Last weekend the new Monster Mountain facility staged its first event, round two of the Michelin MX Nationals powered by Milwaukee, and what an action-packed weekend it was! With almost 300 hundred riders keen to get on the new track and a tremendous crowd for the MX Nationals, both enjoyed the two days of fast and hot motocross action.
Words: Dick Law for Michelin MX Nationals | Featured Image: Michelin MX Nationals
If you haven’t seen the images and videos on social media, Monster Mountain is a USA- styled track set on top of a Welsh mountain. With months and months of hard, back-breaking work that involved moving hundreds of tons of earth with machines the size of a small house, the Monster Mountain track was born, and the scale of the project was mind-blowing. Once you have climbed up the mountain’s side to the peak, you enter a landscape that could be easily mistaken for Pala or even the moon.
The Leatt Pro MX1s were mainly about three riders, the Crendon Fastrack Honda pairing of Conrad Mewse and Josh Gilbert and Cab Screens Crescent Yamaha rider Harri Kullas. The winner would come from one of these riders, who have dominated the home racing scene all year.
Kullas got the holeshot at the start of the first combined MX1 and MX2 pro race but was quickly passed a quarter of the way around the opening lap by Mewse and then his teammate Gilbert, who had gated third, slipped by Kullas before the end of the lap. While this happened, John Adamson (ASA United GasGas) got cross threaded in one of the deep ruts and dropped from fourth to tenth.
Adamson’s teammate Ivo Monticelli, who was making a comeback from an injury he suffered at round one of the Revo series, took full advantage of his teammate Adamson’s problems and took over his fourth place as Jason Meara (JM 10 Moto-cycle Racing Honda), Tom Grimshaw (Chambers Racing), Charlie Putnam (SC Sporthomes Husqvarna), Jamie Carpenter (Cab Screens Crescent Yamaha), and Dan Thornhill (Chambers Racing) all moved up a place at Adamson’s expense.
The leading four riders of Mewse, Gilbert, Kullas, and Monticelli stayed in the same running order to the end of the race as Meara and Grimshaw fought over fifth place. The two riders changed position many times till, on lap eight, Meara suffered a mechanical failure, leaving Grimshaw to make fifth all his own.
Adamson was on a charge after his crash and fought back to sixth at the end of the race, while Putnam came off his machine, relegating himself back to thirtieth place.
The immense new track, with its long start straights and big jumps, and even an adverse camber turn, was always going to disadvantage the smaller Apico MX2 machines over the power of the Leatt MX1 machines, with Glen McCormick (Chambers Racing) being the first of the MX2s around turn one, followed by Jamie Wainwright (WPH/SBE/Redline KTM) and Carlton Husband (Phoenix EvenStrokes Kawasaki) as race favourite Charlie Cole (Blades Bikes Kawasaki) suffering a mechanical problem that saw him at the back of the pack with a lot of work to do.
Wainwright had passed McCormick to lead the MX2s by the end of the first lap as Husband slipped back three places. But, as the race continued, Husband upped his pace and repassed six other riders on his way to tenth in the race, but first MX2 home.
McCormick put on a last-lap charge and snatched a place from the hands of Wainwright as the pair finished eleventh and thirteenth on the track but second and third in the MX2s, as for the unlucky Cole. He regrouped and fought his way back from thirtieth to finish fifteenth in the race but fourth MX2 and the last person on the lead lap.
Kullas once again got the holeshot at the start of race two, and once again, Gilbert found a way past him by the end of the lap. Behind them, it was Grimshaw, Meara, Monticelli, Mewse and Carpenter.
Grimshaw took his time in the opening laps and slipped back to sixth. Mewse slid past Monticelli on the second lap to take over third place, with Meara relegated to fifth.
While Grimshaw and Carpenter fought over sixth place, the running order of Gilbert from Kullas, Mewse, Monticelli, and Meara stayed the same till the very last lap when Mewse used the backmarkers to snatch second place from Kullas, and with it second overall for the meeting. (MX Vice was witness to the incident that cost Kullas second place, where two MX2 riders fell in a rut that Harri had already committed to, leaving the Yamaha man to haul his bike out of the massively deep inside rut as Conrad tiptoed around the outside of them, probably laughing his head off!).
On the Apico MX2 side of race two, Cole had gated tenth but had Wainwright in his wheel tracks and McCormick two places further back as they battled for the MX2 lead amongst the bigger MX1 machines.
After changing the lead with Wainwright several times, Cole established himself eighth on the track but first of the MX2s. Wainwright finished in tenth place for the second MX2, with McCormick third. Unfortunately, Husband didn’t get the start he wanted and didn’t seem to get going as he finished sixth MX2, behind Joe Brooks and Charlie Heyman (Tru7 Honda).
With three race wins and a second place, Ben Edwards won the RFX expert MX1s from race one winner and wildcard rider Josh Waterman. Jayden Ashwell (AJP Geartec Husqvarna) was third, with Jay McCrum missing a podium position.
Ashley Greedy (Darjen Contractors Gas Gas) won his first three races in the RFX MX2s, but while in the lead of his fourth and final race of the weekend, he was passed by Jimmy Margetson (AJP Geartec Husqvarna) on his way to second overall, with Mathew Bayliss (Darjen Contractors Gas Gas).
Wildcard rider Scott Elderfield won three out of his four races on his way to the Motoverde amateur MX1 overall, with race four winner Sean Wainwright (Fasteddy Racing Honda) second. Josh Greedy (Darjen Contractors Kawasaki) tied in third with Luke Mellows (Forty-Four Honda).
Wildcard riders took three out of the top four places in the Motoverde amateur MX2 class as Ben Clarke, with two wins and two third places, took the overall from race two winner Raife Broadley (723 Race Bikes Gas Gas) while the winner of the last race Wal Beaney was third, just five points behind the winner.
Tallon Aspden (LA Groundwork KTM), with three wins and a second place, won the Worx clubman MX1s from Darren Manning-Coe, who was second in all four of his races as Daniel Chapman, the winner of the last race of the weekend was third as Drew Lane just missed out on the podium by two points.
Sam Ongley (Fantic) won all four Spiral GFX clubman MX2 races from Matt Tolly and Charlie West.
In the youth Fly Futures MXY2s, Billy Askew (GTCi Revo Kawasaki) won all four races and remains unbeaten this year. Behind him, Domonic Newbury (426 Motorsport KTM) and Mackenzie Marshall (DK Offroad KTM) were separated by just three points as they finished the weekend in second and third overall.
Reece Jones (SJP Moto Husqvarna) was third in his first race of the weekend, but from then on won the other three for first overall in the Fly MXY125s. Jake Walker (Mr T Racing KTM), who didn’t finish out of the top four all weekend, was second, with a race-three low score pushing Tyla Hooley (Fantic) down to third.
Josh Vail (SJP Moto Husqvarna), with two race wins, a second and a third place, took the overall win in the Syntol Big Wheel 85s with Jamie Keith (MBR X&P KTM), who didn’t finish out of the top three all weekend, second and Charlie Richmond third.
With a couple of wins and two-second places, Joel Winstanley-Dawson (Techsource Racing KTM) won the Syntol small wheel 85s from race one winner Lucas Lee (Husqvarna) and Ollie Truman.
Top ten results
Leatt Pro MX1:
1 Josh Gilbert (Crendon Fastrack Honda) 22 + 25 = 47
2 Conrad Mewse (Crendon Fastrack Honda) 25 + 22 = 47
3 Harri Kullas (Cab Screens Crescent Yamaha) 20 + 20 = 40
4 Ivo Monticelli (ASA United Gas Gas) 18 + 18 = 36
5 Tom Grimshaw (Chambers Racing) 16 + 15 = 31
6 James Carpenter (Cab Screens Crescent Yamaha) 14 + 14 = 28
7 John Adamson (ASA United Gas Gas) 15 + 13 = 28
8 Dan Thornhill (Chambers Racing) 13 + 10 = 23
9 Callum Green (Tru7 Honda Academy Honda) 10 + 11 = 21
10 Stuart Edmonds (S Biggs Commercials Honda) 12 + 9 = 21
Apico Pro MX2:
1 Charlie Cole (Blades Bikes Kawasaki) 18 + 25 = 43
2 Jamie Wainwright (WPH/SBE/Redline KTM) 20 + 22 = 42
3 Glen McCormick (Chambers Racing) 22 + 20 = 42
4 Carlton Husband (Phoenix EvenStrokes Kawasaki) 25 + 15 = 40
5 Charlie Hayman (Tru7 Honda Academy Honda) 16 + 16 = 32
6 Joe Brooks (GRT Impact KTM) 13 + 18 = 31
7 Calum Mitchell (Lexa MX Husqvarna) 15 + 14 = 29
8 Bailey Johnston (Verde Shiloh KTM) 11 + 13 = 24
9 Ben Franklin (Chambers Husqvarna) 12 + 12 = 24
10 Lewis Hall (Fantic) 14 + 10 = 24
RFX Expert MX1:
1 Ben Edwards (KTM) 22 + 25 + 25 + 25 = 97
2 Josh Waterman (KTM) 25 + 22 + 22 + 20 = 89
3 Jayden Ashwell (AJP Geartec Husqvarna) 18 + 20 + 20 + 16 = 74
4 Jay McCrum (Honda) 15 + 15 + 15 + 18 = 63
5 Richard Bird (Allmoto Megabikes Yamaha) 16 + 16 + 16 + 14 = 62
6 Corrie Southwood (Langmead Kawasaki) 5 + 14 + 12 = 22 = 53
7 Ryan Thomson (Drysdale MC Gas Gas) 14 + 13 + 13 + 7 = 47
8 Josh Canton (Concept CCF KTM) 13 + 9 + 11 + 13 = 46
9 Josh Peters (Jim Aim KTM) 20 + 0 + 18 + 0 = 38
10 Aaron Patstone (Gas Gas) 9 + 8 + 10 + 10 = 37
RFX Expert MX2:
1 Ashley Greedy (Darjen Contractors Gas Gas) 25 + 25 + 25 + 22 = 97
2 Jimmy Margetson (Husqvarna) 15 + 20 + 15 + 25 = 75
3 Mathew Bayliss (Darjen Contractors Gas Gas) 20 + 22 + 14 + 13 = 69
4 Uldis Freibergs (Lexa MX Husqvarna) 16 + 15 + 16 + 20 = 67
5 Kieran Banks (Yamaha) 18 + 13 + 18 + 18 = 67
6 Henry Siddiqui (Husqvarna) 13 + 14 + 20 + 16 = 63
7 Josh Colman (Holeshot MX KTM) 22 + 16 + 22 + 0 = 60
8 Aaron Ongley (723 Racebikes Gas Gas) 10 + 12 + 9 + 14 = 45
9 Niall Cregan (CCM Motorcycles Husqvarna) 5 + 9 + 11 + 15 = 40
10 Callum Murfitt (Southside MMX KTM) 7 + 11 + 10 + 12 = 40
Motoverde amateur MX1:
1 Scott Elderfield (Kawasaki) 25 + 25 + 25 + 22 = 97
2 Sean Wainwright (Fasteddy Racing Honda) 20 + 18 + 20 + 25 = 83
3 Josh Greedy (Darjen Contractors Kawasaki) 22 + 20 + 18 + 20 = 80
4 Luke Mellows (Forty Four Honda) 18 + 22 + 22 + 18 = 80
5 Jamie Dixon (P&S Yamaha) 14 + 16 + 12 + 16 = 58
6 Joshua McCorkell (McCorkell Racing Husqvarna) 16 + 13 + 11 + 14 = 54
7 Ryan Osborn (Evotech KTM) 11 + 14 + 15 + 13 = 53
8 Callum Gordon (MX Revive Gas Gas) 12 + 15 + 13 + 10 = 50
9 Brad Thornhill (LMC Plant KTM) 9 + 12 + 14 + 12 = 47
10 Jacob Bowden (VMX Motocross Club KTM) 10 + 11 + 10 + 15 = 46
Motoverde amateur MX2:
1 Ben Clark (Gas Gas) 25 + 20 + 25 + 20 = 90
2 Raife Broadley (723 Race Bikes Gas Gas) 18 + 25 + 22 + 22 = 87
3 Wal Beaney (KTM) 22 + 18 + 20 + 25 = 85
4 Jayden Murphy (KTM) 16 + 22 + 16 + 18 = 72
5 Shaun Springer (Gas Gas) 20 + 16 + 18 + 16 = 70
6 Charlie Palmer (Apex Gas Gas) 14 + 15 + 13 + 15 = 57
7 Dan Brough (Rutzz Yamaha) 12 + 12 + 7 + 14 = 45
8 Alex Buchanan (Mace Tech Tuning KTM) 11 + 14 + 12 + 8 = 45
9 Jonathan Rodrick-Evans (KTM) 7 + 7 + 14 + 12 = 40
10 Leon Ongley (Fantic) 15 + 8 + 6 + 11 = 40
Worx Sports Insurance Clubman MX1:
1 Tallon Aspden (LA Groundwork KTM) 25 + 25 + 25 + 20 = 95
2 Darren Manning-Coe (Fabrican KTM) 22 + 22 + 22 + 22 = 88
3 Daniel Chapman (KTM) 15 + 18 + 18 + 25 = 76
4 Drew Lane (Lanes Construction Gas Gas) 20 + 20 + 16 + 18 = 74
5 Kalem Hicks (British Army MX Team Husqvarna) 16 + 16 + 15 + 15 = 62
6 Billy Saunders (WMS Commercials Honda) 18 + 0 + 20 + 16 = 54
7 Ryan Davis (KTM) 10 + 12 + 14 + 12 = 48
8 Ashley Senior (Honda) 11 + 14 + 9 + 13 = 47
9 Josh Young (KTM) 14 + 10 + 11 + 11 = 46
10 Josh Bailey (Chris Bailey Landscaping KTM) 6 + 7 + 10 + 14 = 37
Spiral Clubman MX2:
1 Sam Ongley (Fantic) 25 + 25 + 25 + 25 = 100
2 Matt Tolley (426 Motorsport KTM) 20 + 22 + 22 + 16 = 80
3 Charlie West (Tim Feeney KTM) 11 + 16 + 16 + 22 = 65
4 Bradley Johnstone (Moto Connection Kawasaki) 16 + 15 + 20 + 9 = 60
5 Chris Corthorn (Kawasaki) 10 + 20 + 9 + 20 = 59
6 George Boyce (Design Scaffolding KTM) 12 + 13 + 13 + 18 = 56
7 Matthew Pocock (MGP Steel Erection KTM) 0 + 18 + 18 + 15 = 51
8 Richy Roberts (Rutzz Racing Yamaha) 9 + 6 + 15 + 14 = 44
9 Max Flint (Planet Moto KTM) 14 + 9 + 15 + 14 = 44
10 Jordan Ambler (City Wide KTM) 18 + 12 + 0 + 11 = 44
Fly Racing MXY125:
1 Billy Askew (GTCi Revo Kawasaki) 25 + 25 + 25 + 25 = 100
2 Domonic Newbury (426 Motorsport KTM) 20 + 15 + 20 + 20 = 75
3 Mckenzie Marshall (DK Offroad KTM) 22 + 10 + 22 + 18 = 72
4 George Hopkins (HJA Motorcycles Gas Gas) 18 + 14 + 16 + 14 = 62
5 Jak Taylor (Lexa MX Husqvarna) 9 + 20 + 10 + 22 = 61
6 Fin Wilson (Husqvarna) 16 + 16 + 14 + 15 = 61
7 Bayliss Utting (Trell Contractors Honda) 14 + 22 + 18 + 4 = 58
8 Liam Bennett (Apico GMR Husqvarna) 4 + 18 + 15 + 16 = 53
9 Kayde Rayns (Scott Motorsport Yamaha) 15 + 13 + 12 + 12 = 52
10 Kyron Carron (LC Construction KTM) 12 + 8 + 11 + 13 = 44
Fly Racing MXY125:
1 Reece Jones (SJP Moto KTM) 20 + 25 + 25 + 25 = 95
2 Jake Walker (Mr T Racing KTM) 18 + 20 + 22 + 22 = 82
3 Tyla Hooley (Fantic) 22 + 22 + 10 + 20 = 74
4 Freddie Gardiner (Matt Gardiner MX KTM) 25 + 11 + 12 + 18 = 66
5 Wesley McGavin (KTM) 13 + 18 + 18 + 16 = 65
6 Harrison Greenough (Simpson KTM) 14 + 16 + 16 + 12 = 58
7 Chester Hyde (Matt Pope MC Gas Gas) 15 + 15 + 13 + 13 = 56
8 Shane Jones (KTM) 16 + 14 + 14 + 10 = 54
9 Ollie Bubb (3 Flo Yamaha) 11 + 13 + 15 + 14 = 53
10 Jack Meara (Honda) 0 + 12 + 20 + 15 = 47
Syntol Big Wheel 85:
1 Josh Vail (SJP Moto KTM) 25 + 22 + 20 + 25 = 92
2 Jamie Keith (MBR X&P KTM) 20 + 25 + 22 + 22 = 89
3 Charlie Richmond (KTM) 22 + 20 + 25 + 20 = 87
4 Lewis Spratt (KTM) 16 + 18 + 15 + 16 = 65
5 Alfie Geddes-Green (Matt Pope MC Gas Gas) 18 + 8 + 18 + 18 = 62
6 Harry Lee (GRT Impact KTM) 14 + 16 + 13 + 15 = 58
7 Blake Ward-Clarke (GRT Impact KTM) 13 + 14 + 16 + 14 = 57
8 Reegan Rogers (Husqvarna) 8 + 13 + 10 + 13 = 44
9 Finlay Pickering (Mr T’s Racing KTM) 12 + 5 + 14 + 11 = 42
10 Maison Jones (Paul Green Tyres KTM) 9 + 11 + 9 + 12 = 41
Syntol Small Wheel 85:
1 Joel Winstanley-Dawson (Techsource Racing KTM) 22 + 22 + 25 + 25 = 94
2 Lucas Lee (Husqvarna) 25 + 15 + 22 + 22 = 84
3 Ollie Truman (KTM) 16 + 20 + 18 + 18 = 72
4 Archie Butterfield (KTM) 18 + 16 + 20 + 16 = 70
5 Charlie Ward (KTM) 15 + 14 + 16 + 15 = 60
6 Author Moore (3 Flo Yamaha) 20 + 18 + 0 + 0 = 58
7 Tyler Cooper (KTM) 0 + 0 + 15 + 13 = 28
8 Chad Prince (SC Sporthomes Husqvarna) 0 + 13 + 0 + 14 = 27
9 Olly Waters (Matt Gardner MX KTM) 0 + 25 + 0 + 0 = 25
Chambers was ready to quit British Motocross until the NPC was launched.
Chambers Racing in for NPC
We are pleased to announce that one of the most passionate and respected team owners in the UK has signed his entire team up for the NPC (Nora Pro Championship). Tim Chambers has been a staple in British Motocross for decades and his enthusiasm inspires others. Tim has a large team of riders who he will be supporting once more in 2024 but his focus in MX1 will be Dan Thornhill. In MX2 Time has a number of riders including: Sam Nunn, Alfie Jones, Glenn McCormick, Ben Franklin, Henry Siddiqui.
Dan Thornhill has raced in the EMX Open class previously, so is no stranger to racing against European riders and some of their best tracks. Sam Nunn, Alfie Jones, recent Irish MXoN team member Glenn McCormick,
The Chambers team will contest all six rounds in 2024, with all six riders getting a taste of European action once more, without having to spend €6000 for entry. The championship will offer teams an affordable way to race in Europe over the coming years whilst racing some of the best tracks in the UK.
Clinton Putnam – Series Manager
It’s great to have Tim on board for 2024. We share a passion for all things British Motocross and I can relate to his enthusiasm in supporting the next generation. The series will offer teams like Tim and mine a real opportunity to get maximum exposure for our partners with the media platform it offers. When speaking to sponsors for 2024 they are all focused on the same thing, how can their brand and products be given as much exposure as possible.
Tim Chambers – Chambers Racing Team Owner
Without this Championship I was ready to quit the British motocross scene. I’ve invested so much time and money into British riders and the Championships over the last 40 years and was ready to jump ship and do Dutch, German and European rounds of MXGP’s. Nobody was enjoying the British scene, the tracks are the same week in and week out, racing is spread out over vast timetables and people lose interest. So we’re now looking forward to fast flowing meetings on good tracks, with good prize money for the competitors. Bring on the NPC. Thanks to Clinton and all the team.
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.
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Grimshaw and Barr join the new-look Apico Honda race team
2024 will see the new-look Apico Honda race team with a lineup of Martin Barr and Tom Grimshaw aboard Honda CRF450R 2024 machinery in the MX1 class at the Dirtstore British Motocross Championship and the Motul Fastest 40 British Motocross Championship as well as other selected race events.
Words: Press Release | Lead Image: Apico Honda
The partnership between Apico and Honda Motorcycles UK Off Road is now forged for many years to come. After negotiations, the deal was done between Apico’s Directors Dylan Brown and Anna Eriksson with Honda’s Graham Foster-Vigors, which will create synergies between the brands not only on the racetrack but in business too.
Dylan: “I’ve personally been a Honda enthusiast since purchasing my first race bike over thirty years ago and it is one of the main brands I’ve been involved with in my racing career. It’s been a dream of mine to run our own Honda race team so after the deal put to myself and Anna from Honda UK, it was too good an opportunity to turn down. We have an MX1-only deal, aboard Honda’s CRF450R model, a fantastic bike known for its speed, agility and performance. The chance came along to sign Tom Grimshaw, a rider we have sponsored since he started out on 65s several years ago and who is developing into a fantastic professional rider. Martin has many years of experience and showed last season that he’s still able to compete at the top level of British Motocross. I feel we have the perfect blend to make an assault on the British Championships.”
Graham: “I’ve noticed the work and visibility Dylan and his team have put in over the years and we are excited to announce a partnership between Apico Factory Racing and Honda UK, two companies that supply products, support and expertise to the UK Dealer Network in all Off-Road Sporting activities. With both Tom and Martin, I believe as people we have two great ambassadors for the Honda brand who are capable of great results, and I hope to see them in the hunt for podiums next season and welcome the Apico team onboard with their assault on the UK British Championship series.”
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