2016 was a season of resurrection for Tommy Searle – the most successful British motocrosser since 2001 with three world championship runner-up positions to his name – with a relatively injury-free run in his fourth term in the premier class and a first British title in the bag with the Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki.

The 26-year-old is contracted to the English set-up for 2017 but has been a name on the lips of various team owners in the paddock after shirking the physical problems and confidence-sapping term of 2015 when a reunion with the Red Bull KTM squad was short-lived.

Searle rode the new KX450F with minimal factory support and with limited means for testing and development throughout the year – #100 was often left wanting in his moto starts and frequently posted speed to place inside or near the top five in Timed Practice.


Now having proved his worth back in the MXGP pack and re-established his credentials – even if a first podium finish remains elusive – Searle is looking for more, and an improvement over his 12th position in the MXGP championship standings; a result of some technical problems as much as a search back to form.

“2016 has been up and down,” he said. “There have been some decent races but also some where we have clearly struggled with starts and that’s something we have to work on…but we made it through the season and it’s been a fun one with the team. We just need to work hard towards next year. Even though it has been an ‘okay’ season I don’t want another one like it – I want to improve and make sure we are fighting closer to the top each weekend.”

Whether Searle can get closer co-operation with KRT and Kawasaki Heavy Industries remains to be seen but he has certainly given Kawasaki Motor Europe food for thought with their racing structure as he heads to represent the brand at the first SMX Rider’s Cup this weekend.