With the fourth round of the Red Bull Pro Nationals series set to blast off at Canada Heights this weekend now’s as good a time as any to check out the main movers, shakers and upset makers in the Pro MX1 and MX2 divisions.
Okay, on current form only a fool would bet against anyone other than the Tow Law Terror himself, PAR Honda’s Brad Anderson, for the win. With a near perfect five from six moto wins and three from three overall victories in the class this season he is high in confidence and has taken his riding to another level this season.
Maturing like a fine wine, his sh*t or bust attitude seems to have diminished and Brad is reaping the rewards as he proved in Germany where he scored a fantastic 11th place finish in the second moto at the Teutschenthal GP. Last season saw the series visiting the Kent circuit twice with Ando taking a third overall at round three and an emphatic double win at round seven. Be sure that’s exactly what he’ll be gunning for this time around!
Last season’s MX2 champ has wasted no time in making his mark in the MX1 class being the only person to have knocked Anderson from the top spot and anyone who saw the FatCat battles between them knows that, speedwise at least, Barr is pretty much on an even keel with the Honda man. Canada Heights proved to be a very successful hunting ground for the proppa.com KTM pilot in 2010 as he grabbed a double win at round three and consolidated this with a second overall at round seven. If he can just keep those niggling mistakes to a minimum he’ll be in with a good shot at top honours.
Whatley is another MX1 rookie who has instantly placed himself as a permanent top five fixture. With lightning reflexes out of the gate and an ability to find lines where no other can it’s only a matter of time before the Samsung Yamaha star finds himself on the top step of the podium. As an overall winner here last year in the MX2 class, if Whatley can keep the dreaded arm-pump at bay then don’t be surprised to see him at the pointy end of proceedings.
Even though it’s a track that he likes bad luck tends to dog the CCM rider here – be it first turn pile-ups, fence posts in the face or simply crashing while leading. If the planets line up for the likeable Scotsman then this could well be the scene of a long overdue victory and a reversal of fortune for the Clews Competition Machinery team.
The way that Northern Ireland’s sporting elite have been trouncing all-comers lately – well in golf anyway – you could do a lot worse than take a punt on Relentless Suzuki by TAS’s Gordon Crockard. He’s having an underwhelming season by his own standards but let’s not forget that he took top honours here at round three in 2010, backing that up with a fourth overall at round seven so it could just happen!
Unless you are the world’s worst gambler you’ll have your money firmly placed on Pulse Racing DB Honda’s Elliott Banks-Browne to take home the bacon. With an amazing six from six so far this season there doesn’t look to be any stopping EBB as he marches relentlessly towards his goal of being crowned the Red Bull Pro Nationals MX2 Champion but, as we all know, in motocross anything can happen.
Last season’s visit to Canada Heights was a tale of two halves as after a first moto win the second race saw a bad crash and DNF that effectively ended EBB’s title hopes. If Elliott can keep that from his mind and keep focussed on the job in hand it will take someone absolutely on top of their A game to keep him from winning.
One man who should be able to keep EBB honest at Canada Heights is Relentless Suzuki by TAS’s Mel Pocock. A self-confessed lover of all things old school, Canada Heights is somewhere that Pocock has had good results in the past and if he can get out of the gate with EBB it should be a fantastic battle. A below par result at Whitby has left Mel in desperate need of good points and with his top priority being to break the Banks-Browne win-streak don’t be too surprised to see the Suzuki man claim his first moto win of the season.
Coming off his best result of the season at Whitby, Bry Mac’s year is starting to gather some momentum and, reading between the lines, if he can manage to stay on the bike for two motos there’s no reason why he can’t be challenging for top honours. Unfortunate crashes have left the Maxxis Henderson LPE Kawasaki rider spending most of his time battling back through the traffic but when he keeps it on two wheels his speed isn’t in question and the popular Scotsman will be aiming for at least a repeat of last season’s second overall.
Nev’s weekends seem to be getting better and better at the moment with an excellent second overall at Whitby. As someone who goes better on the faster, more flowing tracks, Canada Heights should suit the Honda rider down to the ground. In fact last season’s visit to the Kent track for round seven saw Nev place his second best result of the season. Looking for his first win of the season, it would come as no surprise to see the ’09 MX2 champ battling right at the front of the pack.
As they seem to be joined at the hip this season it would be unfair to pick one over the other so our tip for the dark horse comes in the form of TM Racing’s Stuart Edmonds and his nemesis, Danger UK KTM’s Matt Moffat. Both of these boys know how to lead and win races – in the Open two-stroke class they have shared eight of the nine moto wins this season! If they can just get a good start there’s every chance either of them could make it onto the podium.
If all the above Pro action isn’t enough to get you to set you sat nav to BR8 8DX then don’t forget there’s a full programme of Red Bull Elite Youth Cup action featuring the UK’s top schoolies, the Fuchs Silkolene races for two-smokers, BMX legend Kye Forte and a special kids’ zone featuring TV favourites including Bob the Builder…
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