Matterley Basin - Its History

Posted on September 18, 2023

There is no doubt, the MXGP of Great Britain is one of the best stops in the MXGP calendar, and this year will be the final stop in this years MXGP and MX2 championship. While two champions are already crowned, Matterley is a perfect final stop in what has been a good season. 

Matterley Basin built by Johnny Douglas Hamilton in a large valley in the south of England, this place is as close to motocross heaven as you might get. 

Sure, it doesn’t have the intensity and history of the Citadel at Namur, or the old school feel of Loket in the Czech Republic, but what Matterley does have, apart from great viewing, is a freshness about it.

If the weather is good, which is looking the case in a little over a months time, then standing on the top of the valley, and looking across to the circuit and paddock area is one of the best feelings you can have at a motocross track.

Promoted by Steve Dixon this facility is everything motocross should be and more. Just 16 years old, this circuit has seen enough history to already be labelled the benchmark of motocross. And from that day Stefan Everts slayed James Stewart at the 2006 Motocross of Nations, its grown in stature, and continued to bring us special weekends, time and time again.

Antonio Cairoli, Jeffrey Herlings and Tim Gajser have really shown a consistency at Matterley Basin, Cairoli winning six GP’s and of course the MX2 moto win at that 2006 MXoN, beating home American legend, Ryan Villopoto in the process. Herlings with just four wins (2014, 2016, 2018. 2020), and surprisingly beaten on two occasions by Tommy Searle (2012) and Valentin Guillod (2015) in the MX2 class (something that didn’t happen often). So despite his liking for this circuit, is it one of the circuits Cairoli might have the upper hand on most competitors.

While Matterley Basin held a GP in 2006, a warm-up race for the MXoN so to speak, a handful of other circuits held the British Grand Prix from 2007 until 2010.

Matterley Basin returned to the GP scene in 2011, and Cairoli took a moto win as he scored victory in the MX1 class. Young German rider Ken Roczen won the MX2 class with 1-1 scores.

A year later in 2012 that man Cairoli goes 1-1 in the MX1 class, taking his fourth and fifth race wins at the circuit on his way to a dominant performance. In the MX2 class Tommy Searle and Jeffrey Herlings went to war as they battled for the small bike honours. Searle scored 1-1 results as Herlings crashed out of one race while on the back wheel of the Brit. The huge crowd went wild as the home boy handed the world champion defeat.

2013 and while Cairoli was able to pick up another moto win, it was Clement Desalle who won the MX1 overall with 2-1 results. In the MX2 class a classic GP was held as a handful of riders fought for the GP victory. With world MX2 champion Jeffrey Herlings out of the GP due to injury it was his countryman Glenn Coldenhoff who took the win.

In 2014 Cairoli went 1-2 for the MXGP overall victory and in doing so scored his seventh moto win from 12 starts. No doubt the last 10 years had seen Cairoli as the most decorated rider at the beautiful circuit build in a valley. In the MX2 class in 2014 the Dutchman Jeffrey Herlings finally scored his first GP victory at the circuit.

2015 and a surprise in the MX2 class as Valentin Guillod wins with 2-1 and beats Herlings for the overall. Herlings also went 1-2, but the wrong way around for victory.  Cairoli gets another win in England with 1-3 scores.

A year later, in 2016, and the last time we visited Matterley Basin for a GP (2017 the Monster Energy FIM MXoN Presented by Fiat professional was held so no GP), and Herlings goes 1-1 for a win, and in MXGP it was Tim Gajser winning with 1-1 results and Cairoli could only muster 2-10 for sixth overall.

Of course, the 2017 MXoN was a Max Anstie masterpiece as he went 1-1 and helped Team GB onto the podium, Jeffrey Herlings scored 1-2 results, and Hunter Lawrence showed something special (and got himself a deal in USA) to win the MX2 class over American 250 champion Zach Osborne.

2018 at Matterley we all remember the brilliant Herlings vs Cairoli battle, won by the Dutchman, to take his Matterley win tally to three, and Pauls Jonass won in MX2. In 2019 it was Cairoli ahead of Gajser and in 2020 Herlings winning ahead of Gajser and Cairoli to get his fourth win at the circuit and then Cairoli won again in 2021 ahead of Gajser and Herlings. 

After a weeks delay due to a heavy storm, the British GP went ahead. Gajser won again last year ahead of Jorge Prado and Jeremy Seewer. Langelfelder, Vialle and Geerts was the MX2 podium.