British Championship RD7: Preview
We’re not far off having three champions crowned as we head into the penultimate round of Maxxis ACU British Motocross Championship, round seven of eight, at Preston Docks this weekend. This season will go down in history as one of the most epic with the title hunt in both premier classes, MX1 and MX2, going right down to the wire.
Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki’s Tommy Searle leads the way in MX1 after dominating the previous round at Blaxhall with a double moto victory for his third round win of the season. That perfect 50 point score couldn’t have come at a better time for the Kawasaki ace, since heading into Blaxhall it was Shaun Simpson who had the red plate with a 16 point advantage. The Wilvo Virus Performance KTM star, Simpson, didn’t just gift Searle the red plate, he wrapped it up in shiny paper and put a massive ribbon on the top, with his disastrous results, a 17 – 7 for tenth overall. Simmo now trails Searle by 16 points. The pendulum has swung, although pendulums are renowned for swinging back the other way just as fast, which, in motocross, is completely possible.
Simmo killed it here at Preston Docks last year where he swept all three races and was crowned champion, so he will be aiming to do that again this weekend and at least make a dent in Searle’s 16 point lead heading into the final round, which will take place next month at Foxhill.
The Buildbase Honda boys, Graeme Irwin and Kristian Whatley, were also strong at Preston Docks last year where they both finished on the podium. Irwin, who is carrying a thumb injury at the moment, has made the box once this year, at Hawkstone Park, as has his teammate Whatley, who uncorked his first bottle of fizz this season last month at Blaxhall. If these two line up, fully charged and ready to race, they’ll be podium contenders.
Last but not least is the most improved rider of the season is Hitachi Revo Husqvarna’s Jake Nicholls. With so much hype surrounding Simpson and Searle, Nicholls has been the cat among the pigeons. He has been on the box at the last four rounds, one of which he stood tall as the round winner, and will be hoping to round out the season with a couple of wins, especially since he is within striking distance of the title, only 26 points down on Searle and 10 down on Simpson.
And then there are the hard chargers in MX2, where four guys have a good shot at topping the box and taking the crown. The top three are separated by no more that 7 points! Apico Husqvarna holds the red plate as the series leader with his teammate, Bryan MacKenzie only 4 points back in second place. A further 3 back on Bry-Mac is Wilvo Virus Performance KTM’s Adam Sterry, who has been on fire since he missed the first round of the season after he broke his arm at the FIM Motocross World Championship in Qatar.
Out of the last six races, Sterry has won four, and has finished second place in the other two. He’s topped the box at the last three rounds, which makes him the favourite for the crown. In saying that, you can never ever count out Clarkey, as a man with the eye of the tiger. When he wants something, he goes after it and knows how to keep that right grip twisted. Bry-Mac also knows how to unleash the beast and having only one race win on his scorecard this season, he will want to up that statistic over the next two rounds.
Buildbase Honda’s Martin Barr has won one round this season, at Hawkstone Park, round three, before stacking it at his home round, Dessertmartin and injuring his shoulder. Since then, wins have been hard to come by for the unlucky Irishman, but he should be back on form, ready to go out with a bang.
Whichever way you look at it, the title in MX2 will be a dogfight till the end with all of the main contenders eager to claim their first ever British titles.
In the class that allows Britain’s fastest youths to dip their toe into what it’s like to race in the pro-ranks, MX2 and MX, Holeshot Motocross’ James Carpenter is going in with a firm hand on the title. Carpenter has a 38-point lead over P&H Motorcycle’s Michael Ellis, the kid who won the last round, at Blaxhall, with a consistent 2-2 finish.
Ellis will be hoping to keep that momentum going at Preston Docks, while the shake up is bound to come from Apico Husqvarna’s Alexander Brown, who after crashing out of Blaxhall, has been given the one over, confirming he is good to go.
Meanwhile, RFX KTM’s Henry Williams has been chipping away all season and reaped the reward at Blaxhall when he landed on the box for the third time this season. Williams now has a 10-point buffer on Husqvarna UK’s Dexter Douglas who is sitting fourth in the championship over Carl Nunn KTM’s George Grigg-Pettitt.
So who is primed and ready to do damage at Preston Docks this weekend? Be there to witness it!
Riverside Park, Wallend Road, Preston, is where you want to be this weekend. Punch PR2 2HW into your GPS, and we’ll see you there. Practice starts at 9am with the first race commencing at 11:55