to fourth place.
The 2018 Arenacross Tour will roar into life again in January at the SSE Arena in Belfast with the only double-header in the series from January 26-27 and Meara, a tiler by trade, is aiming to put the valuable experienced he gained at the start of this year to good use.
“It was a bit sketchy, but I still finished fourth, so it can’t have been that bad,” said Meara, who simply turned up and signed on without any crew and no-one to mentor him.
He then went on to contest the full series and soon earned the respect of the crowds for his gutsy, never-give-up style of racing.
Meara amazingly survived a massive off at Birmingham, just one weekend before Belfast.
However, nothing was going to keep the 20-year-old from racing in front of his home crowd.
“It was amazing racing in front of friends and family and to have so much local support, it’s just something you can’t explain,” said Meara.
“Getting fourth overall last in the 2017 championship was okay, but I’m returning to Arenacross with one focus, and that’s to win the Pro Lites class.
“And, with IFly JK Yamaha Team behind me, a new bike that I absolutely love, and Aussie Supercross ace Dan Reardon as a team-mate, things are looking good.”
Meanwhile, eight-year-old Jack Belton from Donaghadee will enter the arena for the first time as a wild card rider for the Belfast rounds.
An ardent fan of Arenacross, Jack was inspired to enter the 2018 Tour because of his uncle, Jeff Wright, himself a former racer. Jeff has been the motivation behind Jack’s racing career, mentoring him and taking him to race meetings but sadly, despite only being in his late forties, he was recently diagnosed with Motor Neurone disease.
Jack wants to give something back to his uncle for his unwavering support by, ‘doing something really big!’
His uncle and grandfather will support him in the pits, whilst his family and friends will be cheering the Bangor Grammar student on.
The high-energy Arenacross nights have widespread appeal with pre-school youngsters, right through to the elders of their family, all enjoying music, lights and a pyrotechnic opening show, prior to a ceremonious presentation of the riders.
Then it’s straight into the exhilarating fast-paced indoor race action where anything goes.
The classes cater for mini-racers from the age of seven-years on 65cc bikes, Superminis 10 to 15, Pro Lites 15 to 23 and then Pros – professional motocross racers from around the globe. Arenacross is unique in that it attracts a bevy of international racers at the very top of their game, to come and contest the only indoor British Motocross Championship.
Nationalities include French, Italian, German, Russian, Dutch, Finnish, Australian and, of course, British. Once the start gate drops, the atmosphere is set to be electrifying as these guys take no prisoners.
Complementing the racing will be three Freestyle motocross shows featuring a team of former Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalists.
Tickets are now on sale, with child prices from £16, adults from £27 and family tickets from £78. Visit www.arenacrossuk.com or call the Box Office on 028 9073 9074.