At the ripe old age of 38, Nev Bradshaw’s profile is as high now as it was back in his glory days when he was winning national titles and racing the MXoN thanks to a series of Toofast Media videos of him shredding on his 22-year-old CR500 stroker.
A self-confessed two-stroke lover, the South African initially retired from top-flight racing over five years ago but has remained extremely active and this year he’s been tearing it up in the AMCA MX1 championship on a Honda five-tonner that by rights should be on display in a motocross museum.
“I had a bit of a change at the start of the year,” said Nev. “I was meant to be racing pretty seriously but a few things changed and I just decided to race my CR500 for a bit of fun. It’s a bike I really enjoy riding and I figured that because I was fit – I’d been training ready to start the season – there was no point wasting the work I’d already done by sitting on the couch. So I got the CR500 out and, man, it was awesome!
“Because it was such an old bike – and an old two-stroke – I figured it would be good just to show people that it’s not all about having a 15-grand bike. You can jump on something that’s 22 years old and I had a lot of top-10 finishes and won a moto and had a lot of second places. I had a lot of fun and that’s the biggest thing for me now. The results don’t really matter to me as long as I’m enjoying my racing.”
A moto win at the opening round of the AMCA MX1 championship threw down the gauntlet to his rivals and he would have been in the hunt for a top-three finish in the championship but for a disastrous third round where he picked up a puncture and struggled with a seized back brake.
“The 500 thing was so cool because I don’t think anyone expected that bike to get inside the top-10 and then to win that moto at the first round was probably one of the top-10 moments in my whole entire career. The class was stacked – there’s Ashley Greedy, Luke Burton, Josh Waterman and lots of good guys – so to take that 500 at 38 years old to the win was super-special.
“The way people reacted to it was really cool. As stoked as I was to race the bike I think people were just as stoked to witness it. A lot of the old-school people really appreciated it.
“James Painton has helped me out so much – I can’t thank that guy enough. He’s been a great friend and has taken a lot of time out of his own life to come and help me at the races. I’m just some old dude racing old bikes and he doesn’t have to do that.”
For 2021 Nev’s sticking with a two-stroke but this time around he won’t be turning back the clock on his half-litre Honda after agreeing to race a new TC 250 for the FUS Marsh MX Husqvarna team in the AMCA MX2 championship.
“I got a call from Michael Keenan to race for his team. Initially it was in MX1 but, like I said, I have to enjoy riding now to be able to race otherwise I wouldn’t do it and I’ve no interest at all in racing a 450. So I said that I really wanted to ride for him but it would have to be in the MX2 class on a 250 two-stroke.
“When you ride for a team it’s a bit more serious but I honestly believe I can still win. I don’t see why not. I know I’m not as good as what I was before but I still work hard and I’ll have good bikes so I know I’ll be competitive. I don’t go to races to ride around at the back and I think I can be on the podium most weekends and have a shot at the championship.”