The off-season is a time to reflect on everything that has transpired in the last eight months of racing, both the positive and the negative. This year, we have certainly been treated to both the good and the bad on the domestic scene; whether it was because of what took place on UK soil, or because of what happened to our homegrown riders racing abroad. With so many positive things happening in British Motocross throughout the past year, here is my top ten moments:
1. Searle’s Sweep at Matterley – We all got we wanted on that weekend in August, didn’t we? We so desperately wanted to see the Union Jack hoisted high above the podium; we got exactly that because of one man, Tommy Searle. It is most certainly a story many will tell for years to come; the day a British rider defeated the world’s best, on British soil. It’s not as if he had it easy either, which made the victory even more impressive to watch. With the sun beating down on the soil of Matterley Basin it was certainly a perfect weekend, partly because of Tommy’s GP win.
2. Domestic Title Fights – The Maxxis British Championship has long been considered one of the most prestigious domestic series in the world. Fortunately, we have two very credible series to boast about; the Red Bull Pro Nationals has swiftly become an extremely impressive series also. The two certainly provided us with some great racing this year, with a handful of the fights for a domestic title coming down to the final round, which left us privy to some great racing.
3. Mel’s Success Abroad – Coming into 2012, Tommy Searle had a lot of pressure on his shoulders to capture a world title for himself, and Great Britain. Although Searle came up a bit short of his goal, an unlikely hero emerged to clinch the UEM EMX2 series, Mel Pocock. Mel was extremely dominant in that series; he was very impressive at every round. Although the EMX2 title might not be as prestigious as the MX2 championship, it was a great success for Mel and the UK. It has been a while seen we have had a homegrown rider have international title success.
4. The Crowd – Despite the treacherous weather conditions we experienced this year, the crowd turnout at British motocross events wasn’t terrible, in fact it was quite good! One thing our nation is notoriously known for is being the most supportive of our riders; I think we lived up to that title again this year – especially, at the British GP. You could track our riders’ progress by just listening to where the crowd were roaring, whether it was Tommy Searle, or James Cottrell the support delivered was phenomenal.
5. Shaun’s Fight as a Factory Rider – Since the MX1 class was introduced in 2004, British riders haven’t had a great deal of success in the class at world level. With this mind, how great was it to see a British rider take the reins of a full factory 450f again? The last British rider to climb onto the overall podium at an MX1 GP was Billy Mackenzie back in 2007, believe it or not. So, to see Shaun Simpson challenging for podiums on a Monster Energy Yamaha (one of the most competitive bikes in the pits) at different points was great. Especially his ride at the Swedish GP! It definitely was a great thing for British motocross as it proved that we have competitive riders in all classes.
6. MX in the Mainstream Media – We’ve all faced the uphill battle of trying to convince someone not familiar with motocross; just how awesome the sport is, haven’t we? So, to see some of our greatest riders featured in the mainstream media over the course of the year was great for the progression of the sport in this country, I feel. At one point in the year there was an interview with Tommy Searle, and not too long ago there was a profile on Mel Pocock’s dominant EMX2 season. Also, the spotlight was put on some of our youth riders! In other nations this is normal, but over here it’s a rare occurrence. Hence, why it was great to see!
7. Foreign Talent – Earlier I alluded to the fact that the Maxxis British Championship is one of the most prestigious domestic championships in the world. One of the main reasons for this is the amount of foreign riders that contest the full series. 2012 was no exception; a large amount of GP riders travelled to the best tracks in Britain at different points in the year. The MX1 class at the Maxxis British Championship hosts many foreign riders. What’s great about this is that having Belgians (Strijbos) and Estonians (Krestinov) competing in the series attracts media attention from countries outside of the UK, which is great for the series.
8. Wilson’s Supercross Victories – Although the year didn’t pan out the way we envisioned it would for Dean Wilson, it was still great to see him standing atop the podium at a few AMA Supercross rounds. I feel like it’s important for us to have top British riders competing in all corners of the world; so it’s great to have Dean tackle the American scene! Along with Anderson and Mackenzie competing in Australia, the UK was definitely well represented all over the globe, which again proves just how competitive our nation is when it comes to motocross.
9. MXGP Festival – Matterley Basin was the sight of the first MXGP Festival, which obviously turned out to be a great success. Not only did the event help the sport grow in the UK, it also had an impact on motocross worldwide. It was certainly a milestone in British motocross to see the stars of the past, present and future all together in one place; luckily we were the first to experience it. You can probably tell by the amount of times it is referenced too in this piece, but undoubtedly the British GP was the highlight of British motocross this year, just like it is every other year.
10. The Youth – One thing that the MXGP festival referenced earlier enabled us fans to do was witness the stars of tomorrow. These riders are also showcased too us at a variety of different domestic events; namely the Maxxis British Championship and Red Bull Pro Nationals. Both series are able to showcase the younger riders, and they always seem to provide us with racing that is just as good as what we witness in the MX1 and MX2 class! The exciting action witnessed on track means that the youth riders, whether they be on a 65 or a 250f, always attract attention from a good amount of fans. It is always good to get a sneak peek at the riders that could one day be standing atop the GP podium.
Words by Lewis Phillips
Picture by Jemma MX