Although only three of the nine rounds in the 2017 AMCA British Motocross Championship have been completed, the early title standings in MX1 currently make very pleasant reading for the FUS/FRO/CPS Husqvarna team. Currently on top is the defending MX1 champion, Luke Burton, who already has a big gap of eighty-nine points over his teammate James Dodd.
At Lower Drayton on Sunday, Burton produced another perfect performance to bag three more moto wins and thus top the podium. Whilst Burton stretched his advantage in the standings, two of his main title rivals (Gary Gibson and Shane Carless) were hit by mechanical issues. Not only did they lose ground in the race for top honours, they were also denied a podium place. With Gibson and Carless out of the reckoning, it was Dodd and a delighted Richard Cannings who took home the remaining silverware.
Over in MX2, defending champion Josh Waterman has regained his place at the top of the table after taking a strong runner-up slot behind Ray Rowson at Lower Drayton. Completing the podium was Lewis King, who also sits third in the early MX2 table. After a nightmare at round two, Brad Turner was back to his very best to bag maximum points and also regain his series lead in the very competitive 2T class. The trio of James Russell, Simon Lane and Terry House again dominated proceedings in the Vets. Russell now enjoys a twenty-two-point advantage at the top of the AMCA standings.
After having two hard-pack circuits to open the series, the Lower Drayton surface (with its mixture of soil and woodchip) provided a whole different challenge. Despite that change in grip, the opening MX1 moto produced a very familiar result! Taking the win was Luke Burton who, after grabbing the holeshot and leading, was passed by Gary Gibson. After two further laps, Burton was back in control and stayed in that position. Shane Carless moved through to snatch second from Gibson, Dodd, John May and Luke Meredith. Deciding to jump aboard his 2T 250cc Yamaha instead of the 450F Honda, Adam Harris started strongly with a seventh place and was joined inside that top ten by his fellow 2T pilot Ben Saunders.
One of the top MX1 pilots was in trouble in moto two, as the frame broke on Shane Carless’ Honda when he was holding fifth place. At the front, Burton led from start to finish ahead of Gibson. Richard Cannings took third, despite persistent pressure from Dodd. After failing to score at round two, after injuring his knee in practice, this was a very welcome result for Cannings. Saunders got home in sixth, just behind Meredith, with Paul Neale, Andrew Smart and John May also in the mix.
Whilst Burton produced another motocross masterclass to take moto three with a gate-to-flag victory, one of his main rivals failed to score. Gibson’s Kawasaki screeched to a halt four laps in, so Cannings took an impressive second from Dodd and May. Although the track was now at its most demanding, the action was still equally as fierce. Ashley Thomas just edging out Sean Wainwright in a great tussle for fifth, whilst Saunders stormed past Smart in the closing stages to bag seventh. That result also earned Saunders a superb fifth overall on the day. After suffering that broken frame in moto two, Carless was kindly offered the use of an AMS IDS KTM for this last clash. Despite being on that rather unfamiliar mount, the Welshman gated strongly in fifth and eventually settled for twelfth.
In the opening MX2 clash, which was restarted, Ray Rowson showed no signs of slowing down after sustaining a shoulder injury during round two at Nympsfield. He blasted into control and set a very hot pace. Rowson really turned on the style and took a comfortable win from Luke Dean, Josh Waterman, Bradley Tranter, Lewis King and Cory McShane.
Proving that he was indeed up for the challenge to make up lost ground in the standings, Rowson again stormed to a gate-to-flag victory in the second clash of the day. King, Waterman, Tranter, Jack Cox, James Wainwright and Luke Mellows followed him. Starting the meeting as the series leader, the Yamaha-mounted Dean did not enjoy the best of fortunes in this moto. After starting in sixth, Luke dropped back to fourteenth after a crash and recovered to earn eighth.
Looking for the hat-trick, Rowson again led the way in moto three. On this occasion, however, Waterman was on his tail and rapidly reeled him in. Waterman eventually came through to take the win. Producing another determined and polished performance, King held onto third spot for the entire duration with Dean in fourth. Waterman (472) is now back in charge in the standings from Dean (453), King (424) and Rowson (389).
“Today was weirdly successful,” Waterman said. “Hope Roderick-Jones is ok after his first-race crash. After starting tenth in moto one I worked my way back to third. In moto two I gated tenth again, got up to fifth and then collided with another rider. I had it all to do, but again finished third. In the last race I had a nice battle with Ray before passing him with three laps to go. I have got to be pleased, as I now lead the championship. Thanks to everyone who supports me. It is much appreciated.”
Going into the event, Jason Kendrick was the 2T series leader. However, just like Brad Turner at round two, he endured a day that he would rather forget! Forced out with mechanical gremlins in moto one, a crash in the last race meant he scored just sixty-eight points for nineteenth overall. In contrast, Turner was back to his very best. He had a comfortable gate-to-flag victory in moto one ahead of Sam Smith, Jordan Saunders, Bradley Doyle, James Lane and Jack Waterman.
After that strong opening ride, Doyle had another good one in the second clash of the day. He came through from seventh to take second, behind gate-to-flag winner Turner. Despite slipping off twice, Smith quickly regained his composure to still bag third from Lane and Kendrick.
All of the usual suspects again featured strongly in the last 2T moto of the day at Lower Drayton. Completing his maximum-points haul in style, it was another smooth win from Turner in moto three. Smith, Lane and Doyle were also right in the mix. In the standings, Turner is now back in charge and thirty-two points clear of Smith. Kendrick has dropped down to fifth, a remarkable ninety-two points off the top slot!
The delighted Turner said, “The track was pretty rough and technical. I felt good all day and got my starts dialled in on the concrete pad. Being in the lead on lap one of all three races certainly made it a whole lot easier! Many thanks to IDS Transport AMS KTM and the whole team for their support each week.”
Resisting almost constant pressure from Simon Lane, it was series leader James Russell who took the opening Vets win. Terry House was in third and the always-consistent trio of Richard Chinn, Gary Jones and Martin Atherton were also in the mix. Looking to claw back some vital points, Lane led moto two just about all the way and looked like a winner. However, throughout this clash, Russell was all over him and timed his strike to perfection! On the final lap of the contest, James went for the pass and took the moto victory in a dramatic fashion. Whilst Lane and Russell had disputed the win, House was closing in and he was just a yard away from snatching second spot from Lane.
In what was to be virtually a repeat of that battle, Lane again led the last moto and was then passed by Russell. House reeled them both in, but did indeed get around Lane this time to earn second. Although the going was tough in this last moto, the Vets class entertained in style to wrap up proceedings. Jones, Sean Smith, Atherton, Darren Bennett, Brian Staples, John Heath and Paul Wieczorek completed the top ten.
After this hectic programme of three rounds during April, the AMCA chasers now have a break of four weeks to regroup and try to find that extra bit of speed before they are asked to go into battle again!
Words: Mike Wood | Lead Image: Mike Wood
Has British Motocross turned a corner?
British Motocross is a subject I’m very passionate about. It’s the sole reason MX Vice was created back in 2011. At that time there were a few magazines out there, but not many websites. One defining moment for me was seeing Gordon Crockard sit exhausted in a small setup in Denver at the 2010 Motocross of Nations. Ireland had done their usual B final shenanigans, where Crockard finished second to Martin Davalos, Martin Barr third and Stuart Edmonds fifth in a very hot Denver. It took a colossal effort by them, but most notably by Crockard, who was a little older than the young guns of Barr and Edmonds on the team. Watching from afar I could see that Gordon didn’t leave anything on the track on Sunday September 26th, he was spent.
Words: James Burfield | Lead Image: Supplied
I’d never spoken to Gordon before but I felt I needed to go over and speak to him because the amount of respect I had for him that weekend and the Irish team was on another level. The MXDN has a way of bringing out the passion from the fans just as much as the riders and I was totally wrapped up in it as a fan. The best I could offer was ‘that was an amazing effort’ that probably didn’t mean much at the time (Crockard finished 15th overall in MX Open). He smiled, was super polite and talked to me for five minutes before getting changed.
The next day we were in a shopping mall in Denver, I just bought a coffee for myself, my wife and godson, and lo and behold Gordon was sitting down in the mall. He looked up and said “hey how are you?” So I sat down with Gordon, my godson and we spoke about the previous day, what it took for him to achieve what he did that weekend in the heat and altitude of Denver.
When I got back the next few weeks I scoured the internet and magazines and the little that was covered I felt didn’t give the team and Gordon justice. I had been going to the MXDN since 2006 and tried to get to as many GPs as possible from 2006 to 2010, and after buying a bike back in 2005, my bug was firmly back.
Although I have regressed about why I’m passionate about British Motocross I feel like I need to add some context to how I got there. I approached DBR back in 2010 about MX Vice being a possible motocross website to Sean Lawless, as DBR then didn’t do much online. As you would have figured I was turned down, for good reason. I was just a fan, although I had masses of digital knowledge, it didn’t mean anything to the motocross world back then. Whenever I picked up my monthly copies of MotoMag and DBR the stories were tailored around the stars of the sport. I wanted to hear about the journeymen, the riders that work in the week and the epic stories about making it to the line against the best in Britain.
At that time in the UK, Ashley Wilde, Jake Millward, Alan Keet, Adam Sterry, Luke Norris, Lewis Tombs, Josh Waterman, Ross Rutherford, Matthew Moffat, Ross Hill, Rob Davidson, Jordan Divall and Ross Keyworth were among some of the riders that wouldn’t get any coverage. No one was telling their stories or interviewing them. That’s when I knew MX Vice was needed.
For those that have been on this journey with MX Vice you will know the ins and outs of my love affair with British Motocross. So much has happened in those twelve years. I have seen two ACU chairmen come and go, helped form a championship called the MX Nationals, ran two race teams and spent hundreds of thousands on this sport I love. What I have realised in those twelve years is you have to have tough skin, because if you are going to have an opinion that is not shared by people who have a financial interest, then they will go to whatever level they need to go to to protect that interest. So when I started to ask questions that everyone wanted to know the answers to, you were tarnished with being disruptive and toxic.
The UK is a small community of the same people and if you fuck around in their playground you find out, as pressure is applied to business not to work with you. I have been on this constant journey with British motocross, going round in circles.
The opportunity to go to MXGP in 2015 was a breath of fresh air for MX Vice and myself. We felt welcomed and they appreciated the impact we made online and through our social channels, even when our opinion differed we didn’t get alienated, or advertising pulled from us due to pressure.
Weirdly they welcomed the challenge to be better, in fact they were open to hearing if we saw any opportunities to help them improve. This freaked us out for a while and part of us thought, “what’s the catch?” Going to MXGP felt like we moved from primary school to university and skipped secondary with the way people accepted and worked with us. That credit goes down to David Luongo who came in with new ideas and Samanta Gelli who understood our potential from day one.
When you look back to 2008 to 2014 and see the amount of GP riders that were regulars in the British Championship, maybe we were spoiled? Maybe it skewed our vision, but it just wasn’t just us, GP riders and fans were interested in the British scene. What has happened since that time is that the Dutch, German, French, Italian and Spanish championships have evolved, their federations have invested and been very successful with their programs.
Again this has not helped with the perception when looking at British Motocross. Since 2014 I feel there has been glimpses of effort, but in comparison we have become complacent. When you are complacent then other people will see an opportunity, just like MX Vice did with MotoMag and DBR in 2011. Those two juggernauts at the time possibly looked and laughed at the thought of someone like MX Vice passing them.
I want those days back when you were excited to see riders like Arnaud Tonus, Zach Osborne and Christophe Pourcel in MX2 and Matiss Karro, Kevin Strijbos, Shaun Simpson, Stephen Sword, Marc de Reuver in MX1 and you would travel the length of the UK on a Sunday not to miss a round.
Yes we have had COVID, Brexit and now we are in a recession, it’s a difficult time for everyone. The British championship is doing its best given the resources they have along with the MX Nationals. Tracks are charging in the region of £15,000 – £20,000, and gone are the days of volunteer marshalls. The cost to run a national event is around £30,000 to £40,000 per round. Add in to this the industry is spending less on events and marketing to promote their products, services and business, and you can recognise the struggle.
Both championships are run under the ACU, who are the leading federation in the UK, and that won’t possibly change in our lifetime. So as much as people want to moan about what they are not doing, then remember they are not going anywhere either. As the federation for both championships, they are always going to be the target for those people who feel disenfranchised with how the sport is going and it doesn’t help when people perceive other countries are progressing and new organisations like Nora92 are investing back into the sport with an incredible youth program and reduced licence and riding fees.
I believe that the ACU have recognised that things need to change and have understood that the licence fee subscribers are the life force behind their business. The appointment of Tim Lightfoot as chair of the ACU has been a positive one, someone who seems to truly understand that a united British motocross is beneficial to the ACU.
There are some great people within UK motocross who all believe that they know what it needs and when they are not listened to they then decide to adopt the mantra of I’ll just go and do it myself. Tim Lightfoot has the biggest job in motocross right now, and everything to play for.
With the right foresight and understanding what is required from key stakeholders that are jaded he could unite the British motocross scene, skyrocket ACU licences and drive the industry forward. A lot of pressure for one person, but if he can unite the rest of the ACU behind him, then things will change. So a glimmer of hope has happened for the ACU and the national championship, but there will be many who would have heard this all before.
But the hook that got me engaged with British motocross once more was when I heard of the possibility of a new Championship being started for 2024, but with two rounds being run in Europe. As an outsider looking in I would one hundred percent be that guy to say, “Jesus yet another championship” – just what the UK needs. That would have been the general sentiment towards someone starting another championship in the UK. So I needed to know more to understand if this would be a success or not.
Clinton Putnam is the guy who is looking to challenge British motocross to be better, to set a new bar in the hope it will shake it up and take it forward. Clinton was behind the very successful GT Cup and came onboard the MX National series supporting with tracks, infrastructure and vehicles. The same guy who has been behind the explosion of quality new motocross tracks in the UK over the past two years, something that the UK is in dire need of. I spoke to Clinton initially to understand more about the series and what his approach to media would be and see if I could help in any way. His vision is to offer a championship that feels like a GP when you arrive, an emphasis on the pros, along with world class tracks for them to ride on.
A few months ago this was made even more impressive by the fact that Clinton would be running with or without support from the industry, luckily for Clinton there are people, businesses and brands that also share and welcome that vision.
For the past eighteen months I have stayed out of the UK scene thanks to having COVID for five months, which kicked my ass, and then focussing on MXGP to fulfil our contracts. With Arenacross offering £140,000, NPC £98,700, MX Nationals and the British Championship there is finally some good money for pros to earn in 2024 when the economy is struggling! So is this the wind of change that we needed?
Since the new Nora Pro Championship (NPC) was announced it seems to have lifted the industry, federations have upped their game, other championships have got a second wind and the purse strings are a little looser from brands and manufacturers. Who knows where British motocross will be by the end of 2024?
We could be looking back five years from now saying where we would be without Clinton Putnam starting the NPC, and it being a driving force for not only the UK and six rounds in the UK and six rounds in Europe.
One thing is for sure, British motocross is a lot like the political landscape. There is a lot of talk about requiring people to work together, but it will always be difficult when egos and money get in the way of progress. Hawkstone International and VMXDN Foxhills have shown that if the product is what people want then they will support it, the challenge is to offer that level six times a year, not just the once.
Strap in because we have a lot to look forward to over the next thirty six months.
Love what we do? Please read this article as we try to raise £30,000.
BREAKING NEWS: Nora Pro Championship dates released
Just in. The dates have been selected for the new Nora Pro Championship for 2024. Whilst there are no surprises that there were going to be clashing it still allows riders to race on a Saturday and a Sunday if they want to ride two championships. The good news we hear is the prize fund is substantial and if facts are correct the biggest prize fund in European Motocross. More information will be released this week. PR Below.
We are pleased to announce the dates agreed for the 2024 championship. As you can imagine this was extremely difficult and we had to take some time to deliberate because we didn’t want to clash with the Bridgestone Championship as this will act as the feeder series to the Pro Championship, the Dirtstore British Championship, the Nora British Cup, and some European EMX races. Whilst taking all these into account it didn’t leave many dates available, and unfortunately, there will be clashes with other series including the Fastest 40. However, with the Fastest 40 running their Pro group on a Saturday and the Nora Pro Championship on Sunday only, we hope this helps.
The dates will be as follows:
24th March 2024 – UK
21st April 2024 – UK
12th May 2024 – Europe
28th July 2024 – UK
25th August – Europe
8th September – UK
Tracks will be released over the next two weeks as contracts are completed. The UK tracks have been agreed and as mentioned in a previous release there will be a brand new UK motocross track that no one has used, a great step in the right direction when so many tracks are being closed.
A huge thank you for the support and feedback that we have received already and we are taking that into account. We believe in open communication so we will explain every decision openly to offer clarity.
We are working very hard behind the scenes and are implementing everything to make this championship one of the most professional in Europe. Our only goal is to raise the bar of British motocross.
New website, title sponsor, tracks, European races, partners, features, teams and riders will be released over the coming weeks.
The All-New Kawasaki KX450
The KX legacy has created a long line of champions and Kawasaki’s drive to produce more has never faltered.
This year Kawasaki celebrate 50 years of Dirt Domination with the KX brand, so it’s no surprise to see a characteristically “full gas” approach to the 2024 MX season, with the much-anticipated announcement of the 2024 models.
Leading the 450 cm3 class charge is the awesome KX450 enjoying its first full-model change in five years, innovatively introducing features never seen before on a KX machine.
The all-new flagship race machine, the KX450 off road motorcycle, offers next level engineering and power to dominate the track. The 2024 KX450 benefits from a new frame and bodywork plus increased engine performance thanks to a symmetrically aligned intake and exhaust. Handling performance has also improved, with greater front-end feel contributing to improved cornering performance to complement the KX450’s acclaimed light, nimble handling and legendary straight-line ability. Aggressive new green bodywork offers improved ergonomics due to a slim, and smoother rider interface while upgrades for the coming season include premium Brembo brake components and ODI Lock-on grips.
In terms of tech highlights, the 2024 KX450 features for the very first time Power Modes and Kawasaki Traction Control, both easily selectable from switches at the left handlebar. Riders can quickly select from two levels (Weak, Strong) of traction control to suit conditions and preference. Riders may also elect to turn the system off. Using the Mode (M) button on the left handlebar, it is also possible to switch between two engine maps (Normal, Mild response) provided in the ECU.
Additionally, smartphone connectivity allows riders to connect with their machine to adjust engine mapping directly from their smartphones using the application “RIDEOLOGY THE APP KX” to adjust engine maps including fuel and ignition timing while maintenance logs are also available.
Adding new features, plus carefully selected electronic rider aids, has taken the KX450 to the next level and Kawasaki hopes that 2024 season riders will accelerate ahead of the chasing pack towards well deserved podium results.
With innovative and evolving features over the decades, we’ve learned what it takes to win and stay on top and the KX450 embodies this legacy to the fullest. The new 2023 model is available from December 2023, contact your local dealer today or visit kawasaki.co.uk to find out more.
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