The doors closed on the annual Motorcycle Live exhibition at the NEC, Birmingham last Sunday with over 113,000 visitors flocking through the door. This represented a significant overall increase in footfall over the 2015 edition of the show, and a lucky 42,000 of them were lucky enough to witness the Arenacross FMX Live taster shows for free.
The Tuesday of the show was something of an AX takeover with virtually the entire Pro class paddock turning out to sit alongside the FMX athletes (Jamie Squibb, Nez Parker, Steve Sommerfeld, Dan Whitby, Samson Eaton, Arran Powley), and take time out to meet fans and sign autographs. Once the daytime show was over, the doors reopened for the AX launch party where 2500 hardcore AX fans were invited to a free evening FMX show. They were the first in the UK to see the new Pro teams, together with few of their Pro Lite team-mates, and hear their thoughts on, and plans for the 2017 Tour.
Reigning British MX champion Tommy Searle popped in prior to going out to the States for winter training, and the full Team Green AX line-up of Jack Brunell, Dylan Woodcock, Kacey Hird and Bobby Bruce were right with him.
Popular Brit Kristian Whatley, who claimed three national motocross titles in 2013, and his Pro Lites stable-mate Ollie Osmaston were spotted in their new MVR-D Husqvarna livery, and the multi-international team of Cedric Soubeyras, Angello Pellegrini and George Clarke (Team RFX powered by St Blazey MX) rocked up to check out their new Suzukis.
Three-time world and multi-British motocross champ Dave Thorpe unveiled not one, but two teams and he had a full complement of riders on hand including Fabien Izoird, Matt and Chris Bayliss (Buildbase Honda) and Florent Richier, Alex Snow together with 2016 Pro Lites champ Joe Clayton (Keystone Honda Racing). On the all-Brit front, Adam Chatfield jetted in to join Welsh brothers Ashley and Josh Greedy (FRO Systems PAR Racing).
The only team to remain unchanged for the 2017 AX Tour is the twice-winning one of SR75 World Suzuki and its French pilots Thomas Ramette and Cyrille Coulon. The double-champ and his team-mate were also at the launch and presented to the gathered audience.
The AX launch party was but a teaser for what is to come when the Tour gets underway at Manchester on 7th January next year and with such immense racing talent confirmed for the series, it would take a brave punter to predict the outcome – the books are well and truly open!
Tickets are on sale now from www.arenacrossuk.com and also via 24-hour ticket lines; Ticket Factory 0844 3388 222. Ticketmaster 0333 321 9999.