Honda Racing is proud to announce an all-new line-up in the 2018 Maxxis ACU British Motocross Championships, with Brit Jake Nicholls and Kiwi Josiah Natzke racing for the Buildbase Honda Racing squad.
Nicholls will race a CRF450R for the squad run by three-time 500cc world motocross champion Dave Thorpe. It’s the same team which recently took rider Graeme Irwin to claim the 2017 MX1 title.
Ipswich-based Nicholls joins the official Honda team after missing most of the 2017 campaign with a hip injury sustained at the Italian Grand Prix in Trentino.
The 27-year-old has spent 10 seasons racing in the world championships, scoring a best of fourth in the overall standings in the 2012 MX2 series, but will focus on winning the British MX1 championship in 2018, a series he was leading in 2017 before his season-ending injuries.
“I’m delighted to sign for the Buildbase Honda Racing team,” said Nicholls. “I decided in the summer to focus on racing in the UK, and when Dave approached me to ride the CRF450R it seemed like the perfect match. We know that the package is already at a very high level and I can’t wait to get testing ahead of the new season.”
The new line-up was announced at the Dirt Bike Show at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire today. Natzke, 18, flew in directly from his native New Zealand to attend the show.
The teenage Kiwi racer finished sixth in the MX2 championship in 2017, as well as winning the European Motocross 250 round in Latvia. He will race in the British MX2 class equipped with the new Honda CRF250R, featuring a new and more powerful twin cam engine.
“I’ve just flown in from New Zealand, and am looking forward to testing the 2018 CRF250R,” said Natzke. “I’ve had a quick ride out on the 2017 model back home and it felt really natural, so I’m looking forward to testing the improved 2018 bike.
“Riding for Honda, and the set-up of Dave’s team is something that’s very appealing to me. I felt that I should have been closer to the championship this season, but Honda are giving me the support and tools needed to go for the title in 2018. We’re off testing right after the show and we’ll also be competing in the Arenacross series in January and February, so we should be in good shape for the start of the season.”
Buildbase Honda Racing Team Manager Dave Thorpe added: “We enjoyed a very successful season in 2017 with Graeme winning the title. He achieved his goal and now has Grand Prix on his mind, and, as a UK team that doesn’t do the world championships, we have had to look elsewhere for 2018.”
Thorpe continued: “Jake Nicholls is the obvious choice for us. He’s one of only a few riders capable of winning this championship and his desire to focus solely on the British championships suits our project perfectly. It was a freak accident that ended his season last year but he is now fighting fit and we’ll work closely with him to give him the best chance to retain our title.”
A delighted Thorpe said: “Josiah is the future. I was very surprised to see him become available and, when he did, signing him was a ‘no-brainer’ as his raw pace is second to none. He’s a young rider and there are areas that we can work on, but he will only get quicker. He’ll have the new CRF250R at his disposal, and from what we can see, it looks phenomenal. All the data we have received from the factory suggests that it will be a big step forward for us and we are looking forward to working with both the bike and rider.”