The Red Bull Pro Nationals head to Holland this summer as the invasion of Europe begins…
The Red Bull Pro Nationals, the UK’s fastest-growing top-flight motocross series, is spreading its wings and heading to mainland Europe this summer.
On August 11-12 the series will land at the former grand prix circuit at Mill in Holland for the first-ever International Red Bull Pro National. This one-off event is intended to test the waters before promoters Events 22 roll out their new European championship in 2013.
“It only seems like yesterday that we came up with a plan for a new type of motocross event and here we are today just about to expand our series in to Europe,” says series organiser Matt Bates. “I can’t thank Red Bull enough for giving me the chance to make this happen and I’m sure within 12 months we’ll be staring down the barrel of a new European series.”
The Mill race is a stand-alone event and won’t count towards the established Red Bull Pro Nationals series although UK riders and teams will be invited to compete and should comprise around 25 per cent of the entry. Dutch riders will make up the bulk of the competitors and fill about 50 per cent of the start gate with the remainder of the field coming from the rest of the world to give a genuine international flavour to the weekend.
Along with established partner Red Bull, Events 22 are joining forces with major Dutch federation Motorsport Organisatie Nederland and Motor Club Mill for the August event. Mill is a unique venue which features a pit area next to a man-made windsurfing lake and as part of their debut international meeting Events 22 plan to stage a party on the lakeside beach to help create the festival feel that has become synonymous with their UK events.
“We’ve moved the date to August 11-12 so it so it doesn’t clash with a GP and now we’re working with Red Bull to get Jeffrey Herlings, Stefan Everts, Tony Cairoli – all of those guys – to race along with the best youth guys and do exactly what we do in the UK with two-stroke, youth and pro classes so we cover all parts of the sport.
“MC Mill and the MON have been exceptionally positive and welcoming to our event and it would seem we’re making a really big noise across the water,” adds Matt. “The UK teams and riders that have supported the Red Bull Pro Nationals should be proud of what they’ve created – something that other countries want!”
Of course, Mill is just the beginning and next year will see a new Europe-wide series established that takes the tried and tested Red Bull Pro Nationals formula in the UK and hands it over to our continental cousins. For Matt it’s the realisation of a prolonged period of planning.
“It’s something I’ve been talking to Red Bull about for over two years since we all realised that Red Bull Pro Nationals was far bigger than we thought it could be. We knew the potential but I guess we didn’t anticipate the success of the youth side. In a relatively short space of time the Red Bull Elite Youth Cup has become the major youth championship in the UK. What we want to do now is create a platform for the other Red Bull territories where we can take this type of event and put it into their countries.”
This new international series will incorporate one existing British round with another four stops scheduled in mainland Europe although Matt is quick to point out that he’s not intending to create a rival to the existing world championship series.
“Next year we plan for it to become an international series with one of our events in the UK becoming a round and that’s more than likely going to be at the historic Hawkstone Park venue in Shropshire. We’re looking at a minimum of five rounds so as well as the UK and Holland we’ll pick three other countries. I’d like to go to France, Spain and maybe somewhere like Norway or Sweden in the north of Europe but Italy have also shown a big interest and they’ve got a really strong youth series over there and obviously then Tony Cairoli could become a big part of it.
“The more we expand into Europe the harder it becomes logistically because if we then have to create five rounds that don’t clash with a GP then that’s going to be really difficult. The long-term plan isn’t to create a series that goes up against the GPs and events may clash – we’re not professing this to be a world championship series, that’s not the case. But it will become a world series.”