James Dunn was the only rider to take wins off the dominant European 125 champion Tim Gasjer last season. That fact in itself puts Dunn on the map as one of the best British prospects coming through the ranks.
Some DNFs limited Dunn to fourth in the 125 European series but his wins showed that when everything is good, he is up there with the best.
One of Dunn’s race wins came at the British GP and it was there that Dunn announced his name to the British motocross world, it was a stunning victory in front of the home crowd and that feeling will no doubt spur Dunn on to try and replicate it at GP level.
And it is at GP level where Dunn will step straight into in 2013 forgoing the EMX2 class. Re-signed with Roger Magee’s HM Plant KTM team, Dunn will undertake a full GP season including trips to Qatar and Thailand, but he will still be able to gauge himself against Slovenian Gasjer who also makes his first foray into full time GP racing.
It will, of course, be a learning year for the talented Englishman but it could also be the year that makes Dunn into the rider he will become.
His first year won’t be easy, but it will be through these difficult times of adjustment to such a competitive field and an 18 round series all over the world that he will learn the most. He will be racing against the best in the business on all terrains and it will be then that Dunn will really find where he is. Hopefully his confidence can remain high and he can fight hard to get on terms with the more experienced riders and score some precious points.
He is in the perfect team to do it.
Roger Magee’s KTM team won both British titles last year and previously brought Shaun Simpson from just trying to score points in the MX2 class tight through to the podium. They get the best out of their riders and the rehabilitation of Kevin Strijbos to National Champion and GP race winner as well as EBB’s first Maxxis British title are yet further evidence of that.
The small but professional team is the ideal environment for Dunn to find his potential and being teammates with defending British Champion Elliott Banks –Browne, who has been in Dunn’s shoes, will prove to be invaluable.
Both parties already know each other so Dunn won’t be under pressure to be the lead rider and get the top results, but he will be expected to take it all in and learn from every event he has been at.
The Kevin Windham like smooth riding style will hopefully lead to a controlled and steady rise to the top and all being well no major injuries to thwart his progress. Dunn has something special and in the next couple of years we will discover just how far it will take him.
The main indicator this year might not be in the GPs but the British Championship. Dunn knows the tracks and although there is tough competition with the likes of EBB, Martin Barr, Stephen Sword, Graeme Irwin and many more, Dunn will be expected to start getting among these guys and battling for top five positions, battling at the front with these guys will bring Dunn along even more and hopefully give him the confidence to take back to the Grand Prix.
Young James Dunn is just commencing his GP career but he is the first of a new wave of young British hopefuls trying to make it at the highest level. We wish him all the best and hope that he can lead the way for a new wave of MXGP front runners from the UK!
Article and Photo by Jonathan McCready