Andy McKinstry: Racing the MX2 World Championship and the EMX250 series is never easy but things are looking good for the Brits this year in both championships.
In MX2, Ben Watson finally got a move to a factory team in the form of the Kemea Yamaha team. I was really happy for him when he signed the deal because I’d always wanted him to get the chance in a big team which is now exactly what he’s got. After three rounds this year, Watson hasn’t disappointing either. Currently he sits sixth in the championship after bad starts cost him in Redsand but his speed was good. After just missing the podium at round one he’ll want a podium soon and it might just be around the corner.
As for Conrad Mewse, he was with the Factory Husqvarna setup last year but moved to the Hitachi KTM UK team for this season with some factory support. Honestly, I think that’s a great move for the Brit as the team always get the best out of their riders. The team has a good atmosphere which I feel will help Mewse. Believe it or not, Mewse and Watson both have exactly eighty-one championship points after three rounds, nothing to separate them. There’s no doubting that Mewse was a super talent on the 65cc and 85cc, the 125cc just never seemed to really suit him for whatever reason but we are starting to see some of his potential again this year. The one thing I’d say regarding Mewse is if he gets a good start he has no problem holding the pace but at times he can struggle to come up through the pack with a bad start, that should be an area he looks to improve in.
Last but not least, Adam Sterry who’s with the F&H Kawasaki team. Unfortunately, Sterry injured his thumb before the season and he’s been playing catch up ever since. Having said that he’s shown some good speed and I’d say he belongs in the top ten so he’ll be hoping to end up there by the end of the season. After last season’s injury it’s important for him to stay fully fit through the entire season.
As for the EMX250 Championship, there’s three Brits in the top six of the series after round one, Mel Pocock (3rd), Martin Barr (4th) and Steven Clarke (6th). Experience definitely helps them against the young guns and I wouldn’t bet against one of them winning the series, Pocock and Clarke have already done so don’t forget.
After coming through the LCQ, Josh Spinks also had a good weekend finishing thirteenth overall. He has that in him but it’s important to get a good start in that series as it’s so stacked, it remains to be seen if he’ll contest the entire series. James Dunn and Liam Knight also picked up points in a moto each, Dunn will hope for more especially after winning a round last year so expect him to improve.
Brad Todd is currently injured but when he returns to racing he might be one to look out for on his I-Fly JK Yamaha, he has speed!
Jonathan McCready: For a while it looked like British motocross was in a bit of a cul-de-sac. A dwindling amount of GP teams limited the opportunity for young riders to test themselves at the highest level and while the level of the British championship was still high, no-one outside the UK seemed to care or pay any attention but thankfully things appear to have changed.
Ben Watson and Adam Sterry have fought against the odds and became top ten GP regulars and now we have Conrad Mewse who came via the European route having raced in Holland and the EMX youth divisions, showing his considerable potential in MX2 and ready to content his first full British championship.
Maybe in part thanks to the vision of Mewse and his family, as well as the success for the EMX series, young Brits are now putting themselves back in the shop window, 14 British riders contested the EMX250 last weekend and it was a Brit that won both races, and for race winners Mel Pocock and Martin Barr, it is a great way to get their names back on the international stage.
The reality is that to increase your chances of getting a GP ride you have to go through the EMX system now to grab the GP teams attention and even in the EMX125 class there is now a good British contingent including Eddie Jay Wade, Joel Rizzi and Sam Nunn. The more competition they have the better the quality of their riding.
Now as the British championship starts this weekend, the success at GP and European level seems to have reinvigorated the national championship, the pathway is back, that British title should prove more valuable to both rider and teams in the UK and beyond, now that their speed is being proven at EMX and GP level.