The Nora92 organisation ran their fantastic two-day British Cup event for the second year running at Marshfield Moto Parc, thanks to the kind permission of the Church family and in association with Thornbury MX Events, on the May Day Bank Holiday weekend Sunday 30th April & Monday 1st May.
Words: Ben Rumbold | Images: Summers Photography
An increased entry from the previous year saw some great racing across nine classes on a circuit that had been prepared beautifully and withstood a few showers over the weekend without any issue, leaving it mostly dry and even under some sunshine on the Monday afternoon.
The Elite Adult A Class sponsored by Domestic Drain Services brought some high quality riders to the Marshfield circuit, with reigning champ from 2022 Ashley Greedy there with his brother Josh, the previous year’s runner-up Bradley Wheeler back amongst them on the Phoenix Tools Even Strokes Kawasaki, with Harry Bradley and Josh Canton also in the mix, although Canton was on a Day License so not counting for the points. Talented Youth graduates Domonic Newbury and Shaun Mahoney brought their 250 KTMs into the fray to join previous top 6 men Jacob Bowden and John Mackenzie on the DBMX Honda.
The big boys hit the track first in each block, and whilst Canton was fastest in the Sunday morning Qualification that set the gate picks for the whole weekend, it was 250 flyer Alfie Calvert who gained the SG Racing Holeshot award given out in the first race. Wheeler was swiftly past Calvert, who plummeted quickly down the order with a mistake on the opening lap, and Newbury gave chase, briefly taking the lead before toppling over in a rut and handing it back to Wheeler, who had in turn got passed by Harry Bradley! Wheeler, who has only recently become a father again, this time to twins, was feeling the effects of the sleep deprivation and got re-passed by Newbury, who attacked Harry but couldn’t get past, so it finished with a Harry Bradley win, from Newbury and Wheeler. Canton had suffered a poor start and had to work forward from about 10th off the line to grab 4th from Bowden on the final lap.
Wheeler holeshot the second moto, but Ashley Greedy got past quickly, then Canton who had got a much better start. The elder Greedy followed the same pattern in every race on both days, getting up the front and then falling rapidly backwards with some unknown problem. Canton capitalised and stormed off to an easy win, whilst Wheeler fell prey to Harry Bradley for 2nd, and the charging two-stroke Fantic of Mark Young then took 3rd with two laps to go. Newbury, Bowden, and a slow-starting Tyron Cleaver disputed the positions further back, with Bowden being passed by the other two in the final lap, leaving him 7th behind Newbury in 5th and the charging Cleaver in 6th.
On Monday, first-year pro Ben Mustoe came to play on the ASA United GASGAS, along with former AMCA Champion Luke Dean on the 125cc Fantic! As with Canton their places didn’t count for points, and although Mustoe struggled off the gate with his 250F, he soon showed his pace by moving through into 3rd, then 2nd at half-distance as Cleaver pulled a stunning holeshot and cleared off at the front! Wheeler held station as both Greedy brothers dropped down the order from the top 6, Mark Young again moved forward but got passed late on by Harry Bradley and Luke Dean.
Mustoe relentlessly closed on Cleaver and took the chequered flag, but Cleaver took the points for 1st ahead of Wheeler, Bradley, Young, and a slow-starting Newbury.
Ash Greedy again led early in the final moto but dropped massively on lap two, with Wheeler again starting well, this time just ahead of Cleaver. Mustoe was not far behind despite only relying on 250 power, and scorched into the lead on lap three, never to be caught again. Yamaha rider Aaron Patstone briefly got past Cleaver while Canton had a strangely quiet race. Harry Bradley needed to make moves to secure the overall win but they weren’t coming, and he ultimately finished where he started, back in 8th place on-track. A charging Luke Dean worked through for a great second on-track, but Wheeler knew he wasn’t in the points picture and collected the 1st place points ahead of Newbury, who made a last-lap pass on Cleaver to secure 3rd overall for the weekend! Harry Bradley took 2nd overall behind “Daddy Cool” Wheeler, the Nora92 British Cup Champion for 2023!
The Adult B Class Sponsored by T Edwards Plant came down to a great fight between fastest Qualifier James Bemrose on the Husqvarna 4-stroke, and KTM 2-stroke man Danny Webster. Webster led from nearly start to finish, quickly passing the SG Racing Holeshot winner Ashley Smith, whilst Day License holder Adam hardy stayed 2nd all race behind Webster, until the last lap when Bemrose overtook to finish just 2.7 seconds down on Webster. Alan Pearce, also on a Day License so not counting for points, finished 4th ahead of the Fantic of Josh Denscombe, with Riley Saunders riding well on a 150cc two-stroke KTM.
Race two saw a good win for Suzuki-mounted former top AMCA man Pearce, taking the win with ease from Hardy, but the crucial moves for the overall happened behind them with Webster the 1st points scorer, then Bemrose pulling another last lap pass, this time on Denscombe, for 2nd. Saunders again charged through the pack to finish 3rd on points ahead of Danny’s brother, Guitar.
Pearce didn’t race on Monday and Race 3 was a nervous affair between Bemrose and Danny Webster, with the KTM leading the whole way right up into the last lap, and Bemrose yet again pulled a stunning late move on a tight cambered left-hander to grab the win with half a lap to go! This made it “Winner Takes All” for the final moto! Hardy was a distant 3rd ahead of Denscombe, who fought from way back to pick off fast-starting Jake Thompson, as did Aiden Woodman with a last-lap pass for 5th!
Webster got away well in the final deciding moto, but Hardy took the lead on the second lap and battled back-and-forth with Bemrose in the second half, the two pulling away from Danny who stayed in 3rd. Bemrose eventually outlasted Hardy to claim a 12 second win, and with it the overall verdict! Henry Smith was a good 4th ahead of Denscombe and Tristan James. The top five overall in Adult B Sponsored By T Edwards Plant were Bemrose, Danny Webster, Denscombe, Henry Smith, and Aiden Woodman.
The Ladies Cup Sponsored by DB Property, and the Adult C Class Sponsored by Invek, raced together for the whole weekend, and top British lady racer Kathryn Booth completely swept all four races on the Ansatech KTM, even grabbing the SG Racing Holeshot Award in race one and until she caught lapped riders barely had to use the roll-offs all weekend. Grace Packman and Nadiya Jones were similarly consistent, claiming 2nd & 3rd respectively in each race, although Jones made it tough for herself in race three with a first corner crash, after which she did brilliantly well to still claim 3rd at the flag. Hollie Roberts was also 4th in the Ladies class each time out, and Louise Powell took 5th overall with some good starts and consistent riding.
The leading Adult C riders, Chris Johnson, Jack Clarke, and David Parker, finished 1-2-3 in each moto apart from the last one, when Johnson got a better start and battled with Nadiya Jones at the front, leaving Liam Williams on his Enduro-Spec KTM to take 3rd ahead of an almighty scrap for 3rd which went the way of Clarke, leaving Parker to salvage 4th despite great racing from Marc Evelyn on the #91 Jeremy Seewer replica Yamaha, and a YZ125 ridden by Callum Smith. Smith was 4th overall ahead of Evelyn, who edged out Kawasaki man Jason Smith on the last race tie-breaker.
The Youth class sponsored by Domestic Drain Services saw 13 to 17 year-olds pitted together on either 250 4-strokes or 125 2-strokes. Jak Taylor on the WM Tatchell Husqvarna completely dominated the first three motos, each time ahead of the MGMX KTM of Freddie Gardiner, but the last moto saw Taylor come to a stop at the end of the wave section whilst in a commanding lead again! This let Gardiner in for the last moto and the overall win, with Ollie Bubb on the 3Flo Madison Crescent Yamaha claiming 2nd in that one and the overall after two 3rds and a 4th. Shane Jones rode well for 3rd overall ahead of Jack Dando and Lewis Bethell, with Charlie Hucklebridge riding consistently for a good 6th overall.
The BW85s Sponsored by Kranlyft were dominated by the MGMX KTM of Charlie Richmond. One of the top riders of his age group in the UK won all four motos, each time with Husqvarna rider Harley Prickett in 2nd spot despite having to pass several people to get there in a couple of the motos. Riley Small battled well to claim 3rd overall ahead of Maison Jones and George Clarke, with Leah Jones in 6th. A special mention has to be made for Reagan Rogers, who scored no points in race one but took 3rd in each of Monday’s races, battling with Prickett and Small.
The SW85s Sponsored by L A Clarke saw an intriguing scrap between first race winner Jack Leese, Jenson Severn, and Olly Walters. They finished in that order in race one, but Walters stormed past Leese in race two and then out-paced him in both of Monday’s races, clinching the overall win in fine style. Leese was 2nd in each of the last three motos, always ahead of Severn who took 3rd overall behind Jack. Jamie Thorpe was 4th in the forst three races but had to come right from the back of the pack in the final race, which he did to finish 5th and keep 4th overall. 5th overall was the consistent Ryan Jackson, and William Evans was top five all weekend except for the opening moto when a zero score meant he finished 14th overall.
The 65cc Class Sponsored by Tillit Suspension had Arenacross Champion Casey Lister light up the SG Racing Holeshot Award in race one, but issues with his power valve saw him struggle up the many steep climbs of Marshfield Moto Parc and it was all he could do to limp home in 9th. Arthur King took the race one win ahead of fine rides from Teddy Merriman and Elliott Shawyer, as Nixon Coppins suffered a big crash which dislodged his seat as well as his rear mudguard, but he still salvaged 12th position!
As expected, Lister dominated the last three races, and with King suffering a fall from 2nd in race three, it let Casey in for the overall win despite Arthur’s spirited recovery to 7th in that moto, which helped him towards 2nd overall. Coppins took 2nd in race two, but was beaten to that spot by Jett Gardiner, who also claimed 2nd in race four to grab 3rd overall by a point from Merriman. Coppins had to settle for 5th overall ahead of the consistent Shawyer.
In the Auto Class by Wulfsport, Mason Foreman was unstoppable all weekend, with only Cohen Llewellyn beating him into the first corner on a couple of occasions. Mason took all four race wins, followed home each time by Blake Marks Bracey. Sam McEvoy was 3rd in the first three motos but dropped it in the final moto, still recovering well to 4th to secure the third spot on the podium. Max Korszewski took home the 4th place overall trophy with William King 5th ahead of Llewellyn, who won the drag race with McEvoy for 3rd in the final moto of the weekend.
With a disco on the Sunday night and a great atmosphere throughout the weekend, the Nora92 British Cup looks to expand to a three-round series next year which should make for some more fantastic racing.
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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