EMX250 preview: The Brits!
The British contingent has grown in the last few seasons in EMX2 as riders realise the increased prestige of the championship and young riders realise this is where you have to shine if you want a GP ride, not just the British championship anymore.
For older riders like Martin Barr and Mel Pocock it’s the chance to compete at a level probably even higher than the British championship and do it on GP tracks in front of a big crowd. Barr is going in with a goal to win and with his experience and speed he has to be a contender on paper. But good starts and limiting the mistakes in this class will prove key.
Mel Pocock is in a similar boat and he has won the championship before so he knows what it takes. Pocock might need a couple of good results to get his confidence back to that level but you can’t question his determination after an impressive return from his horror injury last year.
Steven Clarke is back in Europe after a year in the AMA series. Clarke, like Pocock, is former EMX250 champ, beating Brian Bogers to the title through consistency a couple of years ago and with his 250 AMA speed that was top ten and British championship title challenger the year before, plus his good starts, Clarke will be expected and expecting to challenge for the title in 2018.
Todd Kellett makes a welcome return, the talented Kellett showed good from in the class before but again the start will make a crucial difference to results. James Dunn will ride the 250 two-stroke in EMX250 and showed success on it last season at the final round, and he also has a race under his belt from Valkenswaard last week, Dunn is very talented and when he has confidence can be a real threat.
Christopher Mills has plenty of experience in Europe and could be won to watch this season, while Brad Todd won’t be at Redsand but will hopefully get on the leader-board later in the season on the I-fly JK Yamaha.
Dylan Woodcock will take a big step up to EMX250 this season but he has Martin Barr and Mel Pocock in his team who can help guide him. Woodcock has no real pressure this season and riding on the GP tracks with some very talented riders will no doubt help him for the future regardless of results. Jack Bintcliffe showed a lot of promise a few years ago and he will be hoping to get his career back on track.
Josh Gilbert really showed what he could do last season n the UK and looks ready to showcase his talents on the European stage. Gilbert has a lot of natural talent and a smooth technical style that should suit the GP tracks. With a good start Gilbert could really show what he can do once he gets some experience under his belt.
Added to those nine names you have the sometimes underrated but fast Josh Spinks, Aston Dickinson and young James Carpenter and Oli Benton.
New Zealander Josiah Natzke is living in England and riding for Buildbase Honda so he can get a mention here too! The Kiwi kid was on the level of Prado and Mewse coupe of years ago but has only shown flashes of that potential since. This is a big year for Natzle to get himself back on track to achieve his GP goals, but he has a good team around and him and seems confident that he has the tools to get the job done.
So, with 14 names from the UK entered, the EMX250 is basically a British MX2 championship on steroids with some of the future GP superstars from Europe added in to make it extra competitive!