As we all know Max Anstie is confirmed for one final year in MX2 and he’ll do battle on Jacky Martens’ Rockstar Nestaan Husky machinery in 2016.
But this is no one-year deal with the Husqvarna factory outfit keen to tie-up the fast Brit for the long haul, which means Anstie has his MXGP future assured – well, as much as it can be in motocross – with a contract that will see him at the Kimi Raikkonen-backed IceOne team for 2017/2018.
“I am really happy with the opportunity that I have been given with Factory Husqvarna for the next three years,” Anstie told TMX. “I wanted stability so I can focus on my job and nothing else.”
Stability is not what Anstie had become used to. He started his MX2 world motocross career in 2011 for CLS Kawasaki, before moving to Honda Garibodi the following season. Rockstar Energy Suzuki came next in 2013 and then another move in 2014 brought him under Steve Dixon’s DRT awning for two years.
It’s not out of the ordinary for a pro motocrosser to move around with such frequency but title challenges need stability. Not just with the brand of bike you sling your leg over but with the people you work with every day. Riders need to develop trust and understanding so that they focus on the job of being a world class motocross pilot.
If Anstie was ever to mount a serious title push the annual team switching had to stop. And as he explains to TMX the world #3 knows this himself: “I feel great that I can work with the same ‘family’ of people for a while now. They know what it takes to get the job done.”
As the rumours grew over a possible Husqvarna move, many of his fans urged him via social media to stay with Dixon’s outfit. After a great 2015 season some thought Anstie was on to a good thing while others thought he was throwing away a chance of – there’s that word again – stability. And that staying with DRT for a third year could deliver a world title.
What the fans didn’t know at the time was he had negotiated an impressive contract that would bring him factory support for multiple years. No more brand hoping and a fighting chance to work with a group of people that he could build trust and understanding with over a three year period. He stood firm in his belief that the time was right for a switch. “Going into my last year in the MX2 class I had to take the opportunity to ride for a factory team and give myself the best chance for a title.”
Max is still sidelined following his horrific crash at the Motocross of Nations in Ernée but he tells TMX that the recovery is going well. “My shoulder and back feel good. I go back to the doctor next week for scans and X-rays so I will know if I’m all healed up. If so then I will start to get to work.
“I’m not sure at the moment what our schedule will be – I will go over to Belgium and make a plan with the team as soon as I have been checked by the doctors and go from there.
“Whatever – I’ll be ready for Qatar,” added Max.