Returning from the badlands of Norfolk, the gladiators of the British Motocross Championship make a return to central England for the fourth round of the 2012 season. A few of the title contenders have been abroad for a fortnight, enjoying GP races in firstly an uninhabited dust bowl and then swamp in a theme park, so it’s perhaps a relief to return to the comforting landscape of rural Northamptonshire.
The Milton circuit was used for the first time last year, and to be honest the reception was at best luke warm. Since then, the owners have put in the hours and the bucks to improve the circuit, importing hundreds of tons of topsoil and woodchip to give a perfect racing surface once the Maxxis lorries start rolling in. The upturn in weather must have heartened the fans too as there is a very real prospect of summer racing this weekend, and Chussy is already reaching for the Bermuda shorts and Factor 50.
Kevin Strijbos continues to exert a stranglehold on the 450 class, now leading by 21 points over Dixon Yamaha’s Shaun Simpson. KS22 will no doubt be buoyed up from his GP podium in Brazil and looks set to lead from the front at Milton. One guy that has all the tools to stand in his way is GP legend Josh Coppins, who is squeezing in a wild card ride between his antipodean championship duties. Coppins will be immensely popular with the British crowd and a win here would not fail to bring a circuit wide grin from every spectator. Matiss Karro will want to replicate a strong scorecard from Lyng and ease his way back past Simpson and veteran Stephen Sword needs solid results here to keep his championship on track. The MVRD team have been decimated by injury, with Krestinov, Dougan and Pocock sidelined by injury; it will be a miracle if the truck even turns up but I’m sure they will. Kawasaki’s challenge for 2012 has been erratic, with DeReuver swinging between great and poor performances like an metronome, and Martin Barr struggling to link up decent scores in the motos. Last year’s brightest prospect Kristian Whatley is having an uninspiring season, and you have to hope that his plans for a trip to OZ will serve to refocus his racing in the UK and get him back to winning races.
Maxxis British Championship round 4 Trailer >>
The battle for the 250 crown is tightening up every time the gate drops, and ‘Wallace’ Pocock will have to wring the nuts off his Monster Yamaha to keep hold of his points advantage until the end of the season. Armed with the new full factory power plant, Elliott Banks-Brown is now clocking up consistent points, and with four wins to Mel’s single moto victory, should be in line for an overall this weekend. Behind these two, Nev Bradshaw and Steve ‘man the life boats’ Lenoir sit with 137 points each, 33 behind EBB and they will both need major disasters ahead of them to make up that kind of points deficit. A rapidly improving Bry Mac is only seven points adrift from this pair, and if he’s got his’ first three laps’ mental hurdle buried for Sunday, could take the Rockstar KTM for a visit to the podium in the sunshine. Jordan Booker is also settling nicely into his team, currently sitting 8th in the championship and only one place behind his continental team mate. If it weren’t for Aubin’s strong result at Canada Heights, the Frenchman would be much further back and he really needs to bring his A game to Northampton.
This round of the championship also introduces a slightly confusing (and some may say unnecessary) MX1 / MX2 mash up race at the end of the day, much like the Hawkstone International fixture. This format only gets to be used three times this season, and it remains to be seen that whether this type of meddling proves popular with the riders. OK the fans will probably enjoy the racing, but if the race proves to throw a curve ball into the Championship hopes of the front runners, we can see the ACU’s switchboard going into meltdown on Monday.
Either way, the British fans are in for a day of quality racing in the sunshine like back in the day. Grab the sun-bloc and a 99 with sprinkles, sit back and enjoy the show.
Highlights from round 3
MAXXIS British Motocross Championships: Lyng Highlights >>
Words by Julian Challis
Images by Ray Chuss