The British Motocross Championship
Motocross has a rich and illustrious history, especially within the United Kingdom. One of the premier events within the sport, the ACU British Motocross Championship, also known as MXGB or Revo MXGB (fuelled by Gulf Race Fuels for sponsorship reasons), epitomises the raw, adrenaline-infused spirit of this off-road motorcycle racing. As the ACU recognised official British championship, this event, under the supervision of RHL Activities, attracts some of the most talented riders from across the world.
History of British Motocross
The birth of motocross can be traced back to 1914, initiated by Alfred Angas Scott, founder of The Scott Motorcycle Company. The Scott Trial, taking place amidst the rough terrains of the Yorkshire moors in Northern England, laid the foundation of what we recognise as motocross today.
Test riders of British motorcycles, fresh from the end of World War I, kick-started the tradition of racing each other on off-road factory courses. The French coined the term ‘moto cross’ to describe these races. The first recorded Motocross competition occurred on Camberley Heath in Surrey, England, on 29 March 1924, marking a significant milestone in the sport’s history.
The Classes of Competition
The British Motocross Championship competition is divided into two main classes: MX1 and MX2. MX1 caters to 251cc to 450cc four-stroke motorcycles, while MX2 is designed for 175cc to 250cc four-stroke motorcycles or 120cc to 250cc two-stroke motorcycles.
Alongside these senior classes, numerous youth classes are included in each round of the championship, forming the British Youth Motocross Championship. These include the 250cc, 125cc, Big-Wheel 85cc, Small-Wheel 85cc, and 65cc classes, offering a nurturing platform for the young talent to shine.
For a time, the British Women’s Motocross Championship, supported by a youth class, was also a part of the event under RHL Activities’ stewardship. However, due to lack of entries, it was discontinued before the start of the 2022 season. Similarly, the ‘Veterans’ series introduced in 2009 was also discontinued.
The Auto-Cycle Union (ACU)
The Auto-Cycle Union (ACU) is the governing body of the British Motocross Championship. The ACU lays down the rules, organises the training of stewards and marshals for track safety, checks safety standards, and tracks the progress of national championships. As an independent entity, the ACU plays an important role in defending and developing motorcycle sport.
Since the beginning of the 2021 season, Revo Developments has held the title sponsorship of the British Motocross Championship. Additionally, before the start of the 2021 season, Gulf Race Fuels joined as the ‘fuelled by’ partner, further strengthening the commercial backing of the championship.
Champions over the Years
The Championship has seen numerous talented riders from around the world over the years. The most recent winners as of 2022 include UK’s Tommy Searle and Conrad Mewse in the MX1 and MX2 categories, respectively. 2020 saw a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the Championship bounced back with the same high-octane competition in 2021.
Over the past two decades, the Championship has witnessed a diverse pool of winners from various countries. Riders like Russia’s Evgeny Bobryshev, New Zealand’s Josh Coppins, and the US’s Zach Osborne, among many
others, have etched their names into the annals of the Championship’s history.
The UK has been particularly successful, with riders like Tommy Searle, Conrad Mewse, and Shaun Simpson claiming multiple victories. Searle, for instance, secured the MX1 title in 2016, 2019, 2021, and 2022. Mewse dominated the MX2 category in 2018, 2021, and 2022. Shaun Simpson, another Brit, took the MX1 championship in 2014 and 2015.
Other countries too have had their moments of glory in the Championship. New Zealand’s Josh Coppins seized the Open Championship in 2004 and 2005. Russia’s Evgeny Bobryshev, on the other hand, emerged victorious in the MX1 category in 2010 and 2018.
However, it’s not just individual triumphs that make the British Motocross Championship so captivating. It’s the electrifying spectacle of high-speed racing, the raw display of skill and courage, and the camaraderie among the riders that make it one of the premier motocross events in the world.
|Season||MX1 Champion||MX2 Champion|
|2022||United Kingdom Tommy Searle||United Kingdom Conrad Mewse|
|2021||United Kingdom Tommy Searle||United Kingdom Conrad Mewse|
|2020||Cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic|
|2019||United Kingdom Tommy Searle||New Zealand Dylan Walsh|
|2018||Russia Evgeny Bobryshev||United Kingdom Conrad Mewse|
|2017||United Kingdom Graeme Irwin||United Kingdom Ben Watson|
|2016||United Kingdom Tommy Searle||United Kingdom Adam Sterry|
|2015||United Kingdom Shaun Simpson||France Steven Lenoir|
|2014||United Kingdom Shaun Simpson||Latvia Matiss Karro|
|2013||United Kingdom Kristian Whatley||United Kingdom Elliott Banks-Browne|
|2012||Belgium Kevin Strijbos||United Kingdom Elliott Banks-Browne|
|2011||United Kingdom Brad Anderson||Switzerland Arnaud Tonus|
|2010||Russia Evgeny Bobryshev||United States Zach Osborne|
|2009||United Kingdom Brad Anderson||United Kingdom Stephen Sword|
|2008||United Kingdom Billy MacKenzie||United Kingdom Shaun Simpson|
|2007||United Kingdom Billy MacKenzie||United States Mike Brown|
|2006||Belgium Ken De Dycker||United Kingdom Carl Nunn|
|2005||New Zealand Josh Coppins||United Kingdom Carl Nunn|
|2004||New Zealand Josh Coppins||United Kingdom Stephen Sword|
|2003||United Kingdom Gordon Crockard||United Kingdom Stephen Sword|
|2002||United Kingdom Paul Cooper||United Kingdom Stephen Sword|
|2001||United Kingdom Gordon Crockard||Denmark Brian Jorgensen|
|2000||United Kingdom Gordon Crockard||United Kingdom James Dobb|
The Future of British Motocross
While honouring its rich history, the British Motocross Championship continues to push the boundaries of the sport. It consistently serves as a launching pad for riders to demonstrate their skills on a global platform, fostering a competitive environment that attracts international talent.
The cancellation of the event in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic was indeed a setback, but the Championship bounced back, reflecting the resilient spirit of the motocross community. The future of the British Motocross Championship undoubtedly seems bright, with thrilling races and emerging talents continuing to keep audiences worldwide on the edge of their seats.
Despite the discontinuation of the Women’s Championship and the Veterans’ series, the British Motocross Championship has proven its ability to adapt and evolve, promising a high-adrenaline spectacle for years to come. The love for the sport and the dedication of the athletes, organisers, and fans alike ensure that the legacy of British motocross will continue to inspire and thrill future generations.
Beyond the Races: Community, Innovation and Environment
While the champions and their victories are undoubtedly the pinnacle of the Championship, the event’s broader context – the fans, the technical advances, the environmental considerations – are equally important facets of the British Motocross Championship.
Motocross, by its very nature, fosters a tight-knit community. The British Motocross Championship is not just about the professional riders; it’s also about the amateur and youth competitors, the crew members, the event organisers, and the loyal fans. Each event is a gathering of individuals who share a common passion for motocross, creating a vibrant and friendly atmosphere that is as much a part of the Championship’s appeal as the high-octane racing.
Technological advancement is another critical aspect of the British Motocross Championship. The motorcycles used in the event are at the cutting edge of technology, with manufacturers continually seeking ways to improve speed, handling, safety, and reliability. The Championship is a testing ground for these innovations, driving progress in the broader motorcycle industry.
Environmental considerations are increasingly becoming a focal point. Motocross, like many other motor sports, faces challenges related to noise and emissions. The British Motocross Championship has been proactive in addressing these issues, implementing regulations to limit noise levels and encouraging the use of cleaner fuels. The partnership with Gulf Race Fuels, for example, reflects a conscious move towards more environmentally friendly practices in the sport.
British Motocross: A Global Ambassador
The British Motocross Championship holds an esteemed place within the global motocross community. It not only showcases the best of British talent, but also attracts riders from around the world, making it a truly international event. The Championship’s prestige and popularity contribute to the global appeal of motocross, inspiring new generations of riders and fans.
In recent years, the British Motocross Championship has successfully expanded its global footprint. Broadcast deals have brought the Championship to a wider international audience, allowing more people to experience the thrills of British motocross.
The British Motocross Championship is more than a series of races; it’s a celebration of a sport that combines skill, bravery, and mechanical prowess. From its early beginnings in the Yorkshire moors to today’s internationally acclaimed Championship, British motocross has grown and evolved while staying true to its roots. It remains a thrilling spectacle and an essential part of the UK’s rich sporting heritage. As we look to the future, the British Motocross Championship is set to continue its role as a standard-bearer for motocross worldwide, fostering new talent, driving innovation, and thrilling audiences for many years to come.