With the weekend drawing ever closer some of the World's best motocross teams are gearing up for the big pre season showdown. Hawkstone Park, Shropshire will be the setting for one of the most talked about pre season international events and the organisers are anticipating it to be another huge success.
Teams to watch out for will be Rinaldi Yamaha, with eight times World Champion Stefan Everts on board plus Denmark's Brian Jorgensen. 'Yogi' as he's known in the paddock was a GP winner in 2004 until he was stuck down with a serious knee injury which ruled him out for the rest of the season, now fighting fit he is ready once again for action. Rounding of this super forceful team is Belgium rider Cedric Melotte who for this year will be running in the MX2 class.
CAS Honda will be running British Champion Josh Coppins, the 27-year-old New Zealander was 3rd in the MX1 World Championships in 2004 winning one GP and will certainly be one to watch this weekend. He will be joined in the MX1 races by team-mate Jussi Vehvilainen, Jussi was out with injury in 2004 and will also be making a return at Hawkstone this weekend. The Finnish rider was 3rd in the British 250 Class in 2001 and 9th in the World 250's in 2002.
Bike it/Dixon Yamaha's rider line up is former three times British Motocross Champion Gordon Crockard, the likeable Irishman was forced out of racing all of last season after a hefty crash left him with torn knee ligaments. 'Crockstar' is an awesome rider and no doubt he will be showing off those skills at the weekend. It is an all-Irish team this year as Martin Barr joins Crockard on board the Yamaha the 2004 British Premier 125 Champion has taken the huge step up into the big MX1 Class for the forthcoming season.
Past five times World Champion and four times runner-up Joel Smets is on board the Team Suzuki along with fellow Belgium rider Kevin Stribos. Stribos at only 19 took two MX1 GP victories in 2004 along with two podiums making him one of the most promising up and coming motocross racers.
Motovision Suzuki have an incredibly talented rider line up in the form of Yoshitaka Atsuta, Ben Taylor, Neville Bradshaw running in the MX1 Class and Jason Dougan in the MX2 class. Atsuta a former Japanese Champion and currently 4th in the British Championship and 10th in the World Standings is looking forward to the start of a fresh season with his new team. The South African Neville Bradshaw has just recently taken 2nd place in the Pro 125 Supercross class and is eager for more wins in the Outdoor series. At just 17-years-old Dougan was the youngest rider ever to win a British Motocross meeting at the age of 16 and he is certainly proving to be a big talent in the making.
Innovate Honda are certainly fielding one of the biggest teams in the paddock having riders Alex Rach, Mark Hucklebridge, Jody Smyth and Stuart Flockhart in the MX1 class plus Jamie Lewis, Danny Smyth and Wayne Smith in the MX2 class. Both Flockhart and Hucklebridge are very experienced in the world of motocross and have won numerous British Motocross races between them.
Also to watch out for in the MX1 class is RWJ Honda's James Noble, Multi-Tek Honda's Paul Cooper, the outstanding Jeff Alessi on the KTM and the winner of the recent Supercross series Jordon Rose on his Meredith KTM.
The MX2 class is also full to the brim with a whole host of top teams. Champ KTM mounted Carl Nunn will be putting the pressure on in a series way. Maximum Solutions Suzuki with Lewis Gregory and John May will contest their third year in the MX2 class. The two 19-year-olds are fired up for the 2005 season and are enthusiastic about gaining some positive results over the weekend.
Molson Kawasaki are once again running the dedicated rider Tom Church who is hoping to see the season through without any damage to his already badly injured shoulder. Church has won British Championship races on a number of occasions and has often led the series until injury has always forced him out. His team mate for 2005 is the newly crowned Youth 125 Supercross Champion Tommy Searle.
Others to keep an eye on in the MX2 class are RWJ Honda's Mike Brown and Erik Eggens, Cradley Kawasaki's Chad Yarranton, local Shropshire Kawasaki rider Ray Rowsen, and the young American star Mike Alessi.
For more information please see www.hawkstonemx.co.uk
Hawkstone Park is situated in Shropshire, between Shrewsbury and Whitchurch off the A49. It is well sign posted from the A49 Shrewsbury - Whitchurch and A53 Shrewsbury to Market Drayton.