A social media appeal that went viral has helped talented 19-year-old Briton Gradie Featherstone make it to the start gate of the UK Arenacross series which kicks off on Saturday night in Manchester.
With no major teams snapping up the feisty Brit who last year qualifier for three AMA Supercross Main Events in the 250 class against riders like Malcolm Stewart and Jeremy Martin, he was offered a Wildcard ride in the UK series but had no bike or team to run him.
Gradie’s plight caught the attention of the UK motocross industry, with brands coming forward to offer support following the social media outcry. And as a result of this last-minute appeal, he will be lining up this weekend for team manager Dave Willet who has put his XBladez team back together for Gradie to race the series.
MotoHead’s chief test rider Willet, owner of XBladez, co-ordinated support from the internationally-known WD-40 brand, Husqvarna, ZeroNine graphics, Absolutely Plastered, CI Sport and Doc Wobs Imports, who helped put the bikes together literally on the eve of the race.
Gradie has a 350 Husky and MotoHead’s long-term Husky as his spare bike. The race bike is fitted with some tasty bits including Doc Wobs titanium bolt kit, a DEP full exhaust, Renthal bars and levers and cool ZeroNine graphics.
Willet said: “I put a post on Facebook about Gradie who is a talented, up-and-coming rider in the UK as it frustrated me that he got ‘missed’ out of all the major teams’ selections. I feel really strongly that we should be nurturing talent like this, and luckily a lot of other people do too.”
Gradie raced for XBladez alongside former US champ Mike Brown at the start of 2016 and was riding well, making it through to the finals, until he picked up an injury. Then he went to the USA where he qualified for three out of the four main events in the AMA East Coast Supercross series.
Gradie’s bikes were assembled at Doc Wobs Imports alongside bikes that will be ridden by French youngster Gaeten Le Hir in the FRO Systems PAR Elite team. His bike features lots of tuning parts and some factory kit KYB suspension, courtesy of Doc Wobs.