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Spotlight on: Max Anstie

Although he is just nineteen years old, Max Anstie is already heading into his fifth season of professional racing. In the four years that he has already completed, Anstie has experienced both the highs and the lows of being a professional rider. After some difficult years, 2013 has the potential to be great for Max; he will be the primary focus beneath the Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe awning. However, Max will face the challenge of getting accustomed to his fifth team, and fifth manufacturer in five years. This has prompted most to question why he has been unable to stick with the same program for more than twelve months.

Contesting the opening rounds of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross series is a crucial part of Max Anstie’s program; he will be doing this again in 2013, just like he did at the beginning of this year. Why is this so important to Max? Well, he has stated that he would like to head to the USA full-time as soon as possible; in fact 2014 is a realistic possibility for Anstie! If he were unable to contest the opening rounds, it would be much harder for Max to find a ride in the states; it goes back to that old saying ‘out of sight out of mind’. Zach Osborne proved this year that it is possible to acquire a great ride for the following year by completing just a handful of the rounds.

It was extremely rare to see Max Anstie racing in Britain throughout his amateur career; he spent most of his time either contesting the Dutch championship or racing in the USA. Max garnered some valuable skills because of the time that he spent in these locations; arguably his strengths are the deep sand and supercross. Obviously, this is quite different from your typical British schoolboy; most of the British amateurs work their way through the various domestic series until they end up on a top team. But, Max has never really experienced the British Championship.

The route that Max Anstie took as an amateur meant that his rookie year was spent in the Lucas Oil AMA Pro National series as a part of the now defunct JLaw Racing team on a KTM 250f. The Star Racing Yamaha team then signed Max the following year [2010]. In 2010, he almost won the San Diego Supercross; Anstie’s skills on a supercross track are undoubted. I was extremely surprised to see Max head to the FIM Motocross World Championship the following year, as I felt like his heart was always in the USA.

Perhaps it was the lure of a CLS Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki that convinced Max Anstie to head over to Europe. The past two years (2011 and 2012) in the FIM Motocross World Championship have been good for the Brit, but not great. Max has just two overall podiums to his name in the series; I’m sure most expected him to be a race win contender. When Anstie was racing in the Dutch championship as a youngster; he was matching Jeffrey Herlings’ speed consistently. Herlings, Ken Roczen and Anstie went through the process of being an amateur at the same time; understandably Max was expected to match their speed.

But, it hasn’t worked out that way for Max Anstie. Of course, he was at a disadvantage this year, because he was fighting against the uncompetitive Gariboldi Honda. However, in 2011 he had one of the best bikes in the pits, so there were no excuses that year. Like I stated at the top of this article, I think that 2013 has the potential to be great for Max. I believe that the Suzuki is a great bike; it is certainly capable of competing with the factory KTM’s. But, if his plan works out this could be his last shot at a world title. However, I think that it might be beneficial for him to stick around for a few more years.

I think that Max Anstie will be the second fastest rider in the MX2 World Championship next year, behind Jeffrey Herlings. If something were to happen to the Dutchman, Anstie could be in a great position to clinch the title. There are some rumours that suggest that Jeffrey could be leaving the class as soon as 2014. If this proves to be true, Anstie could be a favourite for the title for many years to come. Max is able to contest the MX2 class in the MXGP series for another four years, because of the age restriction rule. I definitely think that he would have a better shot at success if he were to stay over here.

Max Anstie could definitely succeed in the USA; as stated previously, his speed in supercross is undoubted. However, I think that he might struggle in the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross series. In the two seasons that he has completed in the AMA Nationals he has finished on the edge of the top ten, whereas in the MXGP’s he is a contender for the podium positions. But, he does have a lot more experience under his belt now; so maybe he could return to the USA and elevate his results.

But, before he fulfils his dream and returns Stateside, Max Anstie has the 2013 MX2 World title to chase after. Hopefully, his relationship with the Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe team will turn into a long-term deal that will see the Brit enjoy success on both sides of the Atlantic.

Words by Lewis Phillips

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