MX Nationals Director James Burfield (who also happens to be the MX Vice founder) sent us this piece, with his thoughts on the MX Nationals, why he got involved and where he sees the series going. It’s certainly an interesting piece, and one that should be intriguing to you. So, I’ll hand it over to James…
I have mentioned many times that British motocross would be struggling, had the MX Nationals not been formed. It would have had an affect on everyone, as the pros and youth riders would have a lot less races.
There are a multitude of reasons why the MX Nationals is needed in British motocross. With nine pro races at every round and the pros riding for nearly five hours at each round, the rough conditions and lines are something that the average rider would not get the chance to ride. The Under 16 and MXY2 riders are using the lines that the pros use, which is great experience and will enable them to become better riders without even knowing it.
I have watched the riders grow within the series, and this is after four rounds. The riders that went to Culham at round one are faster, more prepared and more experienced. I’ve watched Ben Clarke, Adam Collings and Preston Williams (all on small wheels) improve greatly in confidence from having to race the big wheel riders. Jack Bintcliffe keeps improving at every round, and Dexter Douglas is pushing Dylan Woodcock and Brett Pocock at every race. The class is stacked with talent – it is easily the best talent that the UK has to offer.
Yes, there are easier meetings. Yes, there are easier tracks and conditions, but if you want to improve and gain experience then you have to put yourself out there and run with the best. I genuinely believe that the experience gained by riding the same lines as the pros at the MX Nationals will enable the youth to think differently and will help enhance their race craft.
One of the standout riders has been Callum Ford in the MXY2 class. At 15 years old, he has just gone onto a 250F. Callum was running outside the top twenty at the start of the year, and achieved his first points at round three. I’m sure he won’t mind me saying this, but riding the nationals this year against Josh Gilbert, Liam Knight and Oliver Osmaston (to name a few) was not on his priority list – he has literally gone right in at the deep end. But fair play to Callum, Pontrilas was tricky in the wet conditions and there were a few great riders on the ground, but he netted a ninth in race one, which showed that perseverance, hard work and riding against some of the fastest riders in the UK is paying dividends.
We have had some difficult situations to deal with this year; running a new series is extremely difficult, but we have a great team of people and the riders, parents and mechanics have all chipped in to help this championship over the past four rounds, which is something we are very grateful for. For those that have not been to the MX Nationals, no matter what class you are in it will be tough. You will have fun, the meetings are run well, in my opinion, and incidents are dealt with in a professional way.
The series is just starting to show a glimmer of something that can be very special. For years the UK has not had a transparent championship that is ran by people who are not in it for monetary gain. The people involved are industry people, who are trying to bring everyone together to contribute, support and take it forward to promote British motocross.
RaceFX, MX Vice and Culham have contributed resources and money to the championship, but to take it forward and make a step up we need the rest of the industry to work with us. There is a great platform here for distributors, brands, teams, coaches, sponsors, businesses, riders, dealers to all benefit from, and everyone in the sport is welcome. The series is not about us, we got together to form the MX Nationals as we realised back in September 2013 that there would be some issues that could lie ahead if we didn’t do something. We need the rest of the industry to join us now to push the series forward, to give our pros and future GP riders a competitive platform and some monetary bonus to help their racing and supplement their income.
We have £8,000 prize money available at each round for riders. It goes some way to helping riders in the UK, but we need to be doing a lot more and as mentioned we can’t do this on our own. We need all the media their supporting the series, we need all the UK distributors pledging their support and bringing their brands on board and we need to get more riders on the line who are looking to improve their racing.
For the first time in a long time the industry can have its own championship, with only motocross being the winner. If we put motocross first and support this series, everyone else will benefit. More riders will be racing and if they’re racing they are buying products. If riders are riding then the media has content to write about and stories will continue to evolve.
This series is a true lifecycle of the sport, with the money being reinvested to make the series stronger. This is not about a group of people earning money, no director takes a salary and we don’t even cover our own expenses.
Whether it is pledging support with bannering, programme adverts, pop ups, display stands, product support or getting involved with volunteering, you can help make a huge difference to British motocross. The series has a huge amount of potential, and it will benefit everyone involved in the industry.
Without the teams and riders you have no series, without the series riders will have trouble getting sponsorship and without riders out there wearing the product, sales will dwindle. Without the series, riders or teams British motocross will be in a scary place.
Our dream is to have a championship that is as exciting as an American series, with hardcore fans that love great racing and live for the weekends.
We have already changed three of the last four dates to help accommodate riders and we are already working on changes proposed by riders, teams and sponsors for 2015.
So, if you want to get involved in something positive for British motocross, the MX Nationals needs companies, brands and the industry to get behind us. We would also appreciate any help and support running the series, from people interested in coming onboard as directors through to marshals.
Let’s make British Motocross great again!
Words: James Burfield
Image: Elliot Spencer