The opening round of the 2017 Michelin supported MX Nationals takes place on March 4/5th at Fatcat Motoparc on the outskirts of Doncaster (DN3 3EH). Over 280 riders have registered for the series across 7 classes, which take place over 6 rounds with this event being the first outdoor National of the 2017 season.
The first day’s action will see our combined 85cc class riders take to the track for the first race of the weekend. As they take to the line, the fastest small wheel rider in qualifying will get first pick on the line but who will that be? The new season sees a number of debutants in class with ones to watch likely to be Alfie Jones, Harvey Cashmore, Charlie Heyman, Syd Putnam, Oliver Barr & Arai Elcock.
Defending small wheel champion Ike Cater will race on a 125cc machine in 2017 leaving Bobby Bruce & Louie Kessell as likely front runners in the big wheel category, having finished 2nd & 3rd in the SW championship standings in 2016. Kylie McNicol will be looking to move up the standings after his 6th place in last year’s standing, but keep an eye out for Dominic Lancett, Lewis Wood & James Wood who should all be looking for a podium this year.
Our Combined MXY classes sees the 125cc 2 strokes (MXY1) taking on the 250cc 4 stroke (MXY2). Many riders have moved up from the 85 classes & will race on 125 machines for 2017, therefore picking a winner is a tall order. Outgoing 85 BW champion Joel Rizzi could be one to watch but any of the following could take a race win, Ike Carter, Rossi Beard, Sam Nunn, Josh Peters & Preston Williams. In MXY2 Lewis Hall is the one to watch, Lewis used the latter part of the 2016 season to acquaint himself with the 250 machine in readiness for a title challenging year. He certainly won't have it all his own way with Ben Clark, Keenan Hird, Joe Cadwaller, Jake Edey also likely to be near the front of the Pack.
2017 sees not 1 but 2 clubman classes at the Nationals featuring both MX1 & MX2 categories. Both classes will produce some top class action as these guys & gals get to battle it out in 4 races per class across the weekend. In MX2 keep an eye out for Tony Cadman, Jack Colley, Brad Thornhill & our 3 female competitors of Gabbi Hamlet, Amie Goodlad & Sophia Levell. MX1 those to watch are Mitchell Benjamin, Danny Townsend, Lee Tolan, Darrell Sims & Jamie Aitken.
Both Expert classes this season now come with official ACU British Championship status, and with some hoping to use the class as a route to soon be racing in the professional classes.
Defending MX2 champion Henry Williams has moved up to the Fastest40, so who will be looking to take his crown? Charlie Hamlet showed some good speed at the Hawkstone International & should feature well but is likely to be battling season long with Josh Coleman & Luke Mellows. These 3 will be hard pushed by Jason Meara, Simon Booth, John Waghorne & Charlie Putnam. In MX1 Luke Parker returns to defend his title but will be pushed all the way as the top 5 from the 2016 standings all return & will be hoping to take his title from him. So with Shaun Southgate, Brad Cavill, Ben Cole & Adam Day already looking to push Parker all the way could there be a dark horse to look out for? Lewis Trickett will be racing a 250cc 2 stroke in preparation for a full campaign in the new British Championship 2 stroke class.
If all that racing wasn't enough, we add something to the mix on a Sunday, with two Pro 30 minute plus 2 lap motos that we call the #Fastest 40. Defending MX1 Champion Graeme Irwin returns to defend his crown but sees his Buildbase Honda teammate & defending MX2 champion Marin Barr also on MX1 machinery. These guys are joined by 2015 champion Kristian Whatley making his Apico Husqvarna debut, 2016 Round 5 double race winner Jake Shipton on the Rob Hooper Racing Cresent Yamaha, Gert Krestinov (Phoenix Tools Honda), 2015 MX2 Champion Steven Lenoir (Hobbs Racing Kawasaki), Elliott Banks Browne (Geartec Husqvarna), Fans favourite Brad Anderson (Verde Sports Racing), Kevin Wouts (Lombard Suzuki), Ashley Wilde (RFX KTM) & the two Cab Screens Husky boys of Dan Thornhill & James Harrison.
If that wasn't enough then the MX2 class is just as stacked with Marin Barr now racing MX1 the other two guys on the 2016 championship podium will be hoping to take his crown. Lewis Tombs (Lings Husqvarna) & Liam Knight (Hobbs Racing Kawasaki) sure won't have it all their own way as the other young guns will be out to claim a step on the podium. Mel Pocock (Revo Husqvarna), Jake Millward (Verde Racing KTM), Josh Gilbert (Dave Thorpe Off Road), Nathan Dixon (RFX KTM), Dylan Woodcock (Team Green Kawasaki), Jamie Carpenter (Revo Husqvarna) & the list goes on.
So why not come & join us, racing gets underway on Saturday at 11am & Sunday at 9.30 am.
Sundays Pro Fastest40 races are scheduled for 12 & 3pm. Weekend Tickets are priced at £10 per adult over 12 years & children under 12 are free, so come and watch the opening National event of the 2017 MX season.
Words by Kevin Daniels