Although most eyes are firmly focused on the many Motocross series currently wrapping up worldwide, at each of the events there is an underlying story. Something you don’t see on TV, or even in person; are the riders jumping from team to team, fighting for a ride for next year. In times as tough as this, no rider is safe and whilst some wish to look for the best ride possible; some just fight for the chance to live their dream for one more year. Speculation always arises at this time of year as to who is going where, so I thought I’d join in and breakdown some of the rumours and confirmed moves as to where some British riders are heading in 2013.
Both Tommy Searle and Dean Wilson – undoubtedly the best of the current crop of British riders – have their deals locked up relatively early ahead of 2013. Both are anticipating a move to the 450 class, but for Searle despite the change to engine size he will be returning to familiar surroundings. Tommy has signed with the CLS Kawasaki team, the same program he has been a part of for the last two years. Although he did come very close to signing with the Honda World Motocross team, it sounds as though Monster Energy were the deciding factor as to where he would end up. You see; Searle really loves the lifestyle that comes with being a Monster athlete. However, the Honda World Motocross team does not allow riders to have personal energy drink sponsors, as they would rather have a team deal. Something they must have overcome if the rumours that they’ve signed Max Nagl are true, which look increasingly likely.
Tommy therefore decided to sign with his current team, Floride Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki. The team will be based alongside the MX2 team so the staff and surroundings will be familiar to the Brit. Which is something that could be key to his success in 2013, as he won’t have to start from scratch with a new team. The good news is that Kawasaki will be providing Tommy with factory parts and technical support. So although he won’t officially be underneath the Factory Kawasaki awning, he will be on similar equipment. How will Tommy Searle do in MX1 next year? I expect him to be a firm fixture inside the top five. Before that however, he has unfinished business on the smaller bike.
If you’ve been following Dean Wilson’s progress in the USA, you’ll know the Scotsman’s last championship run on a 250f was over before it really started. Surgery on both shoulders has left him watching from the sidelines, but that didn’t stop him contending for a spot on a top-level 450 team for 2013. Dean could have stayed in the 250f class one more year, however he felt he was too big to compete against guys like Blake Baggett. Hence why he sought after a 450 ride. A spot on the Factory Kawasaki team was out of the question, as their budget left them with just enough to try and re-sign Ryan Villopoto. However, Dean found the next best thing with Jeff Ward Racing Kawasaki. Much like Tommy Searle, despite not being under the factory awning, factory parts will filter through to the Scotsman. Dean won’t be back on a bike until the end of October; but he’ll still have two full months to dial in his new steed. In his first season, I predict he’ll be winning races both indoors and out.
Even further away from the domestic scene, Brad Anderson is currently negotiating his contract for 2013. Now, Anderson does have options in both Australia and over here so what continent he’ll race on is also undecided as well as his manufacturer. Supposedly he does have an option of going back to the Carlton Dry Honda team. However, there are also rumours floating around that Australia’s KTM team are trying to secure Ando’s signature. Whilst other manufacturers are cutting back, KTM keep on pushing and that looks to be the case in Australia also at the moment. Still, with only two moto wins to his name and one overall win Brad’s debut year in Oz hasn’t exactly represented the speed he possesses.
With that in mind, would it really be surprising to see Ando grace the UK domestic scene once again in 2013? Strong rumours are that he’s signed with LPE Kawasaki, which would give Brad the perfect entrance back into British Motocross. In hindsight, that looks like the only British team that have a realistic chance at securing Brad’s services for next year, although he is more than likely in talks with others. To find out what Brad Anderson’s plans are for 2013, just keep an eye on his monthly blog here on MX Vice, where he will undoubtedly announce his plans once everything is confirmed.
More news on British riders contesting the Motocross World Championship, Jake Nicholls has re-signed with the Nestaan JM Racing KTM team. Personally, I would of loved to see Jake get a spot on the factory squad, as he is thoroughly deserving of it. However, it sounds as though that was never on the cards, as it seems the Factory KTM team feel Jake is too old. To draw a positive from the deal, Jake is getting the next best thing with his team, and factory parts are already starting to trickle down. Any KTM is competitive it would seem, so it was good for Jake to get the deal locked up. The team has also signed Romain Febvre as his teammate in 2013.
Max Anstie is one of the only Brits to still not have a contract signed officially. However, if you were to believe gossip from around the pits, it sounds as though he could be heading to the Rockstar Suzuki Europe MX2 team. In interviews Max has stated that he is waiting to hear what the Gariboldi Honda team are doing next year, but really, can anyone see him realistically going back there? At least, I hope he won’t return to the team.
On a bike that is evidently underpowered compared to his competition, and just generally not up to the task of challenging for GP podiums (evident by the amount of DNF’s suffered this year) a change of bike can only be a good thing for the youngster. However, if he does switch teams that will mean he has ridden five different manufacturers, in five years. Which for all the wrong reasons is an amazing feat. Still, behind only KTM and Kawasaki, the Suzuki program has been quite successful.
On the British Championship front, Neville Bradshaw will be returning to DB Honda, a team he has ridden for previously. Bradshaw has perhaps been the best he has ever been this year, as he looks to secure the Red Bull Pro Nationals MX2 title. The South African obviously gels with the Honda 250f, so the transition shouldn’t be too much of a change. The man rumored to be filling his spot under the Evotech Stevens Honda tent is Steven Lenoir and his current Emberson Yamaha teammate Graeme Irwin is being strongly linked with Oakleaf Kawasaki as they too look to step it up.
Other riders going round on the British MX rumour mill are Steve Ramon and Billy Mackenzie. Both linked with Dave Thorpe’s Buildbase Honda team. Ramon being the most likely to be true. Time will tell, obviously. If either one of them come to race in the UK it will be great for the fans, especially as they’ll be lining up against Tanel Leok who has signed for Route 77 Energy/ MVR-D Honda. Add to that the strong rumours that Jonathan Barragan will be joining Matiss Karro at STR KTM and it could be one of the most fiercely contested Maxxis British championships for some time.
So, that’s what some British riders and British teams are doing next year, some of it is confirmed and some of it is just idle gossip at the moment. However, in the coming weeks as current contracts expire, there is undoubtedly going to be more official announcements made.