MOTO's Maxxis Preview - Hawkstone Park

Max Anstie making his return to British Motocross at Hawkstone.

It seems an absolute age since the opening round in Doncaster, but this weekend sees the resumption of the British Motocross Championship for Round 6. The venue this time is the ever reliable Hawkstone Park circuit run by the Salop MCC club. With the almost ancient course cut into the deep red sand of the hillside, fantastic racing is always on the cards, and the natural landscape is a definite improvement to the more manufactured tracks within the series. Despite this year’s unprecedented rain, the ACU series has managed to pull off the first five rounds in gloriously sunny conditions. The five week break since Desertmartin has dodged the worst of the weather, but looking at the forecast for the weekend, the spell might be broken on Sunday – just hope they’ve got it wrong and the temperature in the high 20’s continues.

As well as the usual hard fought MX1 & MX2 championships, the support classes this weekend come from the Golden Oldies of the Veterans class, and at the other end of the spectrum, the impossibly quick little guys in the MXY85 class. Greg Hanson will want to maintain his lead in the Vets, with Will Keogh keen to fight of the challenge from Todd Kellett and Jordan Eccles on the screaming 85s. With a packed program from the off, Hawkstone is a must-do this weekend.

MX1
Aside from one brief moment after Milton Park, Kevin Strijbos has owned the red plate all season and doesn’t look much like giving it up. Although it’s not confirmed at this stage, Mattis Karro is expected to sit out this round with his back injury, so any challenge from the STR’s Latvian hero is unlikely. It’s a real shame as Mattis has been stunning this season and is only 5 points behind Kevin. In his absence, the challenge is going to come from current third place Shaun Simpson, but with 46 points to catch up, it’s going to take major disaster for KS22 to eat away at that kind of lead. Further down the pack Krestinov sits in a comfortable 4th, whilst Barr, Sword and Whatley are on similar footings in the mid top ten.

One rider who is showing rapid improvement this year is PAR’s Dorren Coutts, so don’t be surprised if the CRF450 mounted rider gets a podium on Sunday.

If like the GP Previews we are going to make a prediction, it would be Strijbos, Simpson, Barr.

MX2
The MX2 class is far closer than the big boy’s class this year, and it would be a brave one to call the 2012 champion at this stage. Elliott Banks Browne sits at the top of the tree with 294 points, but Mel Pocock is only eight points adrift, so even a slight bobble from EBB will gift the red plate back to the front of the Dixon Yamaha. With Mel’s confidence doubtless sky high on the back of his dominant form in the EMX2 class at the GPs, you have to think that he’s going to smash Hawkstone this weekend, and Elliott will need three Weetabix in Red Bull for breakfast to keep Pocock at bay.

A little way back in third is Steven Lenoir, closely tailed by Nev Bradshaw and Bryan Mackenzie. BryMac is with a new team this weekend having parted company with the Rockstar KTM squad, but armed with much the same bike, will hopefully maintain his strong form. Graeme Irwin is still fighting for points and a good season on the Emberson Yamaha, and it might be the weekend for him and team mate Lenoir to climb the podium together – both are certainly capable. One rider who is set to appear for the first time this year is Max Anstie, Max is without doubt a class act but his form of late at world championship level has been very hit and miss. If his bike is co-operative he’ll probably win but lets wait and see.
Prediction – really tight but Pocock, EBB, Irwin.

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