The Red Bull Pro Nationals head to Skelder Bank near Whitby for round four of the 2013 series with MX1 championship leader Kristian Whatley (MBO Sport Yamaha) defending an unbeaten three-from-three record at the head of a top class field led by two ferociously fast GP-winning Frenchmen.
The popular 23-year-old from Dorset has shown incredible speed and consistency to top the podium at the opening three rounds of the championship – including a three-moto clean sweep last time out at Culham Park at the end of June – and has won six from nine races to lead by 32 points.
The bad news for his opposition – led by former MX3 vice world champ Milko Potisek (2B Yamaha) and Nico Aubin (Buildbase Honda) – is that Kristian’s a big fan of the spectacular circuit.
“I like Whitby,” says Kristian. “I go well there and it should be good. I’m just taking it race by race at the moment – I’ll start thinking about the championship in a couple of rounds time.”
Last year’s event was rained off which means defending champ Aubin has yet to race there – although you can be sure he’s done his research.
“I’ve never ridden Whitby but I will try and find some videos and see what the track looks like,” says Nico who was suffering from illness at round three but still made it onto the podium. “I will be much, much better there than at Culham and try for the win.”
For an out-and-out racer like Milko a new track represents a new challenge and the Frenchman is relishing the prospect of racing Whitby.
“I have never ridden there,” he says, “but I was looking on YouTube and it looks sweet. I like all types of track – natural, sand, jumpy, everything! And they announce the weather so I am excited. I have to take some points back from Kristian this weekend as his lead is getting too big.”
Frenchman Steven Lenoir (Evotech Stevens KTM) keeps the series’ strong Gallic flavour going in MX2 where he holds a 15-point advantage at the top. But after going 1-1 at Landrake and Weston he slipped to third at Culham behind former champion Martin Barr (VMXMOTO.com/Nutt Travel KTM) and defending champ Nev Bradshaw (Putoline Honda).
After missing the first two rounds through injury Martin is out of the championship running but Nev holds a strong second and while Steven is another Whitby newbie, the South African knows the track well.
“Whitby’s definitely one of the best tracks in the country,” reckons Nev. “The jumps are awesome – it’s such a fun track. It’s more like an American track with all the jumps and they’ve made a new layout there and it flows really well. I think there will be some good racing – it’s one of the tracks where you can actually race the 450s on a 250. It’s quite equal and I’m looking forward to it and hopefully pulling some more points back on Steven.”
In the Rookies division of the Red Bull Elite Youth Cup Dan Thornhill (Grittenham MX KTM) took full advantage of an injury carried by early series leader James Harrison (Lanes Kawasaki) to move into a 15-point lead while down in the BW85s local hero Jay Hague (ISL KTM) holds a 37-point advantage over Mitchell Lewis (MX World Honda).
It’s tighter in the SW85s where Charlie Cole (KTM) and last year’s 65cc champ Tom Grimshaw (Hardcore KTM) are expected to continue their duel with Charlie currently leading by 17 points. The 65s class has seen three different winners so far this year with Gary Ashley – who topped the podium at the opening round – maintaining a 37-point lead from Jack Carpenter thanks to more consistent results.
Former GP rider Lewis Gregory sits at the top of the 125cc 2-Stroke Expert class while two overall wins this season have helped Rob Holyoake to the top of the Junior standings. The 250cc 2-Stroke Expert class is being dominated by Josh Waterman with Jack Gregory leading the Juniors.
Admission is just £13 for adults, £3 for children and £30 for a family of four when booked online before midnight on Thursday. On the gate admission is still a bargain £16 for adults, £4 for children and £36 for families.
Skelder Bank will be signposted from the A171 west of Whitby. Postcode for satnav users is YO21 1TN.
Pic © Nuno Laranjeira