After missing out on a Motocross World Championship round from 2000 to 2003, 2005 will see England entertain two grands prix for the first time ever with the off-road superstars heading for the Grand Prix of England - at the Isle of Wight - this weekend, just three months after Matchams Park held the Grand Prix of Great Britain.

For many teams, round 15 of 17 will be one of their shortest trips of the season, with eight teams - CAS, Dixon, Innovate, Lizzard, Molson, Motovision, Multitek and RWJ - and ten riders - Bradshaw, Cooper, Crockard, Dougan, Hucklebridge, Mackenzie, Noble, Nunn, Simpson and Sword - regularly involved in the series.

Britain is also one of the strongest nations in Motocross history, with one hundred and twenty five GP wins, eight World titles and sixteen wins at the Motocross of Nations.

The world championship teams and riders attended the Arreton track for the first time last year - and promptly declared it one of the best ever. That layout has unsurprisingly not changed much for this year, although famed designer Johnny Douglas Hamilton has worked to make the course even more exciting.

"We've dug up the corners to a depth of 18 inches to improve the chances of alternate lines, so there are more passing places," explained Johnny.

Although the 2005 season is reaching its climax, there is no chance that Stefan Everts (MX1) or Antonio Cairoli (MX2) will clinch a title this weekend, even if both won the last GP in Germany a week ago to strengthen their positions.

Instead, they will have to wait until Lierop or Desertmartin to eventually celebrate a title, as Josh Coppins and Andrew McFarlane are chasing and still have a mathematical possibility of dethroning the series leaders.

In the MX1 class, Coppins is hoping for a repeat of his '04 success at his favourite venue, after a difficult outing in Germany.

"I had two good starts from the eighth gate so I was really pleased with that. The first heat was really tough for me - I got stuck two times and crashed two times but I still managed to come back to fifth but I was not riding good.

"My bike was working really well on the starts today and the second heat was much better for me. I rode a lot more relaxed in the second moto but I was quite tired at the end of the race," explained Coppins who lost fourteen points to Everts.

Winner of his first GP at the Isle of Wight last year Josh, reigning British Champion, is used to UK tracks and is pleased to be back in Arreton.

"I enjoy racing in the UK and I really like this track, I've a perfect bike thanks to my team and I hope that we'll have a dry weekend," said Coppins who is enjoying best ever GP season.

Concerning the MX1 class, the 2006 line-up is taking shape: Tortelli, Pichon, Barragan and De Reuver will be with KTM, Ramon will join Strijbos in the Suzuki team, Coppins sticks with CAS while Everts and Melotte will continue with Yamaha and use the new aluminium chassis.

After a dramatic 2004 experience, when he didn't qualify for the event, Cairoli was one of the first MX2 riders to arrive in Isle of Wight this week. Thanks to his impressive demonstration in Gaildorf he is also the main favourite for the title and McFarlane has no other choice than to win.

Coming back to GPs after his injury in Portugal, Tyla Rattray practiced intensively in Belgium and hopes to be fighting for a podium result and some wins in the last three events.

It's in this class that the British riders are the most successful with Stephen Sword, Carl Nunn and Billy Mackenzie in the top ten of the Championship - and all have claimed some of their best results in front of their home fans in the past. That experienced trio will race alongside young talent, with new Under 21 British Champion Tommy Searle due to make an appearance this weekend.

Meanwhile, one title has already been decided in the MX2 class with Yamaha secured clinching the manufacturers' title a week ago in Germany.

After heavy rain at the Isle of Wight on Thursday, the weather changed on Friday and the weather forecast is pretty good for the weekend with sunshine and clouds.

Practices start on Saturday at 10.00 with qualifying sessions from 3.00 to 5.45, and on Sunday the MX2 races are scheduled at 12.05 and 3.02, with the MX1 at 1.05 and 4.05 local time.

 

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