2020 British Championship: MX1 Preview – Fast at the front!
Heading into the 2020 British Championship which gets underway at Little Silver this weekend the MX1 class is going to be very fast at the front with a number of new additions in the class.
There’s no better place to start than with last years British Champion, Tommy Searle who has switched from Kawasaki to the Buildbase Honda machinery for the season ahead. Dave Thorpe runs a great team and the bike is really good, it’ll be the best bike Searle has got his hands on in a number of years. The Brit will fully focus on the British Championship this year after stepping away from MXGP so he’ll be all out to grab that title again this year. With the package Searle has for the 2020 season he might just take some stopping.
Things could have turned out different for Shaun Simpson last year if it wasn’t for that double DNF at Desertmartin down to bike issues. That’s what cost the Scot the title but he’ll be looking to go one better this year and grab that title back. It’s been a hectic winter for Simpson as he’s started up his own team which is stressful off the track but on the track he’s looking as good as ever. During the opening two rounds of MXGP, Simpson has battled with the worlds best and finished fourth in the second moto at Valkenswaard – impressive! Running his own team Simpson should be more comfortable on the bike as he can do exactly as he pleases so it should be a good campaign for the Scot.
Last year was a break out season for Jake Millward who had always showed flashes of his speed but last year on the 450cc he was able to put it all together for a great season. Millward will contest European rounds of the MXGP World Championship which will help make him a better all round rider. After finishing third in the British Championship last year, the Chambers Husqvarna rider will be looking for something similar in 2020.
You can never count out the underrated Harri Kullas. The Finn rider has plenty of experience racing in the British paddock and as most the tracks are sandy, he suits them well. Kullas seems to have found a team in the Cab Screens Honda team that he’s comfortable at and he’s never far away from the front. There’s no doubt Kullas will be looking for plenty of podiums throughout the course of the season.
It hasn’t been easy for Jake Nicholls as he’s had a number of injuries over the years and it hurt him again last year but it’ll be nice to see him back in the British paddock in 2020. Nicholls isn’t getting any younger so perhaps he’ll come back with a different mindset and just enjoy the season. Hopefully he can stay injury free and it won’t be long until he’s right at the sharp end.
A former British Champion in Evgeny Bobryshev is back in the British paddock this year after signing with the PAR Homes RFX Husqvarna team. The tough Russian pretty much missed all of last year after picking up an injury but is already showing signs of a good comeback. Bobryshev finished ninth in the second moto at Valkenswaard which is impressive in such a stacked field. The Russian rider shouldn’t be too far of the front and will use the British Championship to gain confidence – there’s no better way to do that than grabbing some race wins which he’s truly capable off.
Belgian talent, Brent van Doninck has been in the GP paddock since the age of 16 years old but this year he’ll fully be focusing on the British Championship after signing with the ASA United Husqvarna team. Van Doninck had a good MX2 World Championship career but you feel with his stature he will suit the 450cc much more and with the sandy tracks on the British calendar, he shouldn’t take too long to adjust to the British series and tracks.
Making the move up from the MX2 class is Martin Barr who’s raced the 450cc in the past but decided to race the MX2 class the past few years. Moving up to the MX1 class will offer new motivation for Barr who will be eager to run with the MXGP World Championship riders. Like Simpson, Barr will race for his own race team this year so can do what he pleases with the bike. Barr has a great technique so it’s going to nice watching him race the bigger bike once again.
Injuries haven’t always been kind to Elliot Banks-Browne but when he’s fully fit there’s no doubting his speed. For the season ahead, Banks-Browne stays with the Geartec team but they’ve decided to switch to Honda machinery. It’ll be interesting to see how ‘EBB’ adapts to the red machine.
A number of other riders who shouldn’t be ruled out as they’re capable of running at the front are Mel Pocock, Brad Todd, Dan Thornhill, Liam Knight, Josh Spinks, Stuart Edmonds and Jason Meara – the field is looking the most stacked it has in years.
Article: Andy McKinstry
Main pic: Adam Duckworth