Who will be on top of the World? 2018 Minibike World Championships – The Preview
The Minibike World Championships fire’s into life today and racers from all over the world are gathering for their shot at the biggest prize in World Minibike racing. The event runs the whole weekend from 24th to 26th August.
Images courtesy of Harry Lessman – Picturebike
The venue of choice this year is Champs Parc, near Kettering, which has been completely reworked for this event with the MBC crew, as always, doing everything they can to make this a special event, for both riders and spectators.
With the 2018 British Champions already crowned there are a number of UK hopefuls going into this meeting brimming with confidence and looking to add another huge title to their CV.
Today (Friday) is qualifying, before the racers take on two days of full on race action as they look to be crowned World Champion.
Let’s take a look at the riders who are getting ready to do battle.
One class which will definitely be crowning a new champion in 2018 is the Kids 50cc class, with last years top runners all too old to compete. There are some super hot fresh faces though in this group including the new British Champion Robbie Daly. Robbie will have hot competition from the super talented Riley Ray-Barrow who has improved in the last two season’s but has missed the majority of the MBC season. Ethan Georgiou is an emerging presence in this class a will certainly be a podium contender as will the super consistent Maddie Banks who rode well all season long finishing up the British Champs in second. You can’t count out though the large number of riders from outside the British MBC Champs who put their helmet in the ring for World glory, so it will be interesting to see who emerges as the champ.
It will take a brave man or lady to bet against Leo Vowles in the Youth 125cc Junior class after he blitzed the field in every round of the British to take the title. Sometimes the pressure of a World Championships can get the better of a rider and over a long weekend anything could happen. Jack Perry could be the biggest challenger after finishing in the runners up spot in the British but don’t count out a newcomer or two sneaking in to spoil the party.
Last years runner up in the Youth 125 Senior’s Ewan Goddard has got into the winning habit this year and he will be super focused on adding the World title to his British he won last month. This is probably the most stacked youth group, and Daniel Agea Moreno from Spain, who finished third last year, and Portuguese talent Ruben Rodrigues who was fourth in 2018 will be looking to take the journey back home with a title under their belt. Harry Streeter and Freddie Hills have had their moments this year too, and lets not forget last years Youth 125 Junior World Champ Senna Ace-Summers who had a slow start to the season but has been improving impressively over the last few MBC rounds. The French riders are renowned for being incredibly fast and Proenca Guilherme could also be one to watch.
For racing in close quarters look no further than the 110cc class. Last years champion Nathan Marsden hasn’t entered so a new name will adorn the trophy. One man will be more determined than ever for that name to be his and that’s Matthew Pocock. Matthew missed out on the title by just a solitary point last year and after a poor start to his British Champs campaign he has shown immense speed recently winning the last 11 races of the series. Piers Skinner heads to Champs Parc having won the British title so he will be on a high with runner up Oscar Stearn also brimming with confidence. A dark horse could be Jack Titterall who was winner of the third round of the MBC in May. Contenders from oversea’s will be Swedish racer Alexander Reinholdsson, and the Kiwi duo of Jeremy Mcknight and Matt Sutherland making the long haul trip from New Zealand. France has one representative in this class in the name of Anton Hafekost. If you add into the mix 140cc British Champ Ash Gorman you can sure that racing in this class is going to be epic.
Reigning World Masters Champ Pat Crump has been absent form the Minibike scene this season but he is back to defend his title and it will take a strong performance from one of his rivals to wrestle it off him. Dale Howard who pushed Crump all of the way in 2017 is back and after winning the final two moto’s last year will know he has what it takes to topple Crump off his mantle. Out of the British Champs racers, Russ Jepson heads the charge, and after coming third in the MBC he will be yearning for a further trip to the podium. Marcio Ferreira from Portugal was third in 2017 and very much on the pace so he is sure to be a front runner, and fellow Portuguese rider Paulo Marques will be looking to take some silverware back home with him. Frederic Soruoux will be looking to keep the Tricolor flying being the only French representative in this class.
When it comes to the Vets class Chris Rose is the undisputed Champ as it stand’s, having defeated all before him in a master class of racing to take the 2018 British Champs, and having won the World Champs last year he is going to take some stopping. One rider Rose will have to watch out for is Jason Gutteridge who started the season in tremendous form before injury cut him down in his prime. He did get the better of Rose on a couple of occasions so will have that in the back of his mind as he goes to the gate this weekend. Colin Blackwell is super consistent and was runner up in both this years British and last years Worlds, and with his staying power that makes him a contender. Richard Davies from Spain is an unknown prospect whilst Phillipe Bellin from France finished 7th last year.
Now onto the big one… the 160’s and where to start is my problem. This year is so stacked with talent it’s going to be a very difficult one to call, so lets start with reigning World Champion Frenchman Mike Valade. Valade was tremendous last year with just one defeat to British favourite Bradley Pocock. This season though hasn’t been the best for him and his assault on the British MBC champs ended with injury, and when he did race he didn’t quite look the force he was in the World’s last year. That being said he is a class act and won’t want to let go of his title. Pocock though is in top form and after finishing second last year he will want to land the title on home soil. He claimed the British title last month in fine style and he comes into this weekend in the form of his life. America’s Justin Sipes finished 4th in 2017 but with very little bike time and preparation. This time round with the experience of last year under his belt he will come back quicker and faster, and will be a genuine title contender.
Blaine Blackwell has had a British Champs to forget but he was fifth in last years World Champs and with the slate wiped clean he will be keen to make up for his MBC showing. Rusty Griffiths made a one off appearance at the last British round and showed he still has what it takes and the speed to be with the front runners so watch out for him. Danish ace Sebastian Kaergaard finished second in the British Champs and his recent form has been impressive and this guy knows how to score big points over a weekend. Welsh Brother’s Dom and and Dan Foreman are always there or thereabouts too and I wouldn’t put a podium position past them.
To be fair I have only touched the side on the Pro class with riders from all over the World taking part. With the biggest prize on the planet on the line, a whole heap of racers could be taking home the title. One thing is for certain though, and that is the action will be fast and furious and is not to be missed.
Champs Parc is situated near Kettering NN14 3NB. You can watch this event with Adults (16’s and over) – £10 per day (Friday is free for spectators) and Kids (under 16’s with an accompanying adult) – £0.
Keep up to date with everything via https://www.facebook.com/minibikeworldchampionship/