The teenage Brit who qualified for three AMA Supercross main events in 2016 yet has been left out of major UK Arenacross teams, Gradie Featherstone looks set to have a wildcard ride in the whole UK series. No details of a bike or team have yet been announced. Other wildcards are to be multiple Irish champ Stuart Edmonds and indoor specialists Hugo Basaula from Portugal and Sulivan Jaulin from France.
The biggest switch in the AX transfer-window is that of the 2013 Pro champ, Adam Chatfield, returning to his solid Buildbase Honda team under the guidance of multi-World and British championship-winning MX-hero Dave Thorpe. Chatfield was set to run under the FRO Systems PAR Elite banner, whilst 2014 AX champ Fabien Izoird was due to head up the Buildbase team. When a collarbone injury, in the final rounds of the French SX championship, ruled out Izoird, Chatfield was an obvious choice to step back into the Honda-supported team.
Commenting on the changes, Thorpe said: “As a team, we are devastated for Fabien as he’s been riding for Honda in Europe and was looking forward to racing with Honda in the UK for the first time. However, we’re delighted to welcome Adam back to the fold as, personally, I’ve worked with him since he was seven-years-old. He won AX in 2013 and then, in the 2016 AX championship, he recovered from a slow start to get on the podium at the last three rounds and win the electrifying final at Wembley.
“I’m actually thrilled to have an all-British team and all three guys; Adam and the Bayliss brothers Matt and Chris, have huge potential. I reckon they will all feature on the podium. It’s an exciting time for us all and we’re particularly looking forward to showcasing the all-new Honda 450.”
Replacing Chatfield on the FRO Systems PAR Elite team is 22-year-old French hot-shot Gaetan Le Hir. He was the 2011 French Junior SX champion and since 2012 has been in the top five of the French SX Lites class – he finished third this year. Of his new team, he said; “The team looks motivated, and they are preparing me the bike that I want. It all sounds good!”
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7th January – Manchester Arena, Manchester
14th January – The SSE Hydro, Glasgow
21st January – The Genting Arena, Birmingham
27th January – The SSE Arena, Belfast
28th January – The SSE Arena, Belfast
11th February – Sheffield Arena, Sheffield
18th February – The SSE Arena, Wembley