REVO Husqvarna UK’s new three-man MX2 team will make its competitive debut at the Hawkstone International on February 11.
After their punishing off-season schedule of testing and training, Mel Pocock along with 2018 signings Martin Barr and Dylan Woodcock will use the event to gauge their level against some of the world’s best riders before they embark on the team’s most ambitious season to date.
As well as chasing the coveted Maxxis ACU British MX2 title, REVO Husqvarna UK will contest the highly-competitive 12-round European EMX250 series with the aim of moving into the MXGP world championship in 2019.
The team’s preparations will move up a gear next week when they travel to Redsand in Spain which hosts the EMX opener on March 25.
Mark Yates (Team Principal) said: “Next year is going to be very exciting for us and I think we have all the ingredients to challenge for the EMX250 and British Maxxis MX2 titles. It’s something that as a team we’ve been building towards and hopefully everything will go well.
“The Hawkstone International will be a testing ground for us to see where we’re at. It’s our 2018 team debut and also the first time Martin and Dylan have raced for REVO Husqvarna UK.
“EMX250 is a very important stepping stone for us. This year we attended three rounds and came close to the podium twice so we’re anticipating some very strong results next year in our first full season in the series.
“It matters to us as much as the Maxxis British Championship because with Mel and Martin both on two-year contracts, if everything goes to plan we’ll hopefully attract the additional support we will need to move into the MXGP class with them in 2019.
“Martin is riding as well as he’s ever ridden and if he can continue that into 2018 I think he stands a great chance. He’s one of the older riders at 30 years of age but he’s got tremendous experience and the speed he has is good enough for a podium in the EMX250 championship and you can say the same for Mel.
“With some teams reducing their costs by pulling out of MXGP and MX2 and focussing instead on EMX250 it’s going to be very competitive next year but with our equipment and riders I think we stand as good a chance as anyone of running at the front.”
Mel Pocock said: :I’m excited to race the Hawkstone International. Who doesn’t enjoy racing a proper British international at such a famous British track. It’s always deep and rutted-out and I enjoy that sort of racing and it’s also a great opportunity to race against big names to see where I’m at.
“It’s a valuable warm-up race for the season and hopefully it will be a good team outing.
“I won the EMX250 title in 2012 so I’m looking for podiums and my eyes are on the number one spot. It’s a big championship now and has come a long way in a short number of years with a lot of former GP teams contesting it so it’s a very different championship to 2012 but it’s open for the win.”
Martin Barr said: “I’m really looking forward to Hawkstone. The international is always a good event but I’ve missed it the last couple of years so it’ll be great to get back there.
“It’s one of my most favourite tracks and it’s always good to get a pre-race under your belt before the season kicks off. It’s also going to be my first race with REVO Husqvarna and I think that’s going to be something special. The team’s absolutely fantastic, I’ve settled in really well and we’re all getting on great.
“Doing the full European series is something I’m really excited about. Just to get back into that paddock and ride different tracks with different people – and there will be some of those people at Hawkstone plus a lot of the MX2 riders who are doing the world championship so I’ll be able to gauge my speed and see where I’m at.
“I know I’m going to be one of the oldest riders in the European series but I’ve got more experience and hopefully I’ll be putting that to good use and going for the wins.”
Dylan Woodcock said: “I’ve never been to the Hawkstone International before as a rider – only as a spectator – so I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be my first outing with the team at a race so I’m excited and I think it will be a good opportunity for myself to learn from Mel and Martin and see how they work.
“It’s a very professional team and we’ll have the big truck there so I can’t wait.
“I’m really looking forward to the EMX250 series as well. I had a go at the last round this year in France but it was very tough because it had rained so much and was more about staying on the bike.
“It’s a very tough class and riders come from all round the world to compete so it will be a challenge just to get in the main race every week.”