The five-seconds board turns, the revs rise and the gate drops to signal the imminent arrival of the 2018 AMCA British Motocross Championship powered by Datatag and supported by Dunlop. And, once again the entry lists in all four main classes, MX1, MX2, 2T and Vets are stacked and of high quality. With excitement levels rising as round one rapidly gets closer, the first event in the 8 round series is a trip to Norley in Cheshire. But just who is likely to be chasing podiums in 2018? well here we take a brief look at some of the potential names likely to be in the mix.
In what was an already strong MX1 class, the bar as now been raised several notches higher by the introduction of some top 2017 MX2 pilots who have decided to transfer their skills to the big bike class. Leading the influx is Ray Rowson the 2017 AMCA MX2 Champion and Josh Waterman the 2017 MX2 runner-up along with the likes of Jansen Day and Luke Mellows. If any of those above former MX2 boys have aspirations though of bagging glory they will first have to overcome, a whole host of very fast MX1 aces. Throw into the mix, Gary Gibson the runner-up in 2017, Shane Carless 3rd in 2017, Ryan Crowder (4th), Paul Neale (5th), Andrew Smart (6th), Luke Meredith (7th) and Ashley Thomas (8th). Also definitely capable of pushing for glory is James Dodd, returning form injury and ultimate surgery following a painful 2017. With numerous other potential top ten runners, it’s easy to see why this class should be simply breath-taking!
After clinching the MX1 crown in 2017, Luke Burton drops down to challenge the MX2 aces for 2018, a class in which he has already bagged an AMCA title back in 2015. Naturally the very fast Burton will start again as a firm favourite but who will be his main challengers? Returning to full fitness and looking sharp after suffering a very painful 2017, expect Luke Dean to be right in contention along with Lewis King and sand-track Expert James Wainwright who should enjoy the Norley surface. Other riders looking to be at the front end of the business proceedings in 2018 include Bradley Tranter, Clinton Barrs, Jack Gardner, Luke Newman and Matt Ridgway, another rider who has dropped down from MX1. You know this class will always be entertaining and full of high flying, no-holds barred racing with Jack Wankling, Rory Jones, moving up from the 2T class, fast starting Jonathan Roderick-Evans and newcomer to the series Josh Coleman on my list of young aces worth keeping an eye open for!
With Brad Turner the 2017 AMCA 2T Champion retiring from racing, there will be a brand new name on this year’s winning trophy but who could take home the glory? One of the favourites should be the consistent 2017 runner-up Jordan Saunders along with top ten runners from last season, Jason Kenderick, Bradley Doyle, James Lane, Shaun Buchan and Jack Waterman. There’s also several new challengers for 2018 including Welsh lad Adam Cook, Henry Siddiqui, Ryan Zebedee and most notably top MX1 rider Richard Cannings. Dropping down to 2T due to a troublesome long standing knee injury, Cannings is still sure to be pushing hard for glory and entertaining everyone along the way with his all-action riding style!
At present the 2017 AMCA Vets Champion James Russell will not be contesting this year’s title chase. However last season’s runner-up Simon Lane will be at the start gate along with 3rd placed Terry House, Gary Jones who finished 4th, Brian Staples who also claimed the Vets Over 50s title and 6th placed finisher Richard Chinn. Some of the other names to look out for in this always competitive class include Stephen Elford, Matt Ryder, Sean Smith and Stephen Marlow. After missing the 2017 title chase, Matt Gordon the 2016 Vets Champion returns to action this year and is sure to be a major contender as the series unfolds!
New for 2018 and competing at every round is an AMCA 85cc/150cc Youth Championship. Although a little bit of an unknown quantity at present regarding entry levels and competing riders, hopefully this series will also develop to produce full line-ups and excitement to match the four main classes! So, on Sunday, April 29th, Norley in Cheshire is the place to be, the meeting hosted by Mid Cheshire MXC with the postcode for the event being WA6 6LJ. Admission charges for spectators is £7 Adults and £2 OAP’S/Children under-16. There’s also overnight camping available for a cost of £5. Words and pic by Mike Wood.