Operation ‘Restart’ ready to rumble at Hawkstone – Michelin MX Nationals Round 1 Preview
After what seems like an eternity and mildly painful wait we’re finally going to get back to British championship racing courtesy of the Michelin MX Nationals this weekend at Hawkstone Park, and we’re bloody excited about it too!
Preview by Jeff Perrett – Feature Image courtesy of Elliot Spencer – MX Nationals
The famous old circuit, arguably one of the most famous MX venues in the world, will see stacked out classes from small-wheeled 85cc all the way up to the fastest 40 adult riders in the country all going at it to get their championship off to a solid start on the rough and tough Shropshire sand track.
Expect the racing to be intense. With the unexpected break in racing, every single rider will be ‘up for it’ and those first-round nerves and adrenaline will play their part, probably some serious lack of race fitness too. It’s certainly going to be interesting to see it unfold. Especially with the new ‘Fastest 40’ qualifying procedure, that will now see exactly that. New for 2020, we’ll now see around 60 riders trying to qualify for those 40 positions on the line. So no more saying what you think you could do if you had the chance to race in the top 40, now for quite a few riders, they’ll get the chance to show if they’re fast enough by getting the opportunity to qualify for the two ‘Fastest 40’ adult races on the Sunday.
With new additions to the series for 2020, like the Buildase Honda duo of Tommy Searle and Steven Clarke, along with their team mate – 2018 MX1 champion – Jake Nicholls returning to action after an injury wrecked 2019, along with stacked out field of talent it’s fair to say the racing in the pro ranks is going to be a fascinating watch. The Honda trio will certainly have to work for it because the pro ranks are stacked out with some serious talent. Reigning MX1 champion Harri Kullas on the Deos Cab Screens Honda will be wanting to get his championship defence off to a solid start. The PAR Homes RFX Husqvarna team will be really strong with last years MX2 champ Josh Gilbert up for keeping his title and Evgeny Bobryshev and Nathan Dixon representing (both MX1) with young Joel Rizzi in MX2, as will Brent Van Donnick on his ASA United Husqvarna.
Everyone’s favourite old battling war horse Brad Anderson will be giving it 100% as always abroad his Verde KTM 250 2 stroke alongside new teammate Lewis Tombs. Jake Shipton on his Crescent Yamaha is improving all the time in the soft stuff and will be in the mix. The Chambers Racing Husqvarna squad is also really strong this year with the fast-starting Jake Millward, and MX2 young hotshot Tom Grimshaw along with fellow teammates Jay Haque (MX1), Aaron McCarrol (MX1) and Ben Franklin (MX2). The Gabriel KTM team have also strengthened for 2020 with youngster Michael Ellis joining their ranks along with Liam Knight and Scot John Adamson in the MX1 class. Rob Hooper’s RHR Yamaha team will be looking to get their season off to a flyer with their young line up of Taylor Hammal, Sam Nunn and Howard Wainwright in MX2. Kawasaki will be represented by Phoenix Tool Apico duo of Carlton Husband and Ulsterman Jason Meara. Taking of Ulsterman, the experienced Martin Barr on his BRT KTM and Stuart Edmonds (Apico Husqvarna) will also be out there pushing on at the sharp end. Other very notable entries that should be in the mix in the top 10 are Ashton Dickenson (MX2) and Josh Spinks (MX1). Kiwi Dylan Walsh returns to the UK and moves up to the MX1 class on the MSR Honda. Former MXON Team USA member Thomas Covington is rocking up for a shakedown before GP action on his Team Gebben Van Venrooy Yamaha and will be surely racing for the win.
But probably the most notable additions to the line up are three time repeat Weston Beach Race winner and now beach race specialist Todd Kellett (Dragon Yamaha) and newly crowned World Super Enduro champion Billy Bolt on his Rockstar Factory racing Husqvarna. Expect both of those two to be battling right in there with the regular Michelin MX Nationals Fastest 40. It sure is going to be good, just a real shame that spectators aren’t allowed, but we’re sure the MX Nationals crew will do a good job with media coverage, so hopefully, we won’t miss too much. No doubt all the youth and Expert classes will also hold up their end of the bargain and lay on some brilliant racing too, they always do!
Look out for some live updates from Dirt Hub throughout the weekend, if Jeffro can get some bloody phone signal up there!