7 reasons to see the UK World Supercross Championship

Supercross is back in the UK this year on 1 July for the opening round of the 2023 World Supercross Championship. Moving from Cardiff to Birmingham for 2023, the British Supercross Grand Prix is set to feature some of the best riders at one of the most historic venues in UK sports.

WSX Cardiff Patrick Cartwright at the start line with the other riders

Ken Roczen

Ken Roczen is one of the stand out stars of supercross - on a global scale. A 21-time winner in the AMA Supercross 450SX class, including on his 450SX debut at Anaheim 1 2014, Roczen also bagged the World Supercross WSX-class title in the series’ 2022 ‘pilot season’ on the Honda Genuine (now Fire Power Honda) team.

That means Roczen is the defending Supercross World Champion, officially speaking, regardless of the brevity of the season in which he won the title. It was also Roczen’s first championship victory in the supercross discipline - even in AMA 250SX he was unable to clinch a crown - but despite his lack of overall title success, the #94 remains one of, arguably, the top five supercross riders in the world.

After leaving Honda at the end of 2022 in relatively un-amicable circumstances, Roczen headed to Suzuki for 2023, for whom he won the Indianapolis Supercross on their RM-Z450. It was Suzuki’s first win in AMA Supercross since 2016, when Roczen last rode for the brand before he left for Honda. The reunion of Roczen and Suzuki for 2023 looked for a while as though it would be fruitless, but in Indianapolis proved that wrong, and Roczen reasserted himself among the top riders currently in the sport. 

Having been based in the US since he moved there in 2012, following his 2011 MX2 World Championship success, the opportunity for fans outside America to catch a glimpse of Roczen in the flesh have been limited. With Roczen’s commitment to the World Supercross Championship, that is no longer the case, and the 2023 Supercross British Grand Prix offers an opportunity to see Roczen at his best, as he begins his quest to defend the WSX title. Should he do so, he will take Suzuki’s first FIM world title of any kind since Joan Mir won the 2020 MotoGP World Championship, and their first title on dirt since Pierre Renet won the MX3 World Championship in 2009 (or since Steve Ramon won the 2007 MX1 World Championship if you’d rather not count MX3).

The Competition

Although many of Roczen’s rivals from AMA Supercross - such as 2023 450SX Champion Chase Sexton, and two-time champions Cooper Webb and Eli Tomac - will not be present on the WSX gate in 2023, the reigning WSX champion will nonetheless face stiff competition in his title defence. 

At the top of the list of opponents for Roczen to face in the 2023 WSX are Colt Nichols and Joey Savatgy, who are both signed to the Rick Ware Racing team for the 2023 World Supercross Championship.

For both riders, they are coming into WSX off the back of up-and-down AMA Supercross seasons. Nichols was drafted into Team HRC Honda to replace Ken Roczen over the winter, and his adaptation to the CRF450RW was interrupted by injuries during the season. Another adaptation is necessary for Nichols for WSX, as he switches to the Yamaha YZ450F. This change has promise, though, for the #45, who won the 2021 AMA 250SX title on Yamaha machinery.

For Savatgy, there is more continuation, as he raced for Rick Ware in the first half of the AMA Supercross season on Kawasaki machinery. Sticking with the KX450 for the World Championship, Savatgy undoubtedly has the potential to challenge for race wins, and could prove to be Roczen’s closest challenger for the 2023 WSX crown, having finished runner-up to Roczen in 2022.

Home Heroes

Britain might not be the country with the most supercross pedigree in the world, but it does have stars of its own who will be out to put on a show in front of their home crowd in Birmingham at the beginning of July. 

In the WSX class, there is former factory Husqvarna rider Dean Wilson. Now on the 2022 WSX championship-winning team, Fire Power Honda, Wilson will be back racing in the UK for the first time since round one of the 2022 World Supercross Championship in Cardiff last October.

Unlike in 2022, Wilson is coming intoWorld Supercross straight off the back of an AMA Supercross campaign this year, whereas last year he spent the summer competing in AMA Pro Motocross.

Wilson has made no secret about the stage of his career he is currently in, and, although nothing is yet official, this could yet prove to be his final year of professional racing.

On the other hand, Dean Wilson’s Fire Power Honda teammate and British compatriot, Max Anstie, is coming into World Supercross off the back of a breakout season in AMA Supercross, where he took multiple podium finishes, including a win in East Rutherford, beating the proposed star of the future of dirt bike racing, Jett Lawrence.

Having lost out to Shane McElrath in the 2022 SX2 Championship, Anstie is back with the Fire Power Honda team, and their Honda CRF250R, with which he took that East Rutherford win for the 2023 SX2 season, and will begin his quest for a first World Championship crown at his home race in Birmingham on 1 July.

15 Years


Since 2008, supercross - as a discipline - has been largely confined to pockets of the world, and primarily the US. For those who live in those pockets, this is fine, but for those who do not - which has, generally speaking, included Brits - the access to the sport has been very limited at best, and non-existent at worst. 

One of the main targets of World Supercross is to address this global imbalance, and bring supercross to an increasing number of fans in an increasing number of locations. While the current calendar of six races on four continents is not going to satisfy the hunger for supercross of every fan, globally speaking, it is at least a step forward from a ‘World Championship’ which existed solely in North America for almost 15 years.


Make A Weekend Of It

World Supercross is not the only FIM World Championship race taking place in the UK on the first weekend of July. In fact, it is not even the only FIM World Championship race taking place in the middle of England on the first weekend of July. 

From one perspective, having a World Supercross race in Birmingham on the same weekend as World Superbikes is at Donington can be seen as a mistake. However, in reality, WorldSBK Race 1 should finish at around 14:30 on 1 July, and gates for WSX at Villa Park do not open until 16:00 the same day. Since it should not take much more than one hour to drive from Donington Park to Villa Park, it is certainly possible to catch the action live at both events. 

So, the addition of a UK World Supercross to the weekend on which WorldSBK is in the UK now offers the chance to make a whole day of live, in-the-metal, motorcycle racing on the Saturday, with some of the best circuit racers in the world battling it out at Donington, followed by some of the best dirt bike racers on the planet fighting it out for victory in the British GP at Villa Park in the evening, with the two interspersed by a pretty short car journey. 

In a time when MotoGP and Formula One are floating the idea of racing together at the same venue on the same weekend, World Supercross and WorldSBK might just have fallen into an even better solution by doubling up on world class motorcycle racing action at two of the UK’s finest sporting locations.


Villa Park

Last year, World Supercross hosted its British round at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, and it was undoubtedly a success. The shift to Villa Park is probably better if you’re English, and probably worse if you’re Welsh, but it also offers the chance to experience one of the most historic venues in British sports, since Villa Park has been home to 1982 European Cup winners Aston Villa since 1897.

Fan Experience

Something many established motorsports championships have failed to grasp is that a race sells better if it is also an event. That requires entertainment and attractions outside of the racing itself. World Supercross will therefore have a Fan Zone open from 11:30 on 1 July, followed by a one-hour autograph session with the riders. Once the main show has started, there will be opening ceremonies and an FMX display preceding the SX2 and WSX Heat races and Finals.