The Maxxis British Championship gets underway at Fatcat this weekend and the MX2 class welcomes a few fast GP riders to the series which makes it extra exciting.
There’s no better place to start than last year’s champion, Conrad Mewse. The Hitachi KTM UK rider was very impressive last year as he won nine moto’s out of a possible fourteen to win the championship in style. Now he has the title to his name he’ll look to make it two on the bounce. He looked pretty incredible last year on home soil and without the GP pressure he can ride freely. He could take some stopping again in 2019.
The Dutch riders have a reputation for their speed in the sand and Bas Vaessen who joins Mewse under the Hitachi KTM awning will be looking to show that. Vaessen makes the move from Honda to KTM and already seems comfortable on the orange machine.
“I was a bit anxious because I’ve always ridden on Japanese bikes since I’ve rode a 250 but I immediately felt at home with the chassis and the engine feels really comfortable and the power feels good to handle and work with”, Vaessen commented. The disadvantage Vaessen might have is learning the tracks all on one day but he’s fast in sand so don’t rule him out.
He might have been born in the UK but at the age of three, Dylan Walsh immigrated to New Zealand. Two years ago, Walsh made a return to Europe and contested the EMX250 series. He’s showed a lot of improvement since then and because of that the Revo Husqvarna team have given him a shot at the MX2 World Championship in 2019. Signing with the British team means he’ll also contest the British series.
It’s pretty cool that Walsh finally gets to ride the British Championship after being born in London he can finally ride the tracks in his home country. Walsh has showed a lot of speed in the past few years, if he can keep it on two wheels he should be right at the sharp end. “There’s not so much pressure (racing the British series) but they (Revo Husqvarna) know and I know that I’m there to win it. My main focus is obviously the GP’s but every weekend I will be going there to try and battle for the wins most weekends”, Walsh revealed.
Joining Walsh under the Revo Husqvarna team will be, Alvin Ostlund. The Swede was a late signing for the team, when Youthstream enforced an U23 age rule in the EMX250 series it meant they let go off Pocock and decided to have two MX2 World Championship riders.
Ostlund is another rider that excels in the sand and has plenty of top ten MX2 World Championship results in the sand so he’ll be looking to run at the sharp end in the British series.
After finishing second in the series in 2017, Martin Barr wanted more last year but with some bad luck and injuries it wasn’t the best of years. The Irish rider has moved from the Revo Husqvarna team to the Crescent Yamaha setup.
Being one of the more experienced riders in the class and one of the fastest, Barr should be right at the front. He’ll be motivated to show the new blood in the class that he’s no slouch.
Last year was a breakout year for Buildbase Honda’s, Josh Gilbert as he had a really good season and showed great speed. Working with Dave Thorpe seems to have really got the best out of him and he ended up finishing second in the championship only fifteen points behind Mewse.
The young Brit will have been working hard over winter because after finishing second he’ll want to go one better in 2019. Don’t rule him out as he should be even stronger during the season ahead.
Perhaps a little under rated, Liam Knight could be one to watch out for. He finished fourth in the series last year and has inked a deal with the Verde KTM team for 2019. He’s not one to be forgotten about because on his day he’s shown he can run right at the front.
Making the move to Yamaha for 2019 is Josh Spinks. After a really good 2018 standing on the EMX250 podium and finishing sixth in the MX2 British Championship he’ll be looking for more this year. It’ll be interesting to see how he adapts to the Yamaha from the KTM.
Add in the likes of Alexander Brown, Carlton Husband, Adam Collings and Taylor Hammal – it’s set to be a competitive series.
Let’s not forget about the other Irish riders too – Glenn McCormick, James Mackrel and Jake Sheridan will all be motivated to break into the top ten.
Words: Andy McKinstry
Pic: Scott Dunne