After overnight storms, the best of Great Britain lined up today for the penultimate round of the Maxxis ACU British Motocross Championship, round seven of eight, at Preston Docks where Wilvo Virus Performance KTM’s duo of Shaun Simpson and Adam Sterry dominated their respective classes while Apico Husqvarna’s Alexander Brown was the best of the young guns in the MXY2 category.
Sand is always a challenge, it’s often described as the ultimate test of the best, although despite what anyone says, it always favors the specialist. One of the best sand riders in the world is hands down Wilvo Virus Performance KTM’s Shaun Simpson, and he made that more than obvious today with his double moto victory for his third overall win of the season.
In race 1, Buildbase Honda’s Graeme Irwin got off to one of those killer starts once again as he led Hitachi Revo Husqvarna’s Jake Nicholls around turn one. Gone are the days of wasting time, Nicholls made a move on Irwin on the opening lap to take the early lead.
Meanwhile, Simpson was feeling hasty and passed Verde Motorsport KTM’s Brad Anderson on the opening lap before blitzing around the outside of Irwin through the waves. Following that pass, Irwin crashed all on his own which allowed Anderson to make his claim to fame by running third for almost the entire race before cartwheeling on the final lap.
With 10 minutes plus 2 laps to go, Simpson cracked the throttle and charged up on Nicholls to challenge for the lead. The duo went side-by-side over a table top with Simpson having the inside line advantage heading into the next turn. Nicholls could have cut across and squeezed him, but instead kept it clean and railed the berm. Obviously, Simpson took the inside rut for the lead and went on to win by 4 seconds over Nicholls.
As for the championship leader, Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki’s Tommy Searle, he was half asleep on the gate and got a terrible start which made life incredibly difficult because by the time he had carved his way through the pack, Simpson and Nicholls were gone burger. Nevertheless, he put in a solid ride to get to third ahead of MVR-D Fuel 10K Husqvarna’s Tanel Leok who had to nurse his steaming bike home for fourth. The rookie, Dyer & Butler KTM’s Steven Lenoir, rode awesome for fifth.
In the final moto of the day, the Belgian wildcard entry, Jeffrey Dewulf, took an impressive holeshot and almost led a lap before Searle passed him in the split section. Searle managed to pull a 5 second gap before the end of lap two, but one bad lap saw that diminish with Simpson in his element.
Finally, the battle up front we had all been waiting for with Shaun looking more like his usual self and Searle running a fierce pace. After a rough season, to come from behind and pass Searle was just what the doctor ordered for Simpson, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. The sand master, Simpson, made the pass stick and charged to the flag for a hard fought race win over Searle, while Dewulf finished third with Nicholls shadowing him in fourth. Leok rounded out the top five.
With two race wins Wilvo Virus Performance KTM’s Shaun Simpson took back 8 points on Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki’s Tommy Searle this weekend. Searle went 3 – 2 for second ahead of Hitachi Revo Husqvarna’s Jake Nicholls.
After some pretty mixed results in the timed qualifying session which was topped by Wilvo Virus Performance KTM’s Adam Sterry, who was on another level today, it was the championship leader, Apico Husqvarna’s Steven Clarke, who charged like a bull at a gate into turn one for the holeshot in race one over Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki’s James Cottrell and Jordan Booker.
Initially Sterry was in the mix too, but he almost tagged Clarke on the start straight and had to back off. By the end of lap one, Clarke had an impressive lead of 8 seconds but by lap six, that was nothing at all with Sterry hot on his heels. The KTM star, Sterry, was on rails and after a lap of eating roost he blocked passed Clarkey and stormed away to win by 10 seconds.
Meanwhile there was a gnarly battle for third as Hitachi Revo Husqvarna’s most recent recruit Mel Pocock, Jordan Booker and Planet Advanced Racing Suspension’s Brad Todd kept each other on their toes. In the end it was Pocock who toughed it out for third ahead of Booker and Todd.
In race 2, Verde Sports Racing’s Jake Millward nailed the ‘holey’ ahead of Sterry and Clarke. Sterry didn’t waste too much time in taking the lead and from there is should have been smooth sailing. ‘A smooth sea doesn’t make a skilled sailor’, is how the saying goes, Sterry can vouch for that quote after he clipped his foot on the bank and was catapulted from his bike. He managed to remount in fifth and rode like a bat out of hell to take the win. Clarke also knows the meaning of that quote. He washed out and had to come back from eighth to third.
Buildbase Honda’s Martin Barr got off to a better start this time around and set the second fastest lap time of the race. He looked way more comfortable in the final race and finished second ahead of Clarke and MacKenzie, while Millward put in an epic ride for fifth.
Two race wins gave Wilvo Virus Performance KTM’s Adam Sterry his fourth overall win of the season and the red plate for the first time in his career. Apico Husqvarna’s Steven Clarke finished second overall and relinquished the red plate, although it’s no skin off of his nose, he’s fine being 1 point down on Sterry heading into the grand finale which will take place at Foxhill in September. Buildbase Honda’s Martin Barr uncorked the third bottle of fizz in third.
In race 1, Honda UK Rookie Team’s Jack Bintcliffe nailed the holeshot ahead of Apico Husqvarna’s Alexander Brown and RFX KTM’s Henry Williams. Brown was once again in a league of his own and took the lead almost instantly.
While Brown pulled away to win by 9 seconds, Bintcliffe put in the ride of his season. Williams managed to pass the young Honda rider early on in the race, although that wasn’t the end of him. He held on to Williams for almost the entire race before binning it on the final lap.
P & H Motorcycle’s Michael Ellis had Bintcliffe in his sights for the majority of the race and inherited third after his spill. With a huge points lead in the championship, Holeshot Motocross’ James Carpenter knows it’s all about finishing races and rode smooth and consistent for fourth ahead of Carl Nunn KTM’s George Grigg-Pettitt.
In race two, Brown got off to a primo start and gapped it right away. Meanwhile, Ellis stalked Williams for almost the entire moto before he was caught by Grigg-Pettitt. Ellis switched from attack mode to defense mode which gave Williams a comfortable cushion in second.
GGP was all over Ellis but couldn’t get the job done and had to settle for fourth ahead of the red plate holder Carpenter.
At the end of the day the podium was clean cut in the MXY2 class. Alexander Brown went 1 – 1 for the overall ahead of Henry Williams who went 2 – 2 and Michael Ellis who went 3 – 3.
Words and image by MXGB