The 2019 Tour will be at The SSE Arena, Belfast on Friday 18th and Saturday 19th January for two nights of ultra-competitive motocross racing, with world-class and homegrown talent battling their hearts out.
Above the arena floor – some 60-foot high – a bunch of the craziest Freestyle motocross athletes will thrill and delight the crowd with their incredible skills as they whip and flip both man and machine through a series of unbelievable tricks.
Arenacross isn’t just indoor motocross though, it’s an entire night of choreographed entertainment that includes a great sound track, pyro, lasers and live screen back-stage action. AX fans can expect bigger and better from the 2019 Tour as they can win bikes, catch some giveaways, bet on riders, grab an autograph, get to meet the stars, walk the course and go back stage too.
The double-header at The SSE Arena will be unique in that it is the only stop of the Tour to cater for a huge number of local riders. To this end, it will host the All-Ireland Cup on both Friday and Saturday evening. The Cup will see the best motocross racers, from the leading Irish Motocross Championships, go head-to-head in bar-bashing fashion, in a series of short and sharp races to crown the inaugural 2019 All-Ireland Arenacross Champion.
There’ll be plenty more for a partisan crowd to cheer, as Martin Barr, from Ballyclare, arguably one of the fastest motocross racers to come out of Northern Ireland, will contest the full six-round 250cc Pro Lites championship, as will 23-year-old Glenn McCormick from Larne.
On the youth front, 14-year-old Drew McCreanor from County Armagh was one rider, from among one hundred young hopefuls, lucky enough to be selected for the first-ever Team Green Supermini Cup. He will join 11 other youngsters in their quest to be crowned the 2019 champ, and will be relying on the support of the Belfast superfans to lift him all the way to the podium.
Belfast is also unique in that it will make history when twin racers from Ballymena take to the Arenacross dirt. Ten-year-old brothers Cole and Robbie McCullough will be bursting with pride when they put their mini 65cc machines through their paces – it’s a safe bet that there’ll barely be a dry eye in the audience when they get introduced to the crowd.
World Superbike Champion Jonathan Rea is backing the Tour’s Arenacross for Schools innovative initiative in the week leading up to the opening round at Belfast. Wednesday the 16th of January 2019 will see 200 primary school pupils attend an interactive field-day at The SSE Arena and adjoining W5 Science and Discovery Centre.
The purpose of the day is to take children safely through the stages of the creation of a world-class event such as Arenacross. On the day in question, thousands of tons of dirt will be delivered into the venue, in readiness for the construction and production crew to work their magic in turning a pristine concert and ballroom dancing amphitheatre into a full-on dirt-filled race track.
The youngsters will discover the backroom secrets of staging an event of such magnitude. They’ll get to witness the considerable manual and technical labour involved, talk to the digger drivers, sound and light technicians, as well as meeting several racers, FMX athletes, and Arenacross supporters. Rea will speak to the assembled schoolchildren, and share insights into his aspirational journey, he’ll be joined by other Northern Irish big-hitters such as British and World motocross contenders Graeme Irwin and Martin Barr together with a bevy of local racing talent. The children and their parents will then be given the opportunity to attend the weekend’s event itself.
Joanthan Rae, the first rider ever to win four World Superbike titles in succession – rejuvenated motorcycle racing when he took the runners-up slot in the 2017 BBC Sports Personality of the Year. In that same year, his notable success was recognised at the highest level when he was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), in the 2017 Birthday Honours, for services to motorcycle racing.
The local hero cut his teeth in the dirt, winning the British 60cc motocross championship in 1997. He moved through the ranks of motocross, before switching to road racing in 2003. He’s massively family-orientated – married to Tatia with two sons; Jake and Tyler – which makes an event such as Arenacross, and this unique Arenacross for Schools resonate deeply with the 31-year-old.
Commenting on the boost Rea’s involvement will deliver to Areancross, ASL’s CEO, Matt Bates said: “I always remember the early days of Supercross at the (then) Odyssey Arena when in the early ‘two-thousands’ when Gordon Crockard lifted the roof by winning the event and firmly putting indoor Motocross on the map for Northern Ireland. But one of the other highlights for me was the emergence of a young rider called Jonathan Rea in the Rookie class who took the win in front of his home crowd and an endless list of today’s Grand Prix motocross winners.
“Jonathan was the real deal and I firmly believe that if he’d have chosen dirt as his career, he may well have been just as successful. It’s an honour to have him support us at Arenacross and can’t thank him enough for getting involved with our young riders and local schools project.”
Arenacross Tour tickets are on sale now, with prices from just £12 for a child visitor on Friday evenings, and substantial discounts available for two-night tickets. Arena doors will open at 6pm, with the opening ceremony getting underway at 7.30pm.
For the latest news and to secure the best seats, or book an Arenacross Racenight VIP Experience, go to arenacrossuk.com.
Northern Ireland Travel News have teamed up with Arenacross to offer a pair of adult tickets to the Saturday evening show on the 19th of January – enter HERE.