Gatedrop takes a look at who could do the business this year in the British championship as the series finally kicks off this Sunday at Hilton Park.
There should be some fantastic racing and all predictions below have the potential to go very wrong!
Jonathan McCready: With all the focus on MXGP this year it’s easy to forget that the British Championship has a pretty talented line up of riders in both classes too! MX1 has the addition of Frossard and Tanel Leok from last year while Kristian Whatley has been strong on the Honda in pre-season.
In MX2 Max Anstie should add some real glamour to the series but Mel Pocock will be wanting to reclaim the British crown in the absence of the injured defending championship Matiss Karro. The young guns of Adam Sterry and Ben Watson will also be going to their first major title if the their careers. Anstie probably would be the favourite except for his injury but Pocock, Sterry and Watson should push him hard even when he comes back. Watson though will have to juggle 18 GPs and 8 British championships rounds which could make it tought to being his best form every weekend. His teammate Petar Petrov could be a title threat too!
Bryan MacKenzie and Nev Bradshaw should be in there too battling for top fives. Steven Lenoir was a serious contender last season and he should be in contention for the title too while British championship debutante Harri Kullas should put his GP experience to good use and be there or thereabouts in the top five for the championship. This class is full of potential top three contenders!
I find it hard to go past Shaun Simpson in MX1 to defend his title especially with the majority of rounds in sand. Frossard will be super quick but isn’t always the most consistent and racing the British riders on tracks they know is never easy. It’s a shame Jake Nicholls got injured as he should have been up there too. But I will go slightly bias and put Graeme Irwin in third. It’s time for Irwin to do some damage and he is coming into the prime if his career where he has to perform.
Kristian Whatley should be in the hunt too but the sand tracks usually aren’t his favourite while Tanel Leok and Brad Anderson have maybe seen the end of their best days, but on form should be a force to be reckoned with. Martin Barr could surprise too, he loves the sand and finished runner-up in the series on the 350 KTM the last time he was on one. Barr could be the dark horse in the championship.
Top five MX1
1. Shaun Simpson
2. Steven Frossard
3. Graeme Irwin
4. Jake Nicholls
5. Martin Barr
Top five MX2
1. Mel Pocock
2. Max Anstie
3. Petar Petrov
4. Harri Kullas
5. Ben Watson
Andrew McKinstry: As there are a lot of sand races in the British it clearly favours Shaun Simpson and max Anstie so I think they will both be champions come the end of the season. I am excited to see Steven Frossard racing the series and I couldn’t honestly see him pick up more moto wins than Shaun but could also see him crashing a lot more and a more dnf’s, Shaun will be very solid and consistent.
Jack Nicholls will be back soon and he will definitely be able to challenge those guys and win races. Kristian Whatley looked awesome in the Italian championship, he will consistently on the podium I think, its a real shame he doesn’t do GP’s! Everyone is expecting those guys to be the main four but I feel like Graeme Irwin could be the surprise of the class, like Whatley he will be getting a lot of podiums!
In mx2 I think Anstie will talk away with the championship, he loves the sand and the best rider in the class. However the battle for second place will be interesting. Ben Watson will be good this season but isn’t 100% for the first round so that will hinder him. His team mate Petar Petrov is doing the series for the first time but he’s also fast in the sand so will get plenty of podiums. Past British champion, mel pocock will be up there too as well as adam Sterry, harri Kullas and steven clarke.. Mx2 is the best its been in a while!
Top five MX1:
Top five MX2
Paul McCready: In MX1 I can’t see anything other than the reigning champion Simpson and Frossard fighting for this championship! These two were fighting for 5th in the world championship last year and will be fighting again in 2015, but I will take Shaun’s consistency and knowledge of the tracks to edge Frossard in this championship. Behind them will be Whatley and Irwin, which I reckon is the most talented rider verses the most determined. The last spot in my top five is Martin Barr, plagued by injuries the past couple of seasons surely he is due a healthy one this year. Nichols will be quick when he returns but in a short championship missing even one round I fear will be too costly.
Mx2 is anyones guess really, Pocock has been champion before and had a great result in the MXGP of Thailand so I am going with him for the Championship. Obviously Max Anstie is down to do the championship and has GP winning speed but I really can’t see him committing to it fully. After that I really don’t know how to choose, any of the names I have in the top 5 can win races aswell as McKenzie and Bradshaw who have been consistent challengers for the MX2 crown for a number of years now.
Top five MX1:
Top five MX2