After a difficult first year in the British MX1 Championship, twice MX2 champion Elliot Banks-Browne has made the switch to yellow machinery for 2015, signing with Rob Hooper’s Geartec Suzuki team where he’ll campaign the new RM-Z450 in both the British Motocross and Arenacross championships. We spoke to him at Motorcycle Live.
The Banks name is steeped in motocross history. Elliot’s grandfather John was a four-time British champion and finished second in the world championship twice before his sons and Elliot’s uncles, Mark and Justin, followed him into the paddock. Elliot is the latest generation to pit himself into the sport and for 2015 will start his second stint with Suzuki, looking to capture that third British championship, this time on an RM-Z450 and he’s after that first MX1 crown.
“I actually rode the new bike before I tested the bike Rob [Hooper] provided for me so I knew the new bike was good before I signed,” Banks-Browne explains. “I started talking with Rob near the end of the 2014 season. I had a few offers on the table and he came up with a good offer and I really really like the bike and that was a big part of it.
“The first time I rode the bike it was completely standard a part from a pipe and I absolutely loved it straight away. I rode it on a track I know – I have a track I use a lot to test and I ride it pretty much every week so I know what works and what doesn’t around it – and I was actually going faster on the Suzuki than I was on my race bike from last year so, the impression I got from the bike straight away was awesome. I loved the power and the set up. The new suspension is a big step forward and when we get it set up further we’ll have a really good package.
“I’ve also done a couple of starts with the holeshot-assist system but I didn’t have a device to pull the forks down. But to be honest I didn’t really need to because the system worked so well. I tried both settings and it’s pretty impressive how that works.”
2014 was a learning year for the twice MX2 champion as he stepped up to the MX1 class on the bigger 450 machines. While it ended on a positive, it was a year to forget after he spent most of the campaign out injured.
“I had a learning year as it was my first time in the British Championship on a 450. It didn’t quite go to plan and I got hurt at the start of the year but I came away from the last round with a win and go in to 2015 knowing I have the capability to win. It’s going to be a tough season and we’re going to need to be consistent each and every week but at the end of the year I want to be there battling for the championship.”
Attention now turns to 2015 and with the Arenacross championship just around the corner, preparation is already underway for Banks Browne.
“I’m getting ready for next season already and because we’re doing the Arenacross series I’m riding when I can,” he says. “I’ve started training and have a full-time trainer at the gym. I’m doing a lot of strength conditioning for the 450 and I’m getting stronger. If the weather’s good I’m spending days riding too. There’s an Arenacross track not too far from me so I can go and ride that, but the weather does make it difficult so we might go over to France to get some time in on the bike before the start of the series.“
Banks-Browne will be contesting the Arenacross, British Motocross championship and MX Nationals series in 2015 as well as the Hawkstone International and British Grand Prix.