After winning the Bridgestone British Masters in stunning style in 2018, the world’s number one tyre and rubber company is inflating Elliott Banks-Browne and Josh Gilbert’s presence in motocross to new levels – in more ways than one.
Fresh from their exploits in the MX1 and MX2 championships respectively, both Elliott and Josh can enjoy a year behind the wheel of a fully personalised and branded Toyota Hilux pick-up truck for the year.
The four-wheel prizes are amongst the first of their kind to be awarded to triumphant riders in any motocross series and it is hoped that they will raise the profile of the Bridgestone British Masters to even greater heights, leading to more competitive classes and even more exposure. The winners of the 2019 series will receive the use of the pick-ups as per this year’s winners.
The unique investment is symbolic of a wide-ranging involvement in the sport and elevates the brand’s Battlecross tyres to even higher levels of significance.
Bridgestone’s premium range of motocross products is increasingly viewed as being amongst the very best in motocross, with different compounds and tread patterns specially designed for the varied surfaces that riders compete on. The Battlecross X10 (sand and mud) X20 (softer ground), X30 (medium) and X40 (hard) products help to boost confidence when entering and exiting corners at speed, whatever the racing line.
And in a second high-profile announcement, Bridgestone has also announced that it will be official tyre suppliers to the Geartec Husqvarna MX Team for the 2019 season. Their riders – double British Championship winner Elliott Banks-Browne, and multiple AMCA and IMBA Champion Luke Burton – will embark on a three-pronged tilt for silverware in the British Championship, MX Nationals and Bridgestone British Masters.
Geartec Husqvarna team manager Paul Mason said: “The tyres are absolutely brilliant. The back tyres are absolutely stunning and we’ve got to grips with the front to create the perfect set-up. It’s a damn good tyre range.
“We’ve done lots of testing, spending two months testing tyres back-to-back and the decision to move to Bridgestone was the right one. The aftercare support that Bridgestone provides and the Battlecross range is second to none.
Geartec Husqvarna rider Elliott Banks-Browne, one of the UK’s most talented riders, said: “Tyres are a big thing for me, so to get on the Bridgestone and feel that grip straight away was huge. We’ve done a lot of testing and the lap times have already improved. Having the right tyre for the right surface will be a huge advantage for us, which we’ve not had before.”
“As for the truck, I was blown away when I received it from Bridgestone. It is an amazing thing for the sport. Motocross can’t progress without the kind of backing that companies like Bridgestone provide. I’ve got to win the championship again this year as I don’t want to hand it back!”
Josh Gilbert, who finished second in the British Championship and won the MX Nationals along with the Bridgestone British Masters, and will again run Bridgestone rubber in 2019, said: “I usually run an X10 for the sand for the rear and stick with the X20 for the front, which also excels on the hard-pack. I feel that this is the best combination for me and I’ve been thrilled with the performance of the tyres.
“Winning the truck has been a nice bonus too! It is something completely different to any other championship and it’s a bit surreal to see my name on it like that.
Bridgestone’s marketing team leader Mark Fereday said: “We’re really making a name for ourselves in motocross now. We’re gaining a lot of market share, sales are going well and we’re doing a lot in the sport. The profile of the championship we’re sponsoring (British Masters) is increasing every year, with more and more top riders in all classes and a lot of promising youngsters participating. It’s really exciting times. The pro-riders running on our products are riding on products that anyone can purchase. To have star names winning on Battlecross is something we’re all very proud of.”
Bridgestone’s motocross product manager Gary Hartshorne said: “The pleasing thing for me is that we have product which is winning immediately. It is always nice to be competitive and we’re looking forward to what this year has in store.”
Bridgestone British Masters series director Colin Hambridge said: “Bridgestone and I want exactly the same thing for the sport. Through the hard work of Mark Fereday and the Bridgestone team, the series has been elevated to a new level.”
For more information about Bridgestone’s motocross products, visit www.bridgestonemx.co.uk