In just a couple of days the UK Arenacross series will blast off in Belfast! The series has received a boost this year with confirmation that Channel 4 will show a three part series of the season in February and, with a quality international line up, the viewers shouldn’t be disappointed.
The short, sharp races put immense pressure on your starting ability, there is not time to rest and usually the only way to pass someone is too push them out of the way! Combined with the freestyle action featuring the charismatic Spaniard Edgar Torronteras, and youth racing, the event will be action packed with each race almost impossible to call.
The top British talent like outdoor champions Kristian Whatley and Elliot Banks-Browne will go against top international stars who are all indoor specialists. But can Whatley and EBB bring their speed to the indoors? They both have the talent to do it but can they adapt to the short intense racing straight away? That is the question everyone wants answered.
Bryan McKenzie and Jason Dougan are also new additions to the arenacross series in 2013. Top outdoor riders, they will be hoping they have their starts dialled and their elbows outcome the first round in Belfast. Fan favourite Brad Anderson will also take to the track and while he probably isn’t you stereotypical arenacross rider, Anderson will have the aggression to make the passes, and when Anderson is on the track you are guaranteed excitement!
Two British riders who have the indoor scene down are Neville Bradshaw and Jack Brunell. Bradshaw pushed Chatfield all the way last season and will want to go one better this time. Brunell is superb at arenacross but is prone to the odd crash.
Steven Clarke based himself in America for a number of years racing AMA supercross, he returned to the UK last season and had some stand out rides in the British championship. His experience and skill-set is ideally suited to arenacross and he will be another rider who will want to challenge for this title.
A rider who could well spring a few surprises is veteran Carl Nunn. Nunny, a former British Champion and GP winner, retired from full time motocross a couple of years ago, but his riding skills are perfectly suited to arenacross and with some good starts he could challenge the front runners.
Former GP star, and just crowned King of Dortmund, Greg Aranda heads the international list but fellow Frenchman Fabien Izoird, Cyrille Coulon are also in French assault. The French have their own supercross series and all three have ridden AMA supercross, these boys aren’t coming to finish second!
Australia has Daniel McCoy and youngster Luke Arbon coming over (Arbon replaces defending champion Adam Chatfield who isn’t fit enough to compete). Both Aussies have supercross experience and will be keen to put on a good show in the UK. The big name from the USA is Ryan Villopoto’s little brother, Tyler. No doubt Villopoto will be expected to be up front and his speed at Bercy in 2012 indicates that he should be title threat.
So, who is going to win?! Right now it is too hard to call, Aranda and Villopoto will fancy their chances to win the crown too as will Izoird. All three have the raw speed and experience to take the championship but many others will be there to beat them to it. Neville Bradshaw especially will want to go one better than he did last year and might just be the best of the British based riders.
It will all come down the start and not making mistakes but saying it is a lot easier than doing it when the red mist has descended and your title rival is out front!
Let the games begin!
Words: Jonathan McCready
Image: Kev Reid