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British Championship

Analysis: Canada Heights

Tackling topics from Canada Heights.

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Following a turbulent start to the current campaign, Canada Heights gave the Maxxis British Championship a much-needed boost this past weekend. The event acted as the second round, following a cancellation in March, and really did have everything that a fan could want. There are many intriguing stories to ponder moving forward as well.

MX1

1st Jake Nicholls (1-1): Jake Nicholls obviously hogged headlines on what was a perfect day at Canada Heights. There has been some chatter about how he is riding better than he ever has on a 450F and it honestly seems believable at this point. This is only the second time that he has swept both motos in the premier division, after all, and the field is not exactly weak. Hey, Evgeny Bobryshev finished eighth at the Grand Prix of Portugal just seven days before that! This is turning out to be a great story and one that a lot of fans are responding too, as there was a lengthy queue of spectators waiting to congratulate the Buildbase Honda star once he hopped off of the podium.

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Jake Nicholls now leads the premier division by seven points.

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2nd Evgeny Bobryshev (4-2): Evgeny Bobryshev expects to win every single time that he lines up at a round of the Maxxis British Championship, as he has achieved a lot more than most of the guys in this class, so results like this must be a little disappointing. Things could have been worse though, just as he recognised in our post-race interview, following a significant crash in the first moto. The footage of that was actually captured and placed into this MX Vice video. Additionally, constant improvements are being made to that RM-Z450 and he is obviously getting to grips with it on the world stage as well. It is not ridiculous to assume that fourth will be his worst finish of the current campaign.

3rd Elliott Banks-Browne (2-4): Elliott Banks-Browne is obviously much better this year, which is positive for the Geartec Husqvarna squad, but just imagine how things would have turned out had he been at this level last year. There is no doubt that he would have been right with Graeme Irwin the whole way. Those on the domestic scene must be opportunists, one could argue, as the depth in the classes can fluctuate so much from one year to the next. It is important that the guys take advantage of those seasons where there are not many MXGP stars on the starting line. Gert Krestinov is a perfect example; he won at Canada Heights last year and was not even close to the top five on Sunday.

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EBB is going to be a contender for victories every single week.

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4th Ivo Monticelli (3-5): Ivo Monticelli is a great yard stick for this series, as he offers a real look at how the level in the premier division compares to MXGP. Monticelli has scored nine points at the highest level thus far, with a season-best finish of eighteenth, but is arguably the sixth-best rider in this class. Along with those above him on this list, Graeme Irwin and Tommy Searle are obviously capable of more. Anyway, moving on, it is surprising that he has been labelled as the shock of the series, as he was obviously going to be able to hold his own against the Maxxis British Championship regulars. The guy has never been out of place in the FIM Motocross World Championship!

5th Graeme Irwin (11-3): Graeme Irwin was obviously frustrated and disappointed at the end of the day, which is understandable on many levels, but things could have been so much worse. Irwin was more than a minute down on the leader at the beginning of moto one and around twenty-five seconds behind the next rider. Pushing up into the points seemed realistic early on, but very few people would have bet on him finishing inside of the top eleven. Frustration undoubtedly stems from the fact that he was just a second down on the rider in ninth, Brad Anderson, at the end. Two valuable points were left on the table , but are they really going to matter when this thing wraps up in October?

6th Tommy Searle (5-7): This was great. It was quite clear that Tommy Searle was playing it safe in the first moto, just as one would expect with his lack of time on the bike, but then he ripped through the field in moto two and had some of the quickest times. Searle faces a deficit of sixty points currently and, although that is a hefty number, there is no way that anyone can rule him out. The remaining twelve motos will be run across six months and obviously a lot can happen in that time. Adam Sterry followed a similar path to a British title two seasons ago, so it can be done. It is certainly going to be interesting.

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Tommy Searle made positive steps forward in his comeback.

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7th Gert Krestinov (7-8): A handful of issues hindered Gert Krestinov at Canada Heights, as he suffered with arm pump in the first stint and then leg cramps in the second moto, but this was a huge improvement from the first round. This goes back to what was written alongside Elliott Banks-Browne. To put it into perspective, just two of the riders ahead of Krestinov were on track at this venue last year. Really, this would have been a podium finish a year ago and the perception would have changed completely. Anyway, speaking of Krestinov, he had sixteen weeks off with a shoulder injury through the winter, so a slow start should have been expected. A top-five finish must be around the corner.

8th Ryan Houghton (6-9): If someone chose to name Ryan Houghton as the most impressive guy thus far, it would not be insane at all. Houghton had thirty points to his name after the first two rounds a year ago, you see, but has acquired fifty-five this time around. That total puts him sixth in the championship and just ten points down on Elliott Banks-Browne in fourth. Who would have predicted that heading into the first round? Heck, most would have presumed that Kristian Whatley would be leading the Rob Hooper Racing Yamaha charge. It will be most interesting to see how he improves moving forward, as one would presume that he will only get better. 

MX2

1st Conrad Mewse (1-1): Could Conrad Mewse go undefeated in the Maxxis British Championship? Well, based on how difficult Sunday was for him, it certainly seems possible. Mewse was really under the weather and even admitted that he thought about not lining up for the final moto. Chuck some bad starts into the mix, as well as the fact that two of his greatest competitors started near the front each time, and it should have been much harder for him to pull off this clean sweep. The confidence that he must gain from these victories should work wonders, as he may benefit from the momentum more than anyone else at the highest level.

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Conrad Mewse could potentially end up undefeated in Britain.

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 2nd Martin Barr (3-2): Martin Barr is only going to get better, it seems, as he is still struggling with the hand injury that he sustained at Culham. Being in this position at the second round was probably a bonus! “My hand still is not one hundred percent and I am struggling a little, but just trying to forget about it and get on with the job,” Barr said in a post-race statement. “All-in-all it was not such a bad day. It is frustrating to come away with second overall, but it is my first podium of the season so it is a step in the right direction.” Had he not failed to finish a moto at the first round, he would actually be around third in the points. 

3rd Mel Pocock (2-3): Mel Pocock is actually on a very impressive run currently. If you put his EMX250, Michelin MX Nationals and Maxxis British Championship results onto one scorecard, then it looks like this: 1-9-3-4-2-2-4-4-2-3. It is extremely interesting to have those results laid out in that fashion and, hey, a better start in the second race at RedSand would have transformed that ninth into a third or fourth as well. There is no doubt that he would like to have more victories, every rider would, but those are going to come. In comparison, he had finished in the top three in just a single moto in the Maxxis British Championship at this point a year ago.

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Mel Pocock is off to a consistent start with REVO Husqvarna.

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 4th Josh Spinks (4-4): Josh Spinks had a productive day at round two; he pulled off some great starts, led six laps, acquired a career-best finish of fourth overall and even won the Expert class in the MX2 division. A victory like that is great exposure for Spinks and his sponsors, but is the podium really necessary? Is it not confusing for some of the fans? It seems that could be one of the flaws and, hey, there are many other ways to give these guys and their sponsors exposure. The MX1 Expert results were added up incorrectly, by the way, so the wrong guy was on the top step. On top of that mishap, the third-place finisher did not even show up.                                                                           

5th Liam Knight (6-5): KTM are enjoying a lot of success across the globe, thanks to the factory riders that are stationed in the different series, but Liam Knight is a great example of how great the Austrian machinery is. Knight was making good progress with the manufacturer and even finished fifth in the series two seasons ago, then moved onto a Kawasaki last year and lost a lot of momentum. It certainly made some question his potential. Two rounds have passed now, however, and it is quite clear that he is back where he belongs. Being on a team is not always the answer, as he has built a solid programme that clearly caters to his needs.

6th Josh Gilbert (5-6): This quote from Josh Gilbert effectively sums up the way that his performances are analysed now. “I would have been really happy with that result last year, but after the way Culham went I am disappointed,” he said in a team statement. “I know that I have got the speed, but I just struggled today with the track and the way it developed. I will take a fifth and a sixth on a bad day – I am still third in the championship and only five points off second.” Gilbert only finished fifth in a moto once last year, to put that into perspective, so this is still a significant step forward for the rising star.

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Josh Gilbert is having a breakthrough season in the MX2 class.

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7th Ashton-Lee Dickinson (8-8): So, who is this guy? A bit of research revealed this information; Dickinson has spent the last five years in the USA, preparing for his professional career in Europe, and then came back over here in January. It seems that he spent a majority of his time in the USA at MTF, so there is no doubt that his time was well spent. How about the fact that he is one of just five riders to finish in the top ten in every single moto and currently sits sixth in the points? It is likely this form will continue too, as he has thrived on various different surfaces thus far. It is always interesting when there is a breakthrough star.

8th Jake Millward (10-9): Jake Millward has perplexed some, as he has the ability to be up there with Josh Gilbert and Liam Knight. However, unearthing the consistency to do that appears to be a difficult task. Millward finished in the top five in five motos two seasons ago, for instance, but has not quite made it back to that level. Knowing that potential is there is something to fall back on and one would presume that it is all going to come together eventually. Having Millward put a CRF250R inside of the top ten is actually a huge positive for Honda, by the way, as they had the same number of bikes in the top ten as KTM and Husqvarna. It is rare for a Japanese manufacturer to manage that.

Words: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: MPS Images

British Championship

Andrew Short confirmed for the 2024 VMXdN at Foxhill

No Short measures for Team USA

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The promoters for the annual VMXdN Foxhill have announced that former factory HRC, KTM Factory Racing and Monster Energy Yamaha rider Andrew Short will be racing at the legendary Wiltshire Grand Prix circuit over August bank holiday weekend (August 22nd-26th) as part of the American squad.


Words: Press Release | Lead Image: Supplied


Short has had a stellar sixteen-year pro career, during that time, he earned over 50 podium finishes and nine wins, he is also one of the nicest guys you could wish to meet. One of his personal highlights was being part of the American Team that won the 2010 Motocross of Nations held in his home state of Colorado. 

After he retired from professional motocross at the end of 2016, Short then worked as a team advisor and brand ambassador for Factory Honda HRC before making a big transition to compete in rally racing and take on the ultimate rally race – the Dakar.

After a steep learning curve, he was able to become competitive in rally and even took his first win at the 2019 Rallye du Maroc, a leadup to the 2020 Dakar. He raced for the Rockstar Husqvarna team as well as the Monster Energy Factory Yamaha rally teams.

After a nasty injury while riding at home, he is now back to full fitness and bang up for the challenge that is Foxhill, the greatest 2-stroke event in the world. Short will race a 2002 YZ 250 built and maintained by the crew at DocWob. Team USA won the inaugural event in 2022 and finished 3rd behind Team GB and Team Northern Ireland in 2023. 

The race is already creating a huge buzz with new and returning legends being announced weekly, it really is a whos’ who of the sport through the golden heydays of the 90’s and 00’s era.

Labelled by RacerX magazine as “the Woodstock of two strokes” the event simply goes from strength to strength.

With ticket sales up year on year, the promoters have been blown away at the response to the event and are urging spectators to purchase tickets asap. Could this be the first outdoor motocross event in the UK to be ticket only? Camping passes will be capped at last year’s numbers as simply putting it – it was full!

Ensure your place at the most anticipated event on the British MX calendar by booking early.

Saturday, Sunday, Weekend and Camping passes are available at https://vmxdnfoxhill2024.eventbrite.co.uk

Keep up to date with all the VMXdN Foxhill news

www.vmxdnfoxhill.com 

www.facebook.com/vmxdnfoxhills 

https://www.instagram.com/vmxdnfoxhill/

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Arenacross

Injury Update: Tommy Searle

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Dirt Store Kawasaki star Tommy Searle has disappointingly been ruled out of the Belfast Arenacross due to a thumb injury suffered in the first round in Manchester. Here’s the post below.

More to follow. But in the meantime, we wish him all the best for his recovery.

Lead Image: Dirt Store Kawasaki

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British Championship

Apico Veterans are seeing red for VMXdN Foxhill 2024

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With the annual VMXdN Foxhill firmly entrenched as being the “must attend” meeting of the year, it’s no surprise that we are already getting news of team entries! The annual event takes place at the iconic Wiltshire GP circuit on the August bank holiday weekend (22nd-26th). 


Words: Press Release | Lead Image: Supplied


The first team to be announced in the Wright Engineering National Team Race is the Apico Veterans Squad, these guys are back in force and plan on building on their 2023 success. Now on Honda’s in their assault on the British Championships, we have heard they are building a few 2002 CR 250s as we speak in preparation for the event! 

Returning to the squad is Northern Ireland’s Martin Barr. Having raced all around the globe in an illustrious career which has so far spanned three decades. Barr has raced for world-leading manufacturers Husqvarna, KTM, Suzuki, Honda, Kawasaki and Yamaha since turning pro after leaving school at 16, having already won the British 85cc Supercross Championship in 2001. The victories and podium finishes have continued throughout Barr’s career with a win and second-place finish in the Red Bull Pro Nationals championships, a second and third place in the MX1 British Championship and 2nd in the MX1 Red Bull Pro Nationals Championship over the years. Barr has also represented Ireland 14 consecutive times at the MXON. A top geezer and first-class MX rider.

Jamie Law also returns to the Apico Veterans Team. JLaw, as he’s known around the paddock, is one of the most experienced riders at British championship level and a two-stroke advocate. After 20 years as a professional MX racer, JLaw took his first-ever British championship podium in 2022 at the series opener. He is still competing and training like he always did. 

The new boy on the squad is youngster Tom Grimshaw who raced in the 2022 and 2023 event but is now on the Apico Honda squad for his “day job”. After a successful youth career racing British, EMX & World Championships, Tom moved into the adults ranks again racing British Championships, EMX & World Championship events, proving due to his size he’s more of an open class guy as he can certainly ride one properly and his aggressive style will be a thing to watch on a 250 2-stroke in the natural valleys of the Wiltshire Grand Prix circuit. This team is packed full of talent and experience to boot, and they will take it to the line when the gate drops.

Dylan Brown will take the role of team manager. “I know the guys very well and for the most part the riders are Vets’ age. We’ve always had a family vibe at the racing with Martin & Jamie for many years and Tom fits right into our program. It’s a brilliant weekend to have the guys together with their families for a weekend of fun once again (though it does get serious when race time comes around lol). Again, we plan on raising money for the Air Ambulance, so please swing by the pits to view some special bikes on display under the Apico tent.”

“Team entries are coming in thick and fast and some of the names already signed up will be keeping our marketing department busy in the coming months.” Dave King – Promoter VMXdN Foxhill

With the increasing attendance in its first two years of the VMXdN Foxhill festival held over the August Bank Holiday weekend has advised that they must cap the quantity of camping slots available due to space and safety limitations, and they are anticipating that all camping passes will be sold prior to the event opening. 

“Last year we were almost at capacity and with the increase already we are expecting to sale out prior to the gates opening on August 22nd” explained DocWob – Promoter VMXdN Foxhill. “We expect the 2024 event to be ticket only, so it’s advisable to pre book to guarantee your place, you certainly don’t want to miss this one.”

Tickets for the four day festival are available from: https://vmxdnfoxhill2024.eventbrite.co.uk

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