Following a very positive off-season that consisted of many steps in the right direction, the 2020 ACU British Motocross Championship will fire into life at the popular circuit of Little Silver in Exeter this weekend. There is so much to unpack and dissect as round one of eight approaches, as the MX1 and MX2 classes are stacked with talent. It will truly be one heck of a fight at the head of the field.
Tommy Searle (Buildbase Honda) enters the 2020 ACU British Championship as the defending champ, after a hard-fought battle with Shaun Simpson (SS24 KTM). The top-two finishers from a season ago are the most decorated riders in the premier class – Searle enters with 35 race wins to his name in the MXGB series and Simpson has 62. Yet another former champion will return to the fold this term though, as Evgeny Bobryshev has linked up with the PAR Homes RFX Husqvarna team to make a run at his third MXGB title. It is extremely difficult to pick a winner out of those three, who have all found success on the world stage as well.
Brent Van Doninck (ASA United Husqvarna) is new to the ACU British Championship and the 450F. Although he has been overlooked in recent weeks, he has quietly put in solid rides at pre-season races and could be a surprise package right out of the gate. He too has stood up on the podium in the Grand Prix series in the past, so his skillset cannot be called into question. Jake Nicholls (Buildbase Honda) is another rider to watch out for, as he goes into the new campaign with redemption on his mind and Elliott Banks-Browne (Geartec Honda) is in a similar position aboard his new CRF450R.
Honda actually enter with a formidable line-up of riders in the premier division, as Harri Kullas (Cab Screens Deos Honda) could also be an underdog in the race for the championship. Mel Pocock (MSR Redline Honda) will be aiming to make a leap towards the top of the box on his new steed as well. Jake Millward (Chambers Racing Husqvarna) hit new heights as a premier-class rookie a year ago, and Lewis Tombs (Verde Substance KTM) was just as much of a surprise in what turned out to be a successful term. The MX1 class will truly be one of the most competitive fights in recent memory.
Injuries have plagued the MX2 class over the last twelve months, so there are plenty of riders who will have a point to prove over the course of the 2020 ACU British Motocross Championship. Conrad Mewse (Hitachi KTM fuelled by Milwaukee) will strive to get his second MX2 title. There will be fierce competition from his teammate, Bas Vaessen (Hitachi KTM fuelled by Milwaukee), who made a statement just last week by going for a podium finish on the world stage. Those KTM guys were the class of the field before injuries struck a year ago.
After claiming his first MX2 win last season, Josh Gilbert (PAR Homes RFX Husqvarna) could be on the verge of making another step up in his career. Steven Clarke (Buildbase Honda) will return to the domestic scene for the first time since he narrowly missed out on the MX2 title four years ago, and it seems as though the number-one plate is the only thing that will leave him satisfied. Brad Anderson (Verde Substance KTM) has stepped down to the MX2 division aboard a two-stroke, taking advantage of a rule change, and could shake things up as well.
Carlton Husband (Phoenix Tools Apico Kawasaki), Lewis Hall (Kawasaki Team Green), Michael Ellis (Gabriel Insulation KTM), Matt Burrows (Apico Husqvarna), Tom Grimshaw (Chambers Racing Husqvarna), Jamie Law (Apico Husqvarna), Ashton Dickinson (Craigs Templant KTM) and Taylor Hammal (RHR Yamaha Racing) will all be in a position to enter the top five at different points too. Eddie Jay Wade (Hitachi KTM fuelled by Milwaukee) and Joel Rizzi (PAR Homes RFX Husqvarna) will receive a ton of interest from fans as well – see the stars of tomorrow today!
Little Silver can be located at the EX6 7UD postcode. The ACU British Motocross Championship kicks off on Sunday. MX1 time practice will fire into like at 08:45am and the first points-paying moto will start 12:00pm. A new era on the domestic scene begins this weekend!
Pic: Adam Duckworth