And just like that winter is in the past and the season kickstarts once again. FatCat Motoparc was the venue for the opening round of the 2023 Acerbis Amateur Nationals series and what a year it’s set out to be too! With stacked classes and a perfectly groomed racetrack, all was set for an exciting opener.
Words: Arran Murphy/Acerbis Nationals | Featured Image: Matthew Rudd Photography
First up was the Manchester Xtreme Junior Open category and with the top 5 from 2022 being moved up it was as wide open as ever. After the 4 motos were complete, 1st and 2nd overall still couldn’t decide who could take control of the class, as Riley Voase and Dan Nevitt finished the weekend tied on point. Voase took the overall by way of the final race result tie-breaker. Nevitt gave Voase a run for it in the last encounter but it wasn’t to be and he had to settle for runner-up overall in the end, while Kawasaki duo Stefan Robson and James Newby finished the weekend 3rd and 4th respectively.
In the LS2 Helmets Vets Over 40 class, just like his son had done a mere 15 minutes prior, former GP rider Ryan Voase claimed the overall victory but the difference being that he took 4 moto wins over the weekend, starting his campaign off perfectly. Adam Wilkinson had two 2nd places on day one backed up by two 3rds on day two to give himself runner-up overall just four points ahead of defending series champ Lee Martin. Danny Tollett and Alan Pearce rounded out the top five.
Defending Motoverde Ladies Champion Grace Richards got her title defense off to the perfect start by claiming all four race victories and stood on the top step of the podium for her efforts. Nadiya Jones had a solid start to her campaign by taking home runner-up overall just a couple of points ahead of Grace Packman. Rebecca Newham was consistent with a 4-3-4-4 scorecard and took home 4th overall for her efforts while Taylor Scott took a third race 2nd to help her to 5th overall.
In the Roberts Plant Engineers Vets Over 50 class Simon Bonsor took his 250 two-stroke to a maximum haul of points and the advantage into round two as he dominated on the rough sandy circuit. Richard Miller managed to pip Ady Bradley to runner-up overall, after the pair had a titanic battle in the final moto to decide who stood on the middle and lower steps of the rostrum. Sean Smith led laps over the weekend and was always inside the top four even claiming a runner-up in race two to help him to 4th overall.
The Moto Connection 125 two-stroke class, as always, provided us with some brilliant racing and it was young Ryan Waggott on his Team Hutch Racing KTM who was most consistent and took the honours with a 3-1-2-2 scorecard. Damon Strydom took two race wins over the weekend but a third race 7th ultimately put a spanner in the works and so had to settle for 2nd overall. Harry Linton was also a race winner and took 3rd overall while Troy Willerton finished in 4th. Former GP rider Nev Bradshaw was on for a podium until a final moto bike failure left him outside the top 6 in 8th overall.
The MX Dreams California Open two-stroke class was hotly contested with EMX250 podium finisher Josh Spinks putting in a solid weekend of racing and went home with the top spot on the podium when all was said and done. Last year’s runner-up James Dent pushed Spinks all the way however, and was rewarded with 2nd spot overall and a solid start to his championship aspirations. Flying Scot Ryan McLean showed he still had speed after a few years off from racing and even claimed the final moto victory in convincing fashion helping him onto the podium in 3rd, tied with Rory Jones who had to settle for 4th.
In the Craig’s Motorcycles sponsored MX2 class it was Craig’s Motorcycles pilot Mitchell Meadows who ended the weekend on top after the four races as he took two wins on Saturday followed up by a 3rd and a 5th to stand on the top step ahead of Jake Winnard who, after a moto one spill, came back to win both of the races on Sunday and claw his way back to 2nd overall. Zac Stealey also had misfortune in the second race of the weekend, only managing a 13th, but his three runner-up spots in the rest of the races gave him 3rd overall ahead of Logan Wilcox and Jordan Hearn.
The heavily fought Acerbis MX1 category provided us with some frantic action in each race and it was Josh Bentley who took two runner-up spots followed by a pair of wins on Sunday. This was enough to get himself onto the top step, just ahead of reigning champion Jack Beniston who should take the series lead as Bentley was a wildcard for the weekend. Andy Wilson finished the weekend 3rd overall just one point ahead of Seb Berthauime in 4th.
With round one in the history books all attentions turn to round two where we head over the Scottish border to Duns on the 22nd & 23rd of April.
- Josh Bentley – 156 Pts – 2-2-1-1
- Jack Beniston – 142 Pts – 4-1-5-3
- Andy Wilson – 129 Pts – 7-3-3-8
- Seb Berthiaume – 128 Pts – 6-6-4-4
- Will Hughes – 118 Pts – 5-4-10-10
- Ed Briscoe – 117 Pts – 9-5-8-6
- James Hutchinson – 115 Pts – 1-8-2-27
- George Simmutch – 107 Pts – 3-28-11-2
- Corey Hockey – 103 Pts – 13-14-7-9
- Scott Hamilton – 101 Pts – 11-13-6-13
Craig’s Motorcycles MX2
- Mitchell Meadows – 148 Pts – 1-1-3-5
- Jake Winnard – 142 Pts – 8-4-1-1
- Zac Stealey – 137 Pts – 2-13-2-2
- Logan Wilcox – 128 Pts – 14-3-4-3
- Jordan Hearn – 122 Pts – 3-5-10-8
- Alfie Calvert – 117 Pts – 7-7-5-9
- Jack Auther – 106 Pts – 12-17-7-4
- Lee Sealey – 105 Pts – 6-8-11-14
- Ayden Smith – 104 Pts – 10-6-6-18
- Jake Baker – 103 Pts – 5-2-33-6
Pro Green Ladies
- Grace Richards – 160 Pts – 1-1-1-1
- Nadiya Jones – 144 Pts – 2-4-3-3
- Grace Packman – 142 Pts – 3-2-6-2
- Rebecca Newham – 138 Pts – 4-3-4-4
- Taylor Scott – 127 Pts – 5-5-2-11
- Caitlin Newman – 124 Pts – 6-6-5-5
- Hannah Jones – 116 Pts – 7-8-7-6
- Lilly Moreland – 114 Pts – 8-7-8-7
- Emily Noon – 107 Pts – 10-9-10-8
- Sara Joiner – 107 Pts – 9-10-9-9
MX Dreams California Open Two-Stroke
- Josh Spinks – 158 Pts – 1-1-1-2
- James Dent – 146 Pts – 3-2-3-3
- Ryan McClean – 138 Pts – 5-5-4-1
- Rory Jones – 138 Pts – 6-3-2-4
- Drew Roe – 116 Pts – 8-9-5-7
- Keelan Hope – 113 Pts – 9-8-6-8
- Liam Gale – 111 Pts – 10-10-9-5
- Jay Cheel – 101 Pts – 11-13-7-12
- Mitch Armour – 98 Pts – 4-4-DNF-6
- Alex Needham – 97 Pts – 13-11-14-9
Moto Connections 125 Two-Stroke
- Ryan Waggott – 152 Pts – 3-1-2-2
- Damon Strydom – 143 Pts – 1-4-7-1
- Harry Linton – 137 Pts – 7-2-1-6
- Troy Willerton – 131 Pts – 4-5-3-7
- Harry Barker – 128 Pts – 5-8-5-3
- Chris Povey – 124 Pts – 6-6-6-4
- Stu Owen – 115 Pts – 9-7-9-5
- Nev Bradshaw – 108 Pts – 2-3-5-DNF
- Luke Newman – 102 Pts – 11-10-13-8
- Tim Gardham – 90 Pts – 13-13-14-14
Manchester Xtreme Junior Open
- Riley Voase – 154 Pts – 2-1-3-1
- Dan Nevitt – 154 Pts – 1-2-2-2
- Stefan Robson – 133 Pts – 5-3-7-3
- James Newby – 122 Pts – 8-4-8-5
- Shea Ryan – 122 Pts – 6-6-5-6
- Joe Winnard – 121 Pts – 3-10-6-7
- Alexander William – 105 Pts – 17-5-10-8
- Mitch Brooks – 101 Pts – 9-8-13-13
- Antonio Souze – 98 Pts – 13-7-16-10
- Billy Wieczorek – 95 Pts – 12-16-9-12
LS2 Vets Over 40s
- Ryan Voase – 160 Pts – 1-1-1-1
- Adam Wilkinson – 148 Pts – 2-2-3-3
- Lee Martin – 144 Pts – 4-4-2-2
- Danny Tollet – 136 Pts – 3-3-6-4
- Alan Pearce – 128 Pts – 6-5-4-5
- David Evans – 124 Pts – 5-6-5-6
- Chris Hind – 114 Pts – 7-7-7-9
- David Wilcox – 109 Pts – 9-8-11-7
- Carl Stannard – 106 Pts – 10-9-8-11
- Neil Griffiths – 100 Pts – 16-11-9-8
Roberts Plants Engineers Vets Over 50
- Simon Bonser – 160 Pts 1-1-1-1
- Richard Miller – 146 Pts – 2-3-4-2
- Ady Bradley – 144 Pts – 3-4-2-3
- Sean Smith – 142 Pts – 4-2-3-4
- Chris Elcock – 115 Pts – 6-6-9-8
- Ewan Johnston – 114 Pts – 7-8-11-5
- Rob Lewis – 112 Pts – 10-9-6-7
- Adrian Lewis – 109 Pts – 8-7-14-6
- Ian Wilson – 102 Pts – 12-13-7-10
- Kevin Cowie – 101 Pts – 11-12-8-12
Has British Motocross turned a corner?
British Motocross is a subject I’m very passionate about. It’s the sole reason MX Vice was created back in 2011. At that time there were a few magazines out there, but not many websites. One defining moment for me was seeing Gordon Crockard sit exhausted in a small setup in Denver at the 2010 Motocross of Nations. Ireland had done their usual B final shenanigans, where Crockard finished second to Martin Davalos, Martin Barr third and Stuart Edmonds fifth in a very hot Denver. It took a colossal effort by them, but most notably by Crockard, who was a little older than the young guns of Barr and Edmonds on the team. Watching from afar I could see that Gordon didn’t leave anything on the track on Sunday September 26th, he was spent.
Words: James Burfield | Lead Image: Supplied
I’d never spoken to Gordon before but I felt I needed to go over and speak to him because the amount of respect I had for him that weekend and the Irish team was on another level. The MXDN has a way of bringing out the passion from the fans just as much as the riders and I was totally wrapped up in it as a fan. The best I could offer was ‘that was an amazing effort’ that probably didn’t mean much at the time (Crockard finished 15th overall in MX Open). He smiled, was super polite and talked to me for five minutes before getting changed.
The next day we were in a shopping mall in Denver, I just bought a coffee for myself, my wife and godson, and lo and behold Gordon was sitting down in the mall. He looked up and said “hey how are you?” So I sat down with Gordon, my godson and we spoke about the previous day, what it took for him to achieve what he did that weekend in the heat and altitude of Denver.
When I got back the next few weeks I scoured the internet and magazines and the little that was covered I felt didn’t give the team and Gordon justice. I had been going to the MXDN since 2006 and tried to get to as many GPs as possible from 2006 to 2010, and after buying a bike back in 2005, my bug was firmly back.
Although I have regressed about why I’m passionate about British Motocross I feel like I need to add some context to how I got there. I approached DBR back in 2010 about MX Vice being a possible motocross website to Sean Lawless, as DBR then didn’t do much online. As you would have figured I was turned down, for good reason. I was just a fan, although I had masses of digital knowledge, it didn’t mean anything to the motocross world back then. Whenever I picked up my monthly copies of MotoMag and DBR the stories were tailored around the stars of the sport. I wanted to hear about the journeymen, the riders that work in the week and the epic stories about making it to the line against the best in Britain.
At that time in the UK, Ashley Wilde, Jake Millward, Alan Keet, Adam Sterry, Luke Norris, Lewis Tombs, Josh Waterman, Ross Rutherford, Matthew Moffat, Ross Hill, Rob Davidson, Jordan Divall and Ross Keyworth were among some of the riders that wouldn’t get any coverage. No one was telling their stories or interviewing them. That’s when I knew MX Vice was needed.
For those that have been on this journey with MX Vice you will know the ins and outs of my love affair with British Motocross. So much has happened in those twelve years. I have seen two ACU chairmen come and go, helped form a championship called the MX Nationals, ran two race teams and spent hundreds of thousands on this sport I love. What I have realised in those twelve years is you have to have tough skin, because if you are going to have an opinion that is not shared by people who have a financial interest, then they will go to whatever level they need to go to to protect that interest. So when I started to ask questions that everyone wanted to know the answers to, you were tarnished with being disruptive and toxic.
The UK is a small community of the same people and if you fuck around in their playground you find out, as pressure is applied to business not to work with you. I have been on this constant journey with British motocross, going round in circles.
The opportunity to go to MXGP in 2015 was a breath of fresh air for MX Vice and myself. We felt welcomed and they appreciated the impact we made online and through our social channels, even when our opinion differed we didn’t get alienated, or advertising pulled from us due to pressure.
Weirdly they welcomed the challenge to be better, in fact they were open to hearing if we saw any opportunities to help them improve. This freaked us out for a while and part of us thought, “what’s the catch?” Going to MXGP felt like we moved from primary school to university and skipped secondary with the way people accepted and worked with us. That credit goes down to David Luongo who came in with new ideas and Samanta Gelli who understood our potential from day one.
When you look back to 2008 to 2014 and see the amount of GP riders that were regulars in the British Championship, maybe we were spoiled? Maybe it skewed our vision, but it just wasn’t just us, GP riders and fans were interested in the British scene. What has happened since that time is that the Dutch, German, French, Italian and Spanish championships have evolved, their federations have invested and been very successful with their programs.
Again this has not helped with the perception when looking at British Motocross. Since 2014 I feel there has been glimpses of effort, but in comparison we have become complacent. When you are complacent then other people will see an opportunity, just like MX Vice did with MotoMag and DBR in 2011. Those two juggernauts at the time possibly looked and laughed at the thought of someone like MX Vice passing them.
I want those days back when you were excited to see riders like Arnaud Tonus, Zach Osborne and Christophe Pourcel in MX2 and Matiss Karro, Kevin Strijbos, Shaun Simpson, Stephen Sword, Marc de Reuver in MX1 and you would travel the length of the UK on a Sunday not to miss a round.
Yes we have had COVID, Brexit and now we are in a recession, it’s a difficult time for everyone. The British championship is doing its best given the resources they have along with the MX Nationals. Tracks are charging in the region of £15,000 – £20,000, and gone are the days of volunteer marshalls. The cost to run a national event is around £30,000 to £40,000 per round. Add in to this the industry is spending less on events and marketing to promote their products, services and business, and you can recognise the struggle.
Both championships are run under the ACU, who are the leading federation in the UK, and that won’t possibly change in our lifetime. So as much as people want to moan about what they are not doing, then remember they are not going anywhere either. As the federation for both championships, they are always going to be the target for those people who feel disenfranchised with how the sport is going and it doesn’t help when people perceive other countries are progressing and new organisations like Nora92 are investing back into the sport with an incredible youth program and reduced licence and riding fees.
I believe that the ACU have recognised that things need to change and have understood that the licence fee subscribers are the life force behind their business. The appointment of Tim Lightfoot as chair of the ACU has been a positive one, someone who seems to truly understand that a united British motocross is beneficial to the ACU.
There are some great people within UK motocross who all believe that they know what it needs and when they are not listened to they then decide to adopt the mantra of I’ll just go and do it myself. Tim Lightfoot has the biggest job in motocross right now, and everything to play for.
With the right foresight and understanding what is required from key stakeholders that are jaded he could unite the British motocross scene, skyrocket ACU licences and drive the industry forward. A lot of pressure for one person, but if he can unite the rest of the ACU behind him, then things will change. So a glimmer of hope has happened for the ACU and the national championship, but there will be many who would have heard this all before.
But the hook that got me engaged with British motocross once more was when I heard of the possibility of a new Championship being started for 2024, but with two rounds being run in Europe. As an outsider looking in I would one hundred percent be that guy to say, “Jesus yet another championship” – just what the UK needs. That would have been the general sentiment towards someone starting another championship in the UK. So I needed to know more to understand if this would be a success or not.
Clinton Putnam is the guy who is looking to challenge British motocross to be better, to set a new bar in the hope it will shake it up and take it forward. Clinton was behind the very successful GT Cup and came onboard the MX National series supporting with tracks, infrastructure and vehicles. The same guy who has been behind the explosion of quality new motocross tracks in the UK over the past two years, something that the UK is in dire need of. I spoke to Clinton initially to understand more about the series and what his approach to media would be and see if I could help in any way. His vision is to offer a championship that feels like a GP when you arrive, an emphasis on the pros, along with world class tracks for them to ride on.
A few months ago this was made even more impressive by the fact that Clinton would be running with or without support from the industry, luckily for Clinton there are people, businesses and brands that also share and welcome that vision.
For the past eighteen months I have stayed out of the UK scene thanks to having COVID for five months, which kicked my ass, and then focussing on MXGP to fulfil our contracts. With Arenacross offering £140,000, NPC £98,700, MX Nationals and the British Championship there is finally some good money for pros to earn in 2024 when the economy is struggling! So is this the wind of change that we needed?
Since the new Nora Pro Championship (NPC) was announced it seems to have lifted the industry, federations have upped their game, other championships have got a second wind and the purse strings are a little looser from brands and manufacturers. Who knows where British motocross will be by the end of 2024?
We could be looking back five years from now saying where we would be without Clinton Putnam starting the NPC, and it being a driving force for not only the UK and six rounds in the UK and six rounds in Europe.
One thing is for sure, British motocross is a lot like the political landscape. There is a lot of talk about requiring people to work together, but it will always be difficult when egos and money get in the way of progress. Hawkstone International and VMXDN Foxhills have shown that if the product is what people want then they will support it, the challenge is to offer that level six times a year, not just the once.
Strap in because we have a lot to look forward to over the next thirty six months.
Love what we do? Please read this article as we try to raise £30,000.
BREAKING NEWS: Nora Pro Championship dates released
Just in. The dates have been selected for the new Nora Pro Championship for 2024. Whilst there are no surprises that there were going to be clashing it still allows riders to race on a Saturday and a Sunday if they want to ride two championships. The good news we hear is the prize fund is substantial and if facts are correct the biggest prize fund in European Motocross. More information will be released this week. PR Below.
We are pleased to announce the dates agreed for the 2024 championship. As you can imagine this was extremely difficult and we had to take some time to deliberate because we didn’t want to clash with the Bridgestone Championship as this will act as the feeder series to the Pro Championship, the Dirtstore British Championship, the Nora British Cup, and some European EMX races. Whilst taking all these into account it didn’t leave many dates available, and unfortunately, there will be clashes with other series including the Fastest 40. However, with the Fastest 40 running their Pro group on a Saturday and the Nora Pro Championship on Sunday only, we hope this helps.
The dates will be as follows:
24th March 2024 – UK
21st April 2024 – UK
12th May 2024 – Europe
28th July 2024 – UK
25th August – Europe
8th September – UK
Tracks will be released over the next two weeks as contracts are completed. The UK tracks have been agreed and as mentioned in a previous release there will be a brand new UK motocross track that no one has used, a great step in the right direction when so many tracks are being closed.
A huge thank you for the support and feedback that we have received already and we are taking that into account. We believe in open communication so we will explain every decision openly to offer clarity.
We are working very hard behind the scenes and are implementing everything to make this championship one of the most professional in Europe. Our only goal is to raise the bar of British motocross.
New website, title sponsor, tracks, European races, partners, features, teams and riders will be released over the coming weeks.
The All-New Kawasaki KX450
The KX legacy has created a long line of champions and Kawasaki’s drive to produce more has never faltered.
This year Kawasaki celebrate 50 years of Dirt Domination with the KX brand, so it’s no surprise to see a characteristically “full gas” approach to the 2024 MX season, with the much-anticipated announcement of the 2024 models.
Leading the 450 cm3 class charge is the awesome KX450 enjoying its first full-model change in five years, innovatively introducing features never seen before on a KX machine.
The all-new flagship race machine, the KX450 off road motorcycle, offers next level engineering and power to dominate the track. The 2024 KX450 benefits from a new frame and bodywork plus increased engine performance thanks to a symmetrically aligned intake and exhaust. Handling performance has also improved, with greater front-end feel contributing to improved cornering performance to complement the KX450’s acclaimed light, nimble handling and legendary straight-line ability. Aggressive new green bodywork offers improved ergonomics due to a slim, and smoother rider interface while upgrades for the coming season include premium Brembo brake components and ODI Lock-on grips.
In terms of tech highlights, the 2024 KX450 features for the very first time Power Modes and Kawasaki Traction Control, both easily selectable from switches at the left handlebar. Riders can quickly select from two levels (Weak, Strong) of traction control to suit conditions and preference. Riders may also elect to turn the system off. Using the Mode (M) button on the left handlebar, it is also possible to switch between two engine maps (Normal, Mild response) provided in the ECU.
Additionally, smartphone connectivity allows riders to connect with their machine to adjust engine mapping directly from their smartphones using the application “RIDEOLOGY THE APP KX” to adjust engine maps including fuel and ignition timing while maintenance logs are also available.
Adding new features, plus carefully selected electronic rider aids, has taken the KX450 to the next level and Kawasaki hopes that 2024 season riders will accelerate ahead of the chasing pack towards well deserved podium results.
With innovative and evolving features over the decades, we’ve learned what it takes to win and stay on top and the KX450 embodies this legacy to the fullest. The new 2023 model is available from December 2023, contact your local dealer today or visit kawasaki.co.uk to find out more.
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