PREVIEW: Acerbis Amateur Nationals get underway at FatCat

This weekend sees the beginning of the UK’s 2023 Acerbis Amateur Nationals Series at Fatcat Motoparc near Doncaster. Arran Murphy from the Acerbis Nationals sent us this preview!

Words: Arran Murphy – Press Release | Images: Dialled In Visual/Matthew Rudd Photography

It only feels like last weekend when we rocked up to Fatcat Motoparc for the finale of the 2022 Acerbis Amatuer Nationals series but, all of a sudden, we’re only a few days away from kicking off the 2023 season. Fatcats is back to being the host venue of the opener, followed by a trip over the Scottish border to Duns. The legendary Hawkstone Park hosts round three while Haverigg, Farleigh Castle, Culham and Cusses Gorse round out a 7 round season full of top class racing action.

Damon Strydom will be in the hunt for 125cc honours at FatCat

In the 125cc 2-stroke class, 2022 winner Rob Holyoake has moved onto new ventures leaving the door open for a whole host of contenders. Damon Strydom is top of the list having finished second to Holyoake by a mere three points in 2022 and will be looking to go one step better for 2023. Chris Povey and former champions of the class Ash Harland and Stu Owen will be chomping at the bit to claim the crown. Back that up with newcomer to the class Harry Linton, young guns Ryan Waggott and Jake Walker, plus former Bridgestone masters 125 champ Troy Willerton and you have a recipe for some top notch racing.

James Dent will feature in the Open 2-Stroke battle

If you thought the 125 class was packed full of contenders the 250 Open 2-stroke category is just as competitive starting with runner up in 2022 James Dent. The always upbeat Cumbrian managed to claim 3 moto wins last year and will be looking to overhaul that tally in 2023 aboard a Fantic this time around. Former EMX250 podium finisher Josh Spinks is surely the biggest name in the class for 2023, however the Acerbis Nationals always attracts fast riders and throw into the mix three-time Acerbis champ (2x 125, 1x MX2) Dylan Spencer, flying Scotsman Ryan McLean, Lee Harrison, Rory Jones, James Hanscomb, Keelan Hope, Joe Jones and Liam Gale, and you’ve got another group full of talent fighting for wins and podiums each weekend.

The top 3 from the MX2 class have vacated into different classes and championships leaving the door wide open. Series regular Mitchell Meadows was fourth in the series last year and will be confident on improving on that result in 2023 but will have some serious competition in the form of former AMCA British championship regulars like Cory McShane, Zac Stealey and George Clarke. McShane, Stealey and Clarke all have made appearances as wildcards in the past but signed up for the full series this year and will definitely be in the mix. 2021 Junior Open champ Alfie Calvert made huge strides in 2022 as a rookie and will also be in the hunt for podiums and wins along with Lee Sealey, Joel Fisher, Jake Winnard and Jordan Hearn.

Corey Hockey will fight for honours in the MX1 Acerbis series in 2023.

The MX1 category is always mega competitive and 2023 is no different with no less than 7 previous champions entered for the full series. Reigning champion Jack Beniston is looking to defend his title but isn’t going to have it easy as former MX1 champions James Hutchinson, Ed Briscoe, and Andy Wilson will be hot on his heels. Reigning 250 Open 2 stroke champ Corey Hockey has switched both classes and machinery, and will be right up there along with 2014 125 champ Cory Nemeth and former 2 time MX2 champ Scott Hamilton. Throw into the mix the likes of 2022 contender Luke Meredith, Simon Booth, Bradley Flagg, Dan Parry and Glen Phillips plus a gate full of riders looking to jump into the top five and we will have a championship full of exciting racing.

In the Ladies category 2022 was a breakout year for Grace Richards who had a close season-long scrap with Kathryn Booth, Richards eventually coming out on top. Even though Booth isn’t signed up for 2023 it won’t be plain sailing for the Honda pilot as Scottish KTM rider Elaine MacEachern has come back out of retirement and is registered for the year, already showing great speed. She even wildcarded at Pontrilas last year and took an overall victory, proving that she has to be a serious contender for championship honours. Former 2 time champion Nadiya Jones will also be in the hunt while Rebecca Newman, Grace Packman and Taylor Scott will be looking at snatching a win or two throughout the season.

Reigning Vets over 40 champion Lee Martin is signed up for battle once again and will be fired up to defend his title. One of the favourites for stealing to crown has to be former Grand Prix rider Ryan Voase. Voase missed 2 rounds in 2022 but took the most wins in the season and finished 5th at the end of the year giving him a good benchmark to claim back the title he won back in 2021. Danny Tollett will be a podium threat at each round while Alan Pearce moves into the class after being a 125 contender for many years. Neil Griffiths and Craig Chamberlain have been in and around the top five for the past couple of years and can’t be counted out once again in 2023.

With the past 2 champions of the Vets Over 50 class, Brian Wheeler and Chris Brown not registering for 2023 there will be a new winner of the class and Cumbrian duo Richard Miller and Ewan Johnston have to be right up there as class favourites. The pair both took the holeshot and led laps in 2022, and not many can say that especially with Wheeler having been in the race too. Paul Willis returns to the series again while Simon Bonsor moves into the class from the over 40s and both contenders are always in and around the top three. Throw into the mix Dave Hopkins, Brian Fraser, Adrian Lewis and Rob Lewis who finished 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th respectively in 2022 and all return for another run at a title, while Adrian Bradley returns to the series after being a contender in the Over 40 class in previous years, meaning the top 5 places are going to be heavily fought for.

With the top five from 2022 being moved out of the class the Junior Open category is always a hotly contested affair with new guys coming in each year and any one of ten guys having a shot at a race victory. This year is no different and with regulars from 2022 signed up once again like Taylor Misslebrook, Stefan Robson, Dale Lyons and James Newby all just outside that top five last year they’ll have a season long fight on their hands to claim the crown. Kane Rumble is no stranger to the series and will be looking to stand on the top step as well as Riley Voase, son of Ryan, who wildcarded the last 2 rounds of 2022 and managed to claim a moto victory at the finale showing he has to be considered a title threat. Mitch Brooks also was a wildcard that claimed a moto win at Hawkstone last year so should be in the mix along with Austin Mowbray and Dan Nevitt both no stranger to the series. As always with a new season there’s a few surprises so you can guarantee the racing will be as frantic as ever.

Round 1 kicks off on Saturday at 9am with practice and then straight into racing at approximately 10am so be sure to get there and to watch some bar banging action.