Riding the crest of a successful Preston Docks wave … the 2018 Michelin MX Nationals British Championship, with the best and fastest motocross riders the UK has to offer, is now on a fast charge to the iconic Hawkstone Park circuit in Shropshire this bank holiday weekend.
Mixing it with those hard-hitting professionals will be local lad 27-year-old Zac Stealey from Shrewsbury who contests the Expert MX1 championship on his Yamaha 250cc. He is currently ranking third in the championship but, with four Expert class races taking place on his home turf this Saturday and Sunday, things could quickly change in his favour.
The deep sand Hawkstone track is a fave with most riders and, of course, the famous Hawkstone Hill a must-do viewing point for fans. With a favourable weather forecast in place for the Whitsun bank holiday weekend, coupled with the very best riders in the UK taking no prisoners, it’s a no-brainer; Shrewsbury will clearly be a motocross mecca this weekend.
The cream of British MX talent will line up on the world-famous Hawkstone start gate for the third round of the leading officially-recognised MX Nationals British Championship.
On the Pro MX1 front, and fresh from his two-round MXN double-moto start-to-finish win, Buildbase Honda’s Jake Nicholls will be out to emulate team boss Dave Thorpe in the uber-smooth stakes; whilst fellow east-coast rival Elliott Banks-Browne will be upping his game to reel in his long-time pal. Yorkshire’s Micky Eccles has been a force to be reckoned with thus far, and he reckons that Hawkstone will be something of a leveller.
And then there are the MX2 youngsters, mixing with and, nipping at the rear wheels of the seasoned MX1 contenders; with Josh Gilbert and Lewis Tombs getting stuck in with the more experienced Brad Anderson on his lone two-stroke. A welcome return to the MX Nationals paddock will be the Revo Husqvarna pairing of EMX stars Mel Pockock and Martin Barr. Both guys have recovered from injury and are back and fighting fit.
What sets the MX Nationals apart from any other UK-based championship is that it gives as many opportunities as possible to the ‘working rider’, those guys (and girls) who race on Sunday and work on Monday. So, as well as the Pro contenders, there are classes for Experts and Clubmen. A fine example of this ‘open to the common man’ policy is the fact that the MX Nationals team were happy to allow 15-year-old Finley ‘Rossi’ Beard to switch from MXY2 to Expert MX2 ‘mid-season’. And, posting two maiden MX2 Expert wins at Preston Docks, the Penwortham Priory student didn’t disappoint his supporters.
In the Youth classes, RFX Crescent’s Joel Rizzi is proving a force to be reckoned with in MXY1, whilst in MXY2 Aaron-Lee Hanson called all the shots at Preston. Jack Grayshon has obliterated the opposition in the BW85 class, and Leeds-based Bailey Johnston has had a clear passage in the SW85. Revo Husqvarna teamster Ollie Colmer has not given up yet though, and the sand-loving north-easterner could stir things up at Hawkstone.
The two-day ‘Nationals’ weekend of non-stop race action at Hawkstone Park, Shrewsbury, SY4 4NA kicks off at 9am on Saturday and again at 9.30am on Sunday.
With little else on the motocross racing calendar over the late May bank holiday and low-cost admission …what are you waiting for?
A weekend pass is just £15 for adults. Children aged 12 and under gain free admission.
Pictured: Local-to-Hawkstone Zac Stealey. Image: Elliot Spencer.