Features 11 Apr 2024

Rewind: MX1 past of 2024 newcomers

When Nathan Crawford and Wilson Todd last lined up in the 450 class.

After many seasons of lining up against each other in the MX2 class, current KTM Racing Team leader Nathan Crawford and Terrafirma Honda Racing contender Wilson Todd have both stepped up to MX1 full-time in 2024, further enhancing the quality of the premier class field. This latest Rewind reflects on past appearances in the 450 category during their careers.

However, this isn’t the first time that either of these guys have raced MX1, since in 2017 Crawford lined up for a full season in the 450 ranks with the now-shuttered Mega Bulk Fuels Monster Energy Kawasaki team, and more recently in 2022, Todd made a two-round cameo appearance in the MX1 class after dominating the MX2 championship and wrapping that title up early.

At the end of 2016, Kawasaki issued a media release that they’d signed then-19-year-old Crawford to their MX1 program for the following year in 2017, inclusive of both the MX Nationals and the Australian Supercross Championship. It was Crawford’s first factory ride and, despite missing the final outdoor of the year prior while leading MX2 and having to settle for third, he maintained that he was ready to step up.

Image: Supplied.

Even though it was a huge step up for Crawford, he still posted some impressive results. Starting with a consistent 8-8 scorecard at Wonthaggi while still recovering from a broken wrist, the Brisbane-based teenager found himself on the race podium two rounds later, when he put in a strong performance at the sweeping Conondale circuit.

After holding down P2 for most of race behind defending number one Dean Ferris, he was passed late by Kirk Gibbs to settle for a breakout third-place finish. Crawford also found the race podium after the opening Port Macquarie moto and wrapped up the series in eighth overall.

The season wasn’t without its challenges, though as his then MX1 teammate Aleksander Tonkov split with Kawasaki midway through the series after a string of underwhelming performances, and was replaced by Brett Metcalfe. Crawford also missed the Murray Bridge round of the series as his injured wrist continued to give him grief.

Crawford was also impressive during his SX1 campaign, finishing fourth in the standings. The highlight was a breakthrough win at a mud-soaked round at Jimboomba. Even though he was initially docked two positions for an off-track excursion through the whoops, he appealed the decision and the penalty was overturned a month later and he was granted his first-career 450 class race win.

Image: Foremost Media.

At the end of 2017, the Troy Carroll-led Kawasaki team closed up shop and Crawford inked a deal to return to racing the MX2 class alongside Wilson Todd with the also now-closed Serco Yamaha team for 2018, and after a short stint in the world championship as well, Crawford has been a mainstay in the 250 class until this season in stepping up once and for all at KTM Racing Team.

Todd, meanwhile, has considerably less MX1 experience, but it is more recent. He made his 450 debut at the penultimate round of ProMX 2022 at Queensland Moto Park, when he performed double duties across both the MX1 and MX2 class. Having dominated MX2 all year, he only needed to score two points to claim his third MX2 title.

That day saw Todd stun the paddock by topping qualifying in both classes, then winning the Top 10 Pole Shootout on the CRF450R. A P4 result in the opening MX2 moto was more than enough for him to take the title, so he then turned his focus to the MX1 class, where he turned in consistent 5-5 results to finish his premier class debut with a solid fifth overall.

A week later, Todd approached the final round at Coolum with the same devastating speed, but this time focusing on MX1 after parking his CRF250R. Again, he topped qualifying and the Top 10 Pole Shootout, but further solidified he’d be a future threat to the premier class when he won the opening moto by more than 10 seconds.

Image: Foremost Media.

To make it a finale to remember, the Queenslander – who also has an extensive share of world championship experience – finished out the 2022 championship with a P3 in the final race, seeing him stand on the top step of the MX1 rostrum in just his second-ever appearance.

That future would hold a fourth MX2 championship for the Honda Racing team last year, before he finally transitioned to the MX1 class for his first full season this year. After two ProMX rounds in 2024, Todd and Crawford are already establishing themselves as series front-runners.

Crawford claimed his first-ever MX1 moto win last weekend at Horsham and is currently sitting third in the points, while Todd has amassed a decent stack of points at both rounds to be placed fifth overall, just four points behind four-time national MX1 champion Ferris as we head to Gillman in a few weeks time.