A couple of years ago Carlton Husband was struggling to score a single point, now he’s a firm fixture in the Maxxis top 10 and has his sights set even higher…

‘Carlton who?’ No disrespect to the North Easterner but Carlton Husband has pretty much come out of nowhere over the last couple of years. Just a handful of seasons ago he was wringing the nuts off a two-smoker at the Red Bull Pro Nationals, now he’s comfortably running top 10 in MX2 in the Maxxis series.

I’m not for one minute suggesting that the guys racing the two-stroke classes in the RBPNs weren’t quick – they hauled – but the step up to the full British championship is a massive one. And the man from Sunderland has taken it in his stride.


Currently sitting in eighth in the domestic MX2 series after a bit of a nightmare at round six at Foxhill (which he pretty much predicted but we’ll come back to that later), Carlton’s progression in just his second full season of British championship racing has been every bit as rapid as his MBO Power ASA Yamaha.

It’s what you’d expect from a highly-hyped 17-year-old schoolboy champ moving into the adult ranks, not a 23-year-old who works part-time in a garage and up until a year ago was a relative unknown. But these days he’s got two-time British champion Brad Anderson as a team-mate, pits out of one of the most professional awnings in the paddock and is fast establishing a reputation as being a rider to watch.

But before we start speculating on where he’s heading, let’s find out a little bit more about where he’s come from…

“I started riding when I was in Year Five at school,” he says. “A neighbour had a bike and that’s what got me into it on a PeeWee 80. Then I got a KX65 but I wasn’t very good on it. I did all right in the local stuff with thirds and seconds and I think I won a couple of championships near me on an 85cc but nothing serious.”

A decision to head west into Cumbria to try different tracks and surfaces began to pay off and Carlton soon found he was picking up the pace.

“I started getting better when we began going to Cumbria meetings because instead of riding the same tracks locally I started riding sand and then I did a few training days over in Holland. It was about riding different surfaces to what I was used to. I kept doing it and doing it and doing it and I just got better like that, from riding different tracks. I also did a few nationals – the BYMX and stuff like that – but I was right at the back.”

By the time he was in his mid-teens he was racing a 250F but that all changed when he picked up a personal sponsor who steered him back into the world of two-stroke racing.

“I switched back to two-strokes because I got a sponsor and that’s what they wanted me to do. It was through Paul at Moto X World up in Consett [in County Durham]. He put me on to someone called Steve Colmer who owns a big grouse moor. We’d never really had a sponsor before and he had a 350 he gave me for the winter and when it came to the beginning of the next season he got me a 250 two-stroke and it started from there.

“I had so much fun on the two-stroke and that’s when we began to get a bit serious. I was racing with riders like Matt Moffat and Stuart Edmonds – I wasn’t quite at their speed but I wanted to try and do good and started doing the nationals and bigger races.”

Carltonwas a front runner in the BYMX adult two-stroke class but it was his heroics on a 125cc machine in the Red Bull Pro Nationals that proved to be the stepping stone.

A strong third in 2011, the following year he went two places better and while the standard of rider wasn’t necessarily as high as in the Pro MX1 and MX2 divisions the racing was always super-competitive and provided a great shop window for a teenaged Carlton to prove that he could really hang it out.

So for 2013 Carlton got his first taste of Maxxis action, starting off on a 450 JLP Racing Bikesport KTM with – it has to be said – limited success. As series reserve he missed the cut for the points-paying races at the opening round but by round three, even though he got lapped, he picked up a couple of points for a race one 19th.

“I just wasn’t getting on with the 450 at all. I had a few bad crashes and it wasn’t working out. I hurt my shoulder and was about ready to jack it in unless I tried something else.”

He sat out the next two rounds and then reappeared at Hawkstone Park armed with a 250F but failed to make an impression with a 23-21-30 scorecard and at the final round at Farleigh Castle he scored just a single point in the second MX2 race. It was hardly an auspicious start to his first Maxxis campaign but it’s one that makes the way he’s turned things around all the more remarkable.

Sticking with the JLP Racing Bikesport KTM but racing full-time in MX2 in 2014, Carlton qualified 13th at the opening round at Landrake and scored solid points at every round, the highlight being a final race ninth at Cusses Gorse. For someone who 10 months earlier had been struggling to get a single point it was a dramatic reversal of fortune that he credits former GP racer Stuart Flockhart for engineering.

“I started spending a lot of time with Stu. He got me feeling good and believing in myself and feeling much more confident and it just got better from there. I also switched from a full-time job to working part-time so I had more time on the bike.”

For the final round he raced for Roy Emberson’s Yamaha team after fellow North Easterner Anderson provided an introduction and that relationship has been maintained into the 2015 season where Carlton’s star has continued to rise.

Simple economics dictate that unless a rider is capable of being a championship contender they’re going to have to finance their place on any team and bringing his personal sponsor Colmer along obviously helped. But after his storming start to the 2015 season Carlton’s close to justifying his place on the strength of his results alone. 

“I’m starting to really get into it now. The bike and everything is just perfect. It’s all going good. I’m very surprised at how well I’m doing this year and at the same time I’m not. Over the winter I put so much time and effort in and so did my sponsor. He’s put loads of money and time into me. We’ve worked hard so I’m getting the results I should be getting really. At Blaxhall I wasn’t expecting to be sixth though – that was quite a surprise.”

Carltonkicked off his 2015 Maxxis campaign with 14th at the chaotic Hilton Park opener. At Lyng he was 13th, followed by ninth at Canada Heights and 10th at Hawkstone Park before posting a career-best finish at Blaxhall.

Unless you come from the North East it’s hard to appreciate just how tough it is to put in quality track time during what can be savage winter months and, apart from a few weeks training in Spain, Carlton has to dig deep if he wants to get sufficient saddle time.

“The last three years we’ve been to stay with friends who live in Barcelona for part of the winter so we get a good two or three weeks over there but the rest of the time we’ve got to travel seven or eight hours right to the top of Scotland to Tain. That’s really, really sandy and we’re there pretty much every other weekend. All the training I do at Tain has helped a lot in this year’s British championship with so many of the tracks being sandy.”

When we first spoke it was the week before round six of the Maxxis at Foxhill – see, I said we’d come back to that – and he was pretty frank about how he feels about the former GP circuit.

“I don’t go great on hardpack – Foxhill is my worst track in the world to be fair. I just do not enjoy it at all. But I’ve been trying to get out on the hardpack and I’ve got a couple of days testing with Steve Payne from Multitek on hardpack so hopefully by the time we get to Foxhill it shouldn’t be too bad.”

Unfortunately for Carlton he could only manage 17th at Foxhill and slipped a place in the championship but he remains confident that this is just a blip. 

“In qualifying I felt all right and was enjoying it and then they put all that water down on top of the polished stuff and I had a big crash down one of the hills and hurt my shoulder. After that I was riding okay but not where I know I can be and did not enjoy the track one little bit. I couldn’t get going.

“I’m not worried though – I’m heading to Belgium to practice so the last two rounds I’m going to come out swinging. I just want to keep working hard and improving. I’d love to be getting top fives all the time – that would be absolutely amazing. I definitely want to keep pushing as hard as I can and then I’ll see where it gets me.

“I love motocross, the feeling you get is crazy, it’s mad – and the adrenalin you get is just brilliant. I love it.”