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All set to be a thriller! 2024 Acerbis Amateur Nationals – Preview

All set to be a thriller! 2024 Acerbis Amateur Nationals – Preview

After a longer off-season than scheduled, the Acerbis Amateur Nationals kicks off in less than a week, and what a series we have in store with many past champions returning, some departing and some switching classes, 2024 is set to be an absolute thriller.

Preview by Arran Murphy – Images by Matthew Rudd Photography

The Junior Open category will be just as wide open and exciting as ever as the top 3 get moved up out of the class making way for the next bunch to rise to the top. One of those who will be up at the sharp end will be Lewis Griffiths who made a few successful wildcard appearances in 2023 landing on the podium 4 times. Former champion of the class Ben Walsh returns for another shot this time onboard a Kawasaki and will be up there mixing it amongst the podium places while Kieran Mulloy Card and George Pool will also be fancying their chances at a title after both producing successful wildcard rides at the latter part of the 2023 season. Add in regulars such as Dale Lyons and Taylor Misslebrook and we have a group that will provide non stop entertainment throughout the year.

In the Over 40 category the hot favourite has to be the unbeaten champion of 2023 in Ryan Voase. Voasey managed to go 33 moto wins from 33 starts and blow the competition away but 2024 could well be a different story. Former British championship regular Aston Bird is signed up this year and could pose a huge threat to the title as long as he can match the fast starting Kawasaki man. Also pushing for another title is Former Open 2 stroke champion Paul Johnston. The scot has been working hard throughout the winter to be fully prepared and is fired up for another shot after a disappointing 2023. Lee Martin won the championship in 2022 and is back for another go this year and you can guarantee he will be around the podium places come the end of next weeks opener. Series regulars Craig Chamberlain and Carl Stannard are also back and will be in and around the top 6 places.

The Over 50s class was a hotly contested one in 2023 and it is only going to get even more competitive in 2024. Returning is the trio that created all the headlines in 2023 with defending champion Richard Miller heading the lineup with Adrian Bradley and Simon Bonsor both also lining up recouped and ready for another year of racing. Joining them this year and arguably the biggest name in the class Factory Phil Mercer who even though wasn’t a championship regular last year has to start as title favourite after a dominating wildcard appearance at Cusses Gorse last year. Danny Tollett moves from the over 40 category where he finished runner up last year, into the Over 50s and I’m sure he will be pushing for wins and podium placings along with Sean Smith and Paul Wildman Willis.

The Ladies category is once again going to provide us with some brilliant racing as defending two time champion Grace Richards is back to try and make it a hat trick but she won’t have it all her own way as former champion Nadiya Jones is also returning along side Grace Packman and Rebecca Newham who will be fighting for podium places and wins throughout the year. Libby Chatburn is the newest edition to the class and could cause an upset up near the front after a successful final round wildcard ride where she managed to sneak a runner up spot.

In the frantic 125 category defending champion Damon Strydom returns with the number 1 plate but as ever the class is wide open and with riders such as Charlie Palmer, Corey Hockey and Jake Walker coming into the frame, adding to the already stacked lineup of Harry Linton, Matt Ridgway, Ryan Waggott, Ash Harland, Harry Barker and Luke Newman all expecting to be on the podium at the very least, there’s definitely going to be some bar banging from Haverigg right through to Culham.

Rory Jones has has to be the favourite for the Open 2 stroke championship in 2024. The KTM pilot matched the pace of eventual champion Josh Spinks all year but had to settle for second spot in the end and after a strong showing at the Hawkstone International will be full of confidence going into Haverigg. Patrick Jackson is another man full of speed and the ability to win and will be pushing Jones all the way while Lee Truman is another new name to the championship to throw his name in the mix. Add in former multi Acerbis champion Dylan Spencer and regulars Jordan Ridgway, Liam Gale, Mitch Armour and Drew Roe and right there is the recipe for a hotly contested championship battle.

The MX2 class will be as hotly contested as ever as defending champion Lee Sealey returns but will have his hands full with Alfie Calvert, Zac Stealey, Logan Wilcox and Patrick Gilligan all returning, throw into the mix AMCA regulars of Henry Williams and Cory McShane, former British MXY2 champion Josh Waterman, recent MXY2 podium guys Dominic Newbury and Tyla Hooley as well as former Acerbis champions Scott Hamilton and James Lassu, there’s the ingredients for a very tightly fought series.

MX1 is always the most stacked class of them all and 2024 is no different, there is a whole host of talented riders on the start list and there is at least 10 riders who are capable of winning. Top of the list has to be the two time defending series champion in Jack Beniston who dominated the 2023 season however it isn’t going to be as clear cut in 2024. Josh Spinks won the open 2 stroke class last year and will be fighting on board the big 450 this time around and hungry to add the MX1 title to the list. James Dodd arrives from the AMCA British championship and has previous experience as a wildcard taking wins along the way. Max Lewis, Jayden Ashwell and Will Hughes have all stood on the top step also in previous years and will be in the hunt along with former Acerbis champions Andy Wilson, Seb Berthauime, Jake Preston, Jimmy Margetson, Corey Nemeth and Ed Briscoe. Throw in 2023 MX2 runner up Jake Winnard and former EMX regular Chris Mills and there’s 14 riders in that list that you would expect to be in the top 10 at the very least before any dark horses throw their cards on the table.

One thing is for sure and that is the Acerbis Amateur Nationals are going to provide us with yet another year of red hot action from round 1 at Haverigg to round 6 at Culham, and it all kicks off next weekend 27/28 April at Haverigg.