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Didn’t he do well? – We rate our British riders racing around the world

We are fortunate that there are so many high calibre British riders tackling different series in various continents. But for some of those, 2012 wasn’t as great as they had anticipated as they failed to meet their goals set prior to round one. Then again, some exceeded all expectations anyone had of them. Lets take a look at how some of our top riders performed in 2012.

Tommy Searle

Tommy Searle has been our greatest hope of a British World Champion for a number of years now, and 2012 was no different. However, for the third time in his career Searle came up just short of his main goal, finishing the year out second in the MX2 World Championship. Three DNF’s over the course of the year definitely hindered Tommy in his quest for glory, however he was visibly a tick off of eventual champ, Jeffrey Herlings at different points in the year, which eventually cost him the title.

Highlight: Not one person left the British GP disappointed, as Searle put on a fantastic display of riding to win his home GP with a double moto victory. Even Tommy himself was visibly ecstatic at how the weekend went, stating it was one of the highlights of his career.

Lowlight: The GP of Latvia, held at the circuit of Kegums was really the round that lost Searle the title; already at that point he was left fighting an uphill battle after one DNF. However, leaving Kegums with a further two DNF’s left him with a deficit that was perhaps too large to overcome.

Score: 9/10

Dean Wilson

For Dean Wilson, 2012 definitely did not go to plan. Coming into the year the Scotsman was tipped for glory in both the AMA Lites Supercross and Motocross series; however a shoulder injury destroyed his chances in both series. Even before he went down at the Seattle Supercross and tore his labrum, Wilson wasn’t on the pace of eventual champ Eli Tomac, but he was in contention for the title. When the two came together not only did the impact destroy Wilson’s shot at his maiden SX title, it also wrecked his AMA Motocross title defense before it had even started.

Highlight: Prior to the San Diego Supercross, Dean was already looking at quite a large points deficit. However the win in San Diego not only propelled him back into title contention, it also was perhaps the best he rode all year as he looked fluid and confident on his way to an effortless victory.

Lowlight: Undoubtedly, the low point in Dean’s season was halfway through the very first moto of the AMA Motocross series, when he was forced to withdraw from the series once he realised the extent of his shoulder injury, effectively giving up the number one plate he so desperately wanted to keep.

Score: 6/10

Jake Nicholls

2012 was the year Jake Nicholls proved himself to be a podium contender at the highest level. The Nestaan JM KTM rider went from riding in the lower half of the top ten in 2011, to leading GP’s in 2012; so big was his leap in performance that he really grabbed the attention of everyone in the GP paddock. Overall, Nicholls was incredibly consistent all season long, often posting results inside the top five, hence why he was able to collect fourth in the MX2 World Championship at the end of the year.

Highlight: One of those countless times Jake fell just short of the overall podium was Loket, at the GP of the Czech Republic. Despite finishing one point short of the overall podium, Nicholls did claim the first moto podium of his career, and his only one to date.

Lowlight: There was no real lowlight in Jake’s season, as mentioned earlier he was extremely consistent. However, if you were to put a finger on something a bit disappointing, it’s the fact he failed to deliver an overall podium over the course of the year. Everyone agrees he was capable; it just never came together for him.

Score: 7/10

Max Anstie

Well, 2012 certainly didn’t pan out how everyone expected it to for Max Anstie. Tipped by many to be a contender for race wins, the good results that were anticipated never materialised. In part, you can put a good portion of the blame on the fact that he was riding a clearly underpowered Gariboldi Honda. One of the most astonishing statistics from the season is that Max suffered six (!) DNF’s over the course of the season, which really hurt him in his bid to secure a top five position in the championship.

Highlight: Undoubtedly Max’s performance in Lierop (where he stood on the lowest step of the overall podium) was the highlight of his year, as he proved that he was certainly capable of climbing onto the podium after some lackluster results.

Lowlight: In a season that saw far too many low points, the Bastogne GP was the lowest. At a time when he looked to be on the verge of climbing onto the overall podium all momentum gained in the first half of the season was halted by a double DNF on the Belgian soil.

Score: 5/10


Shaun Simpson

Shaun Simpson was definitely a lot stronger this year than he was in his rookie year aboard a 450f. Shaun was consistently in that second-tier of riders at World Championship level, but he didn’t secure as many wins in the Maxxis British Championship as I’m sure he would have liked to at the beginning of the year. So although it was a good year, I’m sure the Scotsman would have liked a little more success. He is definitely capable of better results, but his starts held him back all year long.

Highlight: Without a doubt, the highlight of Shaun’s year was the Swedish GP. With full factory machinery beneath him, he came just points away from the overall podium, which would have been his first in the class.

Lowlight: Although you could look at the Mexican GP, where Shaun dislocated his shoulder as the lowlight. I would say the German GP finale was where Simpson was most disappointing. With the clock ticking down on 2012, the Scotsman needed to prove his worth to potential teams for next season; but struggled to break the top-fifteen despite being on one of the most sought after bikes in the paddock.

Score: 6/10

Elliott Banks Browne

Elliott Banks Browne’s season saw many highs, but many lows also. Whilst EBB proved he was capable of running top-five speed in the GP series, his machine was not up to the task, unfortunately. The HM Plant KTM rider scored points in just six moto’s of the world championship throughout the year, although he did miss a considerable amount of rounds due to injuries. However! An MX2 Maxxis British Championship title definitely salvaged his season, as he fought extremely hard to claim it at the final round, despite not scoring points in two of the moto’s across that series.

Highlight: Undoubtedly, claiming the British MX2 title was one of the few highlights in Elliott’s season; it was certainly well earned as he proved to be the fastest rider out there at many different points.

Lowlight: From the ten DNF’s suffered at World Championship level, the most heartbreaking was certainly the first moto in Teutschenthal. With a moto podium in sight, EBB’s KTM gave up on him with just a few laps remaining, leaving him to once again face the long walk back to the pits without his KTM.

Score: 8/10

Mel Pocock

Every rider has a breakout year at some point, for Mel Pocock that year was 2012. It’s quite hard to fault anything that went on for Mel in 2012, not only did he almost go undefeated in the EMX2 series, he also proved himself to be a top ten contender in the MX2 World Championship. The only thing that Mel may look back on disappointed in a few years time is the fact that he failed to secure the MX2 Maxxis British Championship. But still, he put in a valiant effort and was unlucky to come up short, but second overall was still a career best.

Highlight: Lifting the EMX2 crown in Faenza, Italy was not only a highlight of Mel’s season, but also of his entire career thus far. The way he did was just as impressive, winning ten of the fourteen moto’s run.

Lowlight: It seemed Mel would clinch a second title at the British Championship finale. However, a mechanical failure in moto one saw his sixteen-point advantage wiped away and essentially cost him his first British title.

Score: 8/10

Brad Anderson

When Brad Anderson elected to head over to Australia for the 2012 season, most (including the Carlton Dry Honda team that acquired his signature) suspected he would jump right into title contention. However, it didn’t quite work out that way for Ando. Despite having a constant presence on the podium, he didn’t pick up as many moto wins as some expected him to. Still, it was a solid season for Brad all things considered. At the end of the season, Brad finished fourth in the final championship standings, just losing out on a tiebreak with Cody Cooper for third.

Highlight: An overall win at round three of the ‘Monster Energy MX Nationals’, a feat he failed to repeat, was definitely the highlight of 2012 for Brad as he proved to have the speed to beat established contenders like Josh Coppins.

Lowlight:  The lowlight in Brad’s season was most likely round eight held at the circuit of Appin. In the second moto Anderson tangled with another rider and twisted his ankle, which meant he had to miss moto three. Essentially, this left him with too big a deficit to overcome in the points chase.

Score: 6/10

Bryan Mackenzie

Bryan Mackenzie certainly had a lot of adversity to overcome on his way to what most will call his most successful year ever. After starting out with the Rockstar KTM team, Bryan moved to the Pendrich KTM team after his relationship with his original team turned sour. Then, he was called up as a replacement rider on the STR KTM team to ride a 450 at World Championship level, meaning he was changing between bikes on a weekly basis. Despite this, he was still able to secure third in the MX2 Maxxis British Championship as well as scoring points in all six motos he contested in the MX1 World Championship.

Highlight: On the domestic scene, the highlight of his year was undoubtedly the series finale in Little Silver, where he led moto’s on his way to second overall, his best result of the year.

Lowlight: You could say a mid-season team switch was the lowlight in Bryan’s season, however it ended up being for the better as his results drastically improved. Aside from that, the British Championship round at Hawkstone Park was particularly disappointing for the Scotsman as two DNF’s lost him a considerable amount of points.

Score: 7/10

Jamie Law

At the beginning of the season, Jamie Law found himself on the edge of the top ten in the Maxxis British Championship, who would of predicted he would turn into a regular points scorer at World Championship level? For Law, a replacement ride on the STR KTM squad was an opportunity to open the eyes of many top-level teams; he did just that. Not only was his progression evident in the World Championship, he soon became a firm fixture in and around the top five in the Maxxis British Championship, therefore proving himself to be a future contender.

Highlight: The GP of Europe, held at the circuit of Faenza was a particularly strong showing for J-Law, as he posted a pair of seventeenths; a personal best at World Championship level.

Lowlight: From a results standpoint, Canada Heights (the second round of the Maxxis British Championship) was the worst Law performed all year as he clearly struggled to break the top ten, which perhaps makes his improvement in the latter stages of the year even more impressive.

Score: 7/10

Kristian Whatley

Where did the PAR Honda and Kristian Whatley pairing go wrong? With Brad Anderson (the 2011 champ) out of the picture, the championship winning team (PAR) paired with the 2011 runner-up (Whatley) seemed destined for glory; however it most certainly did not pan out that way. There’s no telling what quite went wrong there, but for Kristian to not finish on the moto podium once is extremely surprising. It ended up not working out for both parties, and the two parted ways; but we still never got to see the type of results we expected from Whatley.

Highlight: The results might not reflect it, but Whatley’s ride on the Monster Energy Yamaha at the British GP proved to most that he did have top ten potential at World Championship level. Unfortunately injury ended his day but before that, his speed was a true representation of what he could do.

Lowlight: Well, to pinpoint one race in particular is tough, perhaps when he eventually parted ways with PAR Honda was the lowest point in his season, as he had to learn a new bike and a new team once again, which is never easy, especially mid-season.

Score: 3/10

Words by Lewis Phillips

MX Vice Editor || 25

One Comment

  1. tony

    nice report but i would personally think with the improvement of mel pockock and that the fact he only lost out on the british by mechanical failer he deserved a 10 out of 10. support to all our local riders

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