Top-flight motocross returns to the Canada Heights race circuit near Swanley in Kent when round three of the Red Bull Pro Nationals roll up at the historic track this weekend.
Britain’s biggest, brightest motocross series, the Red Bull Pro Nationals feature classes for the country’s top youth and adult riders over an action-packed weekend of bar-banging racing.
In the pro divisions no fewer than four winners at world championship level line up in a truly international field that features big names from Holland, Estonia, France, South Africa and Ireland as well as a full quota of home-grown heroes. Add to that the sweet smell of pre-mix generously provided by the stroker pilots of the British 2-Stroke championship and every racing preference is catered for.
In MX1 six different nationalities fill the top six berths with Scot Stephen Sword on the Tyco Suzuki by TAS leading by seven points from Lanes Kawasaki’s Dutch star Marc de Reuver who in turn has a three-point advantage over Swordy’s Irish team-mate Martin Barr. Next is Buildbase Honda’s flying Frenchman Nicolas Aubin who’s just 16 points off the leader’s pace but comfortably clear of Estonian Gert Krestinov on the MVR-D Honda with Josh Waterman aboard the Dyer and Butler Suzuki the first English rider in the standings back in sixth.
“I love Canada Heights,” says Swordy. “It can get pretty brutal out there towards the end of the day which suits me down to the ground. I’ve won there plenty of times in the past and I’m determined to go there and defend my championship lead as the Red Bull Pro Nationals title is very important to me.”
MX2 is another international affair with Emberson Yamaha’s new French signing Steven Lenoir currently leading the way, 16 points ahead of South African former champ Neville Bradshaw who’s campaigning a potent Evo-Tech Stevens Honda. Lenoir’s Irish team-mate Graeme Irwin holds down third in the standings with last year’s Rookie champion Nathan Watson in a fantastic fourth in only his first year in the adult ranks.
The MX1 and MX2 pros race together in two 25-minute plus two laps motos on Sunday and the uphill start straight definitely gives the 450cc pilots an advantage although the technical nature of the circuit – especially after it begins to cut up – means precision riding can win out over brute horsepower.
Down in the ranks of the Red Bull Elite Youth Cup there’s all to play for. After the opening two rounds at Landrake and FatCat, 65cc pace-setter Tom Grimshaw is already putting daylight between himself and the rest of the field following his five-race maximum in Cornwall and second overall in the Doncaster sand. After finishing off the podium at Landrake, Christopher Mills came good to grab gold at FatCat to move into second place tied with Scott Russell who’s finished third overall both times out. But the pair are already 59 points behind Tom and as well as closing the gap to him they need to watch out for the rapid Rossi Beard who’s only a further 14 points adrift in fourth.
It’s a lot tighter in the SW85cc class where despite finishing off the podium at the series opener Keenan Hird currently leads Marcus Phelps by 23 points following a dominant display in Doncaster. Drew Warren holds down third just ahead of Speedy Scot Alexander Brown.
The BW85cc division has already become a two-horse race with Josh Gilbert and Todd Kellett slugging it out at the top of the table with Josh holding a slender eight-point lead thanks to 1-3 overall finishes compared to Hot Toddy’s 2-4 card. Will Keogh is in third after winning at FatCat following a shocker at Landrake but he’s 90 points off the leader’s pace.
It’s even tighter in the Rookie class for 14 to 18-year-olds with just 17 points covering a top three lead by Dan Thornhill from Jake Millward and last year’s BW85cc champ Ben Watson. Dan’s yet to win a round but his habit of taking the final race victory of the weekend has landed him two second overall finishes and a nine-point lead over Jake with Ben, who was a sensational overall winner at Fat Cat, eight points further back.
Away from the on-track action there will be BMX demos with two-time world dirt jumping champ Kye Forte and MTB trials with Chris Doney. Sunday will see appearances from children’s TV favourites including Fireman Sam and Peppa Pig plus FMX action from Fredrik ‘Frog’ Berggren and his freestyle team. And there will also be a Red Bull Pro Nationals Mission for visitors to complete with a tour of the Red Bull F1 factory up for grabs.
MCF licence holders who produce their licences at the gate can take advantage of great savings with adult admission just £10 on the day and youths only £3.
Canada Heights is situated in Button Street, Swanley, just off junction 3 of the M25. The postcode for the track is BR8 8DX.
For more information go to www.redbullpronationals.com