The ACU, and Neil Prince, announced a shortlist of riders that are in the running to represent Great Britain at the Motocross des Nations in Germany, not too long ago. Although, it will be quite a while before we find out which three riders have been selected; it won’t stop us speculating, will it? I thought that now would be a good time to have a look at the guys that are hoping to be wrapped in a Union Jack in September.
Tommy Searle: Honestly I am certain that Tommy Searle will be on the MXdN team – barring an injury or issue of course. Searle is easily our strongest 450f rider at the moment; I am sure that Tommy himself has already been notified that he will be on the team. Teutschenthal is a track that suits the CLS Kawasaki rider very well; he has enjoyed some success there. Tommy always seems to excel under pressure at the event, which makes him an asset to the squad. I am certain, Searle will be on team GB, even if he struggles in the remainder of the year (like I stated above), which he won’t, as he is on the way up at the moment.
Jake Nicholls: I am sure that Jake Nicholls has already secured a spot on the squad, too. Jake is clearly our strongest MX2 rider in the FIM Motocross World Championship. But remember that the age restriction rule for the 250f has been abolished for the MXdN, now. Maybe they will drop an MX1 rider down to the smaller bike? There are a couple of different options that could be explored. Jake is a bit of a veteran of the event now; he was a part of it in 2010, and 2012 also. The MXdN is quite a unique race, which makes that kind of experience invaluable.
Kristian Whatley: Kristian Whatley is a big question mark for me; there is no doubt that he is fast enough to represent Great Britain. I cannot really imagine him at an event such as this; it is hard to compare him to the others, as he isn’t racing at the highest level. But if Kristian can get a wildcard ride at the British GP, this could be a great test for him. In our domestic series, Whatley has beat Jonathan Barragan consistently; so I presume that he would be in between tenth and fifteenth in the world championship. It is a very hard decision to make; in my mind Whatley is running a similar pace to Shaun Simpson. But, he has not had as much experience at the MXdN, or racing against guys like Antonio Cairoli etc.
Elliott Banks Browne: Oh, Elliott Banks Browne – what is going on? If you take a look at EBB’s results in the FIM Motocross World Championship, it is clear that things have not been going his way. However, his results have come down to bad luck, mainly. Still, Elliott has not shown any flashes of speed of speed whilst abroad, which is worrying. But then he has been good at the Maxxis British Championship, so it depends on what EBB would show up. I think that EBB has an outside shot at getting on the team, right now – it’s looking unlikely.
Mel Pocock: I think that the chances of Mel Pocock ending up on the MXdN are unlikely, also – but he has shown some good form in recent weeks. Still I am not sure that he would be the first choice for the squad, as he would more than likely have to ride the 250f, and there are a few guys on this list that I would put ahead of him. Mel is still relatively young, as well, which would work against him when making the decision. But who knows what could happen.
Shaun Simpson: If there is one thing that Shaun Simpson has going in his favour, it is that he is a veteran now, and he has experience at the event. However he too hasn’t had very many outstanding moments this year, except for the qualification race at Uddevalla. Simpson may start to catch fire now though, as he gets accustomed to the Yamaha. If he is picked, there’s no doubt that he will be solid, and consistent, which is definitely what you want out of the third rider.
Max Anstie: I mentioned above that I do not really know what is going on with Elliott Banks Browne; however I don’t have the slightest idea what is hindering Max Anstie. Honestly, so far his results have been bad at best. If he continues to ride like he’s done in recent weeks, I am sure that most would object to him being picked to represent GB at the MXdN. Max was on the team last year of course, but I believe his selection had more to do with the fact that it was a sand track – the surface that he excels on.
So, those are the riders that could potentially end up representing our nation in Germany, in September. Of course Dean Wilson is not on that list, even though Dean could have returned from injury by then. However, the ACU have stated that his results at the first two rounds of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross series were not good enough. Obviously, top ten in your first two rides as a full time 450f rider – against the world’s greatest riders – isn’t good enough (if you couldn’t tell – that was sarcasm). It is a shame, as Dean is our brightest talent alongside Tommy Searle.
Words by Lewis Phillips
Image courtesy of Elliot Spencer