After a flourishing 2004 World Championship campaign with Tanel Leok, in which the Estonian claimed 6th spot overall in the premier MX1 division, the team have seen their profile scale new heights. Using the RM 250cc two-stroke Suzuki model from the outset, Motovision Racing often gave factory squads a close run with a string of high top ten results and finally were rewarded with prototype 450cc machinery from Japan for the second half of the Grand Prix calendar. Leok completed an impressive season with his first ever top three moto finish at the penultimate round in Ireland.
With the teenager moving onto pastures new, the team have already started to build on the success of ’04 by increasing their personnel roster with a view to cementing their status in the World Championship paddock.
“I am happy with the riders we have and I think we will make a strong outing, especially in the British Championships,” said team manager Mark Chamberlain. “We will aim to do as well as we can in the Grand Prix. Our aim is to become a consistent ‘top ten’ team and get as close as we can to the top five year-in and year-out. We want to show what the team is capable of. I hope Yoshi can keep developing and build on the two years he has established in the World Championships. He will be supported by two up-and-coming riders and it will be exciting to see what they can produce.”
Motovision can already rely on increased support from Suzuki GB and Chamberlain is currently in negotiation with several parties over a larger slice of sponsorship; the results of the 2004 season have already started to bear some fruit. “We have hired some more mechanics and the base of the team is a lot better to work from than in previous years. Suzuki GB have already told us we will have more support. We have a few sponsors confirmed but are still talking and hope to make a further announcement in the next few weeks.”
The squad will also support Ben Taylor in the British MX Open Championship and the KWS national series with a 250cc two-stroke.
Yoshitaka Atsuta was Japanese 250cc Champion in 2001 and made his world Championship debut in 2002 as part of the CAS Honda team. After a tough three year Grand Prix apprenticeship the twenty-seven year old was finally showing some of his speed towards the end of the 2004 MX1 term, collecting a host of top ten finishes with 5th place in the second moto at Sun City in South Africa being the highlight. He confirmed 10th position in the overall standings. Atsuta finished 4th in this season’s MX Open British Championship. “I wanted to stay in Europe and have been looking for some other options,” he said. “The offer from Mark was good enough and I am pleased with how professional and friendly the team seem. Next season will be a new adventure but as always I will give my best and hope to stay away from injury.”
“Yoshi has been learning the hard-way with some injuries and crashes in the last couple of seasons but his commitment is impressive and I feel that he is beginning to assert himself as a strong member of the MX1 field,” said Chamberlain. “With two young riders it was important for us to have someone with experience and who knows all about World Championship racing.”
South African Neville Bradshaw signed with the team at the start of the 2004 season. With the exception of one race in the 2004 Maxxis MX2 Championship, Bradshaw improved his results every round before gaining his first podium at the final meeting on the Isle of Wight. The twenty-one year old is now anticipating an exciting 2005 competing against some of the fastest riders in the World. ”I’m looking forward to a good year and riding in the MX1 class will be a great experience,” he said. “I will be training extra hard over the off-season and build up my strength for the 450. I know I will be up against the really fast guys every weekend but I’m hoping for some good results by the end of the season. I guess I will be a bit nervous to begin with, but I’ll handle it; I will try my best and try not worry about anyone else apart from myself.”
“Neville is another one of those South African riders will a lot of potential and he is coming along in good steps,” remarked Chamberlain. “I feel that he can be a good GP rider and soon a top ten regular; that is the sort of level we would like him to reach in two years. 2005 will be his first season in MX1 so there will be no pressure.”
Jason Dougan returns to the team where he made his name as a promising teenager in the 2003 British 125cc contest; taking his and Motovision’s first ever victory at Culham. After an unhappy season riding a Honda for the RTT squad, Dougan is looking to re-establish his credentials as one of the UK’s young starlets. The eighteen year old missed the end of this year’s calendar due to a broken ankle but is eager to renew old alliances. “It is great to be back with the team,” he said. “They are all good people and I think that environment will bring out the best in me. I have started riding and my ankle feels “OK, it is not 100% yet but I am getting there. I love the Suzuki, it is a pleasure to ride and basically I am looking forward to the season so I can try and forget 2004.”
“I hope Jason can get back to being the rider we saw in ‘03 and then start to progress from there,” continued Chamberlain. “It largely depends on what kind of pre-season he has and if he can stay injury free, looking to begin the year confident and ready. We will want him to be touching the points in the GPs.”
Motovision Racing was born out of the same company that used to provide TV images of the World Championship throughout the 90s and now runs a successful product business. Created and led by the Chamberlain family, Mark has taken the reigns of the racing project since 2001 and thanks to his hands-on approach and canny eye for promising talent, has elevated the team to the position of one of the most respected British outfits despite its (so far) modest size and short life-time.
After Christmas the team will spend most of January in California for track time before heading back to the UK for pre-season tests and international meets.
Issued for and on behalf of Motovision Racing Suzuki www.motovision.com