The 2018 Arenacross championship kicks off this coming weekend, with SR75 World Team Suzuki's Thomas Ramette looking to defend his crown, starting at the series opener at Manchester's arena.
Using the new-for-2018 RM-Z450, the team is hoping to make it four rider's titles in a row, with Ramette having won the championship consecutively since 2015. However, one of his biggest challenges will come from long-standing teammate, Cyrille Coulon.
Coulon enjoyed a great start to last year's campaign, despite being taken out of the main event at round one. After that disappointment, he rallied and was in the driving seat with a series of wins and strong performances, until injury curtailed his challenge. This year, the experienced French ace will be hoping it will finally be his turn to stand on the top step of the podium when the chequered flag falls at the last round.
Ramette, meanwhile, had an up-and-down time of it during the series, but it came together in the final races for him to take his third consecutive crown. He then went on to lift the French Supercross title onboard his Suzuki RM-Z450.
Towards the end of 2017, SR75 World Team Suzuki joined the European press launch of the all-new RM-Z450, and will not only be looking to add another AX rider and team title to its tally, but also give the new machine its first title, too.
Team boss, Geoff Walker, said, "It was a never-say-die performance from Thomas [Ramette] at the final round last year that saw us lift a third title, back-to-back. He battled injury and DNFs, but never knows when to back down. He then smashed it out the park to French SX Tour title. It was an incredible achievement to come from behind and snatch victory at the final round.
"With Cyrille Coulon, the man was on fire during the AX tour last year, and we had massive pride in his victories and the honour of running the red plate with him during the campaign. One turn of bad luck and one decision may have taken his championship charge away, but the thrill this guy gives the fans every time he's on track is an amazing thing, and we've got two riders who can challenge for the title again this year.
"We've also got the new RM-Z450, and we're excited to extract the potential from the new machine and hopefully get it its first AX title."
Ramette added, "2017 was one of my best year's so far, with my third Arenacross title and the French Supercross championship. I learnt more than ever this year, and despite a difficult end to the season, I am going to change many things to make 2018 even better, and I'm looking forward to more success with my team."