Ray Rowson, the Pontesbury motocross ace, enjoyed an excellent start to the 2008 season by emerging victorious in the opening round of the British Open Championship in Devon.
Having opted to switch to a larger 450cc machine for this year, Rowson was in top form as he narrowly beat defending champion Wayne Smith in the opening race at Little Silver.
The second race saw Scotsman Bryan Mackenzie take an early lead but he was passed by Rowson, Smith and former Grand Prix ace Mark Hucklebridge.
In a close battle, Smith passed Rowson for the second race win, with the two riders tying for the championship lead after the opening round.
Rowson will be up against some of the world’s leading riders this weekend at the Hawkstone Park International Motocross. It is the 10th anniversary event and again some of the world’s top riders will be taking part.
Reigning MX1 world champion Steve Ramon of Belgium will headline the event alongside his main rival in the World Championship, New Zealander Josh Coppins.
British champion Billy Mackenzie will make his debut ride for the CAS Honda team at Hawkstone having switched from the factory Kawasaki team.
And local star Rowson heads a contingent of British riders looking to do well in the MX1 class, including crowd favourites Brad Anderson, James Noble and Wayne Smith.
In the MX2 class for bikes under 250cc, Scotsman Stephen Sword could be one to look out for. Arguably one of the quickest riders in the world, a series of injuries have hampered Sword’s form over the past two years and he will be looking to bounce back in 2008.
Another rider who will be among the favourites is Britain’s Tommy Searle, who is ranked No 2 in the world and will be aiming for the MX2 world title in 2008 before heading Stateside.
The top 20 from each class at Hawkstone will proceed to the Grand Final at the end of the day.
Admission is £25 adults and £15 concessions. The Hawkstone circuit is signposted from the A49 Shrewsbury to Whitchurch road at Lee Brockhurst and the A53 south of Hodnet.