Former British motocross champion, Kristian Whatley announced recently that he would be on Husky machinery in 2017 with the MVR-D crew so we thought it was time to catch up with Kristian to reflect on a difficult 2016 and look forward to 2017.

DBR: Your recent social media posts with the Husky didn’t go unnoticed, and with Arenacross confirming you’re in their 2017 rider line-up, I guess that confirms you’re with MVR-D now. How did the deal come about?

KW: “My manager Dobby [Jamie Dobb], knows me well – he knows how I work and he thought we work well together as a team. Dobby thought I would be a good fit with MVR-D. He knows Mark and Gareth Chamberlain and had been speaking with them for a little while and it progressed from there.”


DBR: What’s the length of the deal?

KW: “Just a year for now but I’m really excited about it.”

DBR: This will be your first time on a Husqvarna, how does it compare to the Honda from last year?

KW: “Yeah, I rode a KTM in 2008 with Nigel Arnold and that’s the only time it’s been similar to the Husky. The KTM Nigel put together was really good – it was fast. But I’ve not even ridden a friend’s KTM since then. That’s how long it’s been since I rode an Austrian bike.”

DBR: What time have you had with the Husqvarna?

KW: “Just a day to find my feet. It’s early doors at the moment. We’re trying to tee-up a little more and hopefully the weather will stay good. I think there will be testing in Spain later on.”

DBR: You’ll make your MVR-D debut at Arenacross in January and you’ve done well in the series in the past – even challenging for the title at one point. How do you think the series has changed since you last raced AX?

KW: “It was my first time into it – I didn’t really have a clue. The set-up was hard to find and we didn’t know what we were doing. I didn’t have a clue and was kinda chucked in the deep end.

“But I really enjoyed it. I think it’ll be different this year but there’s such a good strong line-up. There are a load of French riders in there and they excel at arenacross and supercross so they’re going to be really strong but I’ll be a step ahead from where I was last time in 2014.

“We’ll probably be going back and forth [from Spain] for Arenacross and doing testing while we’re in Spain.”

DBR: So you’ll be like many of the Euro guys that do AX?

KW: “Yeah, I think that’s the plan the team is putting together. Staying over here in England isn’t the one when it’s all cold and wet – you can’t get any good bike time.”

DBR: Did you watch AX last year?

KW: Yeah, I went to a couple of rounds. Matt Bates [AX series promoter] puts on a good show. It’s a good night out.”

DBR: How do you think it’s changed since 2014?

KW: “The tracks have changed a bit possibly and with all the French guys there it will be really competitive. I’m more motocross, but I’ll get my head down and do plenty of supercross/arenacross laps, which I didn’t get the opportunity to do in 2014. If I do that, I should be a strong contender as well. I’m really excited to get going, to be honest.”

DBR: The venues for the British motocross championship were unveiled recently and there’s a very early finish to the series. What do you think about the early end to the season?

KW: “The season is pretty flat out so I think an early end to the season is a bonus. Not getting into autumn and the weather that goes with it means we’ll get better days for the racing.”

DBR: What are your thoughts on the British championship circuits for 2017?

KW: “I’m an Oxford lad now and Culham is a good track for me – a tough track as well so I’m pretty happy with that. I think most of the calendar is pretty much the same tracks each year. Culham is a new one, which is good. It’s good when you get new tracks on the calendar.

“I like the sand and I used to be good in the sand – I was a bit of a sand specialist, but now I’ve kinda turned the other way and I’m hard-pack now. It would be nice to mix and match a bit but it would also be nice to get new tracks on the calendar where we haven’t been yet, it opens everyone’s eyes to something new – the riders too, it keeps us on our toes. We go to a lot of tracks now and you could do it with your eyes shut because you’ve been around them so many times.”

DBR: You mentioned you like Culham. Are there any circuits you aren’t looking forward to?

KW: “I’ve never really been too keen on Hawkstone. I do alright there but I just don’t seem to gel with the track. That’s probably my worst on the calendar.”

DBR: What about the GPs? There’s no British GP next year – could you see the team competing at any of the European rounds?

KW: “I think I’m doing a few European GPs next year so hopefully I’m going to be strong for that.”

DBR: Do you expect to compete in any other championships in 2017?

KW: “There’s nothing confirmed yet.” [Kristian is now on the rider entry list for the MX Nationals – Ed]

DBR: How do you feel about your 2016 season?

KW: “It’s been really hard work this year. With the set-up it was really hard work, it’s been a struggle all year and nothing clicked. Before the Blaxhall round, I went testing with Steve Payne from Multitek who did my suspension and he did a really good setting. I rode Blaxhall and something clicked there and I went the best I did all year which was third on the podium and felt really happy. But it’s been a tough year to be fair.”

DBR: Have you set a target for yourself for next season?

KW: “Be a lot stronger than I have been. I’ve got really good backing for next year. I have a handful of guys that I need so hopefully the next year will be the strongest year that I’ve had yet – I want to win the British championship, again. There are a lot of doubters out there and a lot of people I need to show. It’s a new chapter.”