The Maxxis ACU British Motocross Championship supported by Pro Clean fires into action on Sunday with the opening round of the country’s premier race series taking place at FatCat near Doncaster.
With the opening rounds of the world championship and Michelin MX Nationals done and dusted we’ve had the chance to judge the form of the main MX1 and MX2 title contenders and there’s no doubt about it – the 2019 series is shaping up to be a classic.
The deep sand of FatCat is an intimidating test of technique, speed and fitness and no-one likes the soft stuff more than Shaun Simpson (RFX KTM powered by PAR Homes) who was eighth overall in Argentina.
The 30-year-old Scot – who hasn’t raced the series for the last two years – was MX1 champion in 2014 and the following year retained his title with a perfect eight-from-eight overall wins before missing out on his hat-trick by just two points in 2016.
That year the title was won by Tommy Searle (BOS Kawasaki) who didn’t defend his crown in 2017. He returned in 2018 and, despite missing the opening round and clearly not fully fit on his comeback from injury, ended the year a close third.
Searle finished seventh in Argentina – tied on points with Simpson – and it’s expected that, barring injuries and mechanical problems, the pair will have a season-long scrap for the 2019 championship.
With reigning champion Evgeny Bobryshev not contesting this year’s series, 2017 champion Graeme Irwin switching to road racing and Jake Nicholls (Buildbase Honda) – who set the pace for most of 2018 – still recovering from a broken leg, Simpson and Searle are definitely the main men but that’s not to say they’re the only riders worth watching.
Double MX2 champion Elliott Banks-Browne (Geartec Husqvarna) will be pushing for a podium on Sunday and Estonia’s Gert Krestinov (Phoenix Tools Apico Kawasaki) is a proven winner in sand. Ryan Houghton (RHR Yamaha) must feel that he’s overdue a top-three finish after failing to get on the box all last season and Harri Kullas (Cab Screens Honda) has started the year in fighting form.
Other riders who should go well include Mel Pocock (ASA United KTM) who’s adapting quickly to the switch to a 450, Josh Spinks (MSR Redline Yamaha) who’s also gone up this season and Lewis Tombs (Buildbase Honda) who is yet another rider to ditch his 250 in favour of an MX1 machine in 2019.
The programme also features the opening round of the new MX2 Youth championship that showcases the country’s fastest young talent and the MX2 championship and you can read our MX2 preview here.
On-the-gate admission is £20 for adults and £5 for under 15s with no charge for children aged five and under. Family tickets are available at a cost of £45. FatCat is located just off junction four of the M18. Postcode is DN3 3EH.