TALENTED riders from North Wales and Cheshire will battle the cream of world-class motocross and off-road biking at The Arenacross Festival (AX Fest) this weekend.
Thousands of people are to descend on the 6,000-acre Bolesworth Castle estate in Tattenhall, near Chester and Wrexham, for a three-day, high-octane programme of events, beginning on Friday (September 15-17).
AX Fest is Britain’s biggest motocross and live music weekend, mixing thrilling racing and freestyle motocross (FMX) stunt shows with an amazing family festival experience. The event will also mark the first round of the 2023/24 Arenacross British Championship.
Among the local stars appearing will be world class Deeside motocross rider Adam Sterry, who is thrilled to be competing on an incredible track which has been converted from Bolesworth’s iconic international equestrian arena using more than 5,000 tons of dirt!
The 27 year-old will be among the highlights during a packed schedule complemented by a vast array of activities for all the family.
The festival will also include a thrillseekers’ funfair, live shows, bike experiences for adults and kids of all ages, a huge range of retail and food and drink options, plus a live music stage with bands and DJs kicking off at night when the sport finishes. Visitors can also camp for the weekend to enjoy the whole festival.
Among the special guests already signed up to play are Mercury – one of the World’s leading Queen Tribute Bands and Rick Parfitt Jr and the RPJ Band on the Friday, followed the next night headlined by DJ, keyboard player and songwriter Sister Bliss, performing her Faithless DJ set, as well as by a High on Heels Ibiza set.
Having grown up just over the border, Adam – a former winner of the British 250cc (MX2) Championship – is proud to see motocross given such an amazing platform.
“I’ve always been interested in the AX series, I think it’s great for the sport in the UK,” he said.
“I’ve had almost zero experience of this type of racing, so it’s something completely new to me but I’m excited for the challenge and the venue is awesome – it looks mega!”
British Arenacross Champion Tommy Searle, who rides for GTCI Revo Kawasaki, and three-time SuperEnduro World Champion Billy Bolt, will also be lining up over the weekend.
Tommy has nothing but praise for the set up at Bolesworth.
“There is so much for people to do, even if you’re not into bikes there is something for everyone,” he said.
“I’m so looking forward to it, we’ve never had racing in a venue like this, it’s never been done before and we’re all really excited about it.”
AX Fest will also feature some of the sport’s up-and-coming young talent, including Llangollen’s Oscar Smith.
The nine year-old, a pupil at Garth Primary School, has been into bikes since he was just two and can’t wait to take on the new track.
“It’s going to be so much fun, we all can’t wait to race here as it’s the first time ever,” said Oscar.
Seven year-old Elworth Hall Primary School pupil Marcus Taylor, from Sandbach, is another planning to make his mark at event, despite his young age: “I have been riding since I was three, I love to be out on my bike and my dream is to be a champion one day,” he said.
Ewloe racer Riley Rogers was also just three when he received his first motocross bike, and six when he began racing. He looks forward to taking on the competition in the 65cc category.
“It’s going to be amazing being out on the same track as Tommy Searle, I can’t wait,” he said.
Aston Whitehead, from Crewe, who celebrates his 12th birthday today (Monday) has been riding for five years having been inspired by his grandfather, also a former motocross rider.
He even wears the same number as his grandfather did – 116 – and dreams of becoming the world’s best one day.
“I just love racing; we go all over the country taking on other 85cc riders but have never raced anywhere like this – it’s amazing!” said Aston.
“To be here among the best in my age group, and then to have the very best professional motocross riders in the same arena is going to be epic!”
Bolesworth’s Managing Director of Events and Arenacross creator Matt Bates, a former Pro Motocross rider, believes the inaugural celebration will be a unique crossover event for the region.
“For fans of the sport it’s going to be an exhilarating three days watching the very best compete on a unique, purpose-built track in one of the area’s most beautiful settings,” he said.
“But AX Fest is so much more than that, it’s an experience all the family can enjoy with so much taking place across the Estate – we hope you can join us and that this is the first of many events of this kind in the future.”