The Arenacross Tour Pro class is bursting at the seams for 2019, with all former Arenacross champs returning to the AX ring for the all-new, six-round, three-venue, championship.
Arenacross new-signing, multiple French Supercross champ, Greg Aranda, will take the prime Pro rider slot within the Team Green Kawasaki camp. The super-talented Frenchman is a renowned scrapper on the supercross racing circuit, and never one to shy away from a challenge. He’ll be going all out to prove himself and snatch the AX Pro title from compatriot Cedric Soubeyras of FRO Systems; a prospect made all the sweeter by the fact that the two French riders are massively competitive, like-minded in their no-holds-barred approach to racing and determined to be the best. Then … there’s multi Aussie champ and former US supercross top runner Dan Reardon. Once he’d ‘manned-up’ to the UK weather, he showed his formidable mettle at the final round of the 2018 Tour at Wembley; he took a start-to-finish Main Event and vowed he’d be back to lay claim to the Arenacross Pro crown in 2019. His team is yet to be announced but, when it is, it’s a fair bet that it’ll be exceptional.
When the Arenacross Pro class entries went live, all four former Arenacross Pro champs were quick to claim their place on the AX start gate. Reigning champ Soubeyras (Team FRO Systems), three-time Arenacross Pro winner Thomas Ramette (SR75 Suzuki), Fabien Izoird (Shocktech Kawasaki) and the first-ever Arenacross Pro titleholder Adam Chatfield (Wooldridge Demolition) were eager to secure their entries, as were a long list of leading international indoor racing specialists.
The Pros and Pro Lites will run under the banner of Pro Racers, with the top six from each class guaranteed a place in the Arenacross Main Event Super Final. It perhaps isn’t surprising to hear that some canny former Pros such as Cyrille Coulon (SR75) – the one-time leader of the 2018 Pro championship until side-lined due to injury – have elected to ride with the Pro Lites in 2019. The minimum age requirement for the Pro Lites is 18-years, however, there is no upper age restriction and so the 36-year-old Frenchman was quick to spot and embrace, an opportunity that could well see him in that Super Final.
The first team to name its riders and commit to the 2019 Tour was Mark McCann’s FRO System team which, in the hands of Soubeyras, collected the 2018 Pro class title in a nail-biting finale at London’s spectacular Wembley Arena. Soubeyras together with head-to-head hardman and all-round crowd fave Welshman Ashley Greedy, will again pair up in the AX Pro category. Adding another dimension, and nationality, to the FRO camp is 25-year-old German Supercross Champion Nick Thury, who only participated in three rounds of the 2018 Pro championship, but still managed to finish a creditable 11th. Thury will contest the Pro Lites class.
The only three-time Arenacross Pro champ, and 2018 vice-champ, Thomas Ramette, and his winning SR75 Suzuki team return to the arena with the aforementioned Coulon, together with fellow countryman Charles Lefrancois, who shocked Arenacross regulars with a third-place championship finish in 2018, in his first year.
Team Green Kawasaki has an uncompromising championship attack planned for next year’s Arenacross. In addition to Aranda, two Brits complete the Team Green Pro grid with AX stalwart Jack Brunell on a KX450, and current Pro Lites champ Joe Clayton, eager to retain his crown, but looking like he’s got quite a battle on his hands.
Ryan Mason’s Shocktech Kawasaki is fielding its strongest ever team in Arenacross for 2019 with the hard-charging Portuguese Hugo Basuala lining up alongside 2014 AX Pro winner Izoird, and Scooter Webster in the Pro Lites.
The only two all-British teams in the 2019 series will be seeking the support of their home crowd when they get under the Arenacross spotlights. Wooldridge Demolition is again backing Matt Bayliss who will ride with ever-popular Adam Chatfield, the only Brit to have won the AX Pro class, which he did in emphatic style back in 2013. Former British MX champ Elliott Banks-Browne will form an Arenacross partnership with James Dunn under the Geartech Husqvarna mantle and both riders, with their esteemed and huge natural ability, will be itching to get out front and into the AX Main Event Super Final.
The only team riders still to be announced are for Dave Thorpe’s Buildbase Honda squad. ‘DT’ is currently talking to top-line Pros and can be relied upon to spring a few surprises of his own.
The Arenacross racing battleground is set to be intense for 2019 and, with such a wealth of racing talent, it is, as they say, set to go to the wire!
Arenacross Tour tickets are on sale now, with prices from just £12 for a child visitor on Friday evenings and substantial discounts for two-night tickets. Arena doors will open at 6pm, with the opening ceremony getting underway at 7.30pm.
Arenacross Tour dates;
18th January – The SSE Arena, Belfast
19th January – The SSE Arena, Belfast
1st February – The Genting Arena, Birmingham
2nd February – The Genting Arena, Birmingham
15th February – The Fly DSA Arena, Sheffield
16th February – The Fly DSA Arena, Sheffield
Ticket and Arenacross Tour information is available at www.arenacrossuk.com
Words and Pic: AXUK