The British Motocross Festival is the brainchild of RHL Activities’ Gareth Hockey, who has been working closely with the ACU to create a special weekend event that brings together the senior and junior British Motocross Championships. This is now happening for the first time in Culham, Oxford on March 30 – April 2.
While Hockey believes the Judd KTM British Youth National riders deserve their own championship, the British Motocross Festival joins together the junior series and the Maxxis British Motocross Championship in one bumper weekend for one round to help showcase the young riders and let the industry people see that there is a very strong future in the sport. This is the thinking behind the exciting new event.
“We’ve had a good response from teams and the manufacturers – we feel they get the idea. What we want to do is get the teams in on Friday of the event so they’re all set-up for Saturday of the event. We want to sit some of our juniors in with those pro teams to give them a better understanding of what’s needed and what’s involved with being part of a pro team. It’s a good education process, that will hopefully inspire them to be part of those teams in the future. We’ve got some great riders, we want to help steer them in the right direction,” said Hockey.
RHL would, in the long-term, like to see the festival possibility utilised on more bank holidays in the year, and perhaps the schedules merged with juniors and seniors racing both days. This would not only give the spectators value for money, and encourage people to see just how good the junior racing is, but also to allow juniors to race on the same tracks as their more experienced peers.
The opportunity for juniors to race the same weekend as World Championship level riders is very special. The likes of Tommy Searle competed in the junior ranks in the past, so this race weekend easily allows the pro riders to give something back at the grass roots of the sport, and juniors the chance to ask questions when they’re watching the pros. RHL feels that many young riders just don’t see the pros in action other than on a screen, because they’re often competing or practicing themselves.
“We’ve got some great people in the paddock like Dave Thorpe and Jamie Dobb (both former world champions), and I think we’d all want to try and help find the next British world champion by giving them the support they need. This format really works for that and brings together everyone who can make those steps happen. But the weekend isn’t just geared for the racing side,” commented Hockey.
“We’re looking at the entertainment side – like the Kuberg electric bike tryout area. We want to encourage people who have a little interest in motorsport to try dirtbikes in whatever form, as this is the easiest way to get involved in motorsport. We’re going to people outside of the sport, and local schools to try and give the families the opportunity to come to the event, so the parents can see for themselves how family orientated our sport is. There will be entertainment; we know a young kid won’t want to watch racing all day, so we need to create a weekend not just about bikes going around a track, it needs to be for the whole family. That’s where engagement is important, and it’s important for the industry to encourage families through the door so we can grow it further,” said Hockey.
With RHL’s experience thanks to events such as the HydroGarden Weston Beach Race, which annually attracts over 70,000 visitors, the inaugural British Motocross Festival is a starting point to develop into something more. Culham is a special track and one Gareth was keen to be involved with for the British Motocross Festival, which is now running both opening rounds of the Maxxis British Motocross Championship and the Judd KTM British Youth National series in one special weekend, plus the St Blazey Premier MX that will take place on Monday of the event.
“Culham is a good track with a lot of history; it’s nice to get to and I’ve been involved with there with the likes or Mark Hucklebridge in the past. If the sun shines it’s one of the nicest places to be. It’s the start of something; from our point of view our desire is for this to go ahead in the future with more festivals. This isn’t just down to us though, so let’s hope it’s a success.”
For more information about the British Motocross Festival visit www.rhlactivities.com