It’s been a super-tough season for pretty much everyone but Adam Sterry’s had even more of a rollercoaster ride with team problems and a serious injury combining to further complicate a year already turned upside down by COVID-19.
“Yeah, this year has been difficult,” said Adam, “starting off with the team I was on which I had many reasons for leaving. Then there was lockdown and I switched teams, then I punctured my lung and then we were back racing. There’s been a lot of stopping and starting this year.”
The 24-year-old Welshman, ACU British MX2 champ in 2016 and ranked #6 in the world last year, had started 2020 – his debut season in the MXGP class – riding for the Czech Republic-based JD Gunnex KTM team. That relationship went south after the first two rounds of the world championship and, with the first lockdown in full swing, he was picked up by Roger Magee’s Hitachi KTM fuelled by Milwaukee team.
“Latvia was my first race with Hitachi. I was actually on my practice bike. They were three difficult rounds but we knew they would be – the aim was to just try and improve each race but we were trying to test while I was racing which is never ideal. We went the wrong way a few times but we kinda figured it out and got on the right path and I think the results showed that towards the end.”
What was already a challenging situation was made much worse when Adam crashed the day before he was due to leave for Faenza for the first of the Italian triple-header events and punctured a lung.
“I was actually testing the race bike for the first time and I cross-rutted going into a corner and went into a drainage ditch, over the bars and landed hard on my side and head.”
When he returned to action after missing three rounds, bike set-up was still an issue but Adam feels they started to move in the right direction towards the end of the championship and he just failed to break into the top-10 at the penultimate round.
“The 450 suits me but there’s so much depth in the class that if you’re not at 100 per cent or don’t get a good start it’s very difficult to move forward. After the first [Arco] round we changed some things in the engine and it was so much better. For the penultimate round I went well in qualifying and that gave me a better choice of gate and I got an 11th place and the last round was good as well.
“We found the right path in the end and that gives us something good to work on during the off-season.”
Next season will be another important step in Adam’s career and he’s happy to be staying with the Hitachi team so he can build on the lessons learned this year.
“We can take what we’ve learned in the last few rounds and keep going in that direction and also there’s so much more to test – I did one suspension test in January and that’s been me for the whole year. I’m happy that I can get a good winter under my belt – I just need to stay healthy and come out next year swinging.
“I don’t really like to set exact goals but I definitely want to be fighting towards the sharp end next year, there’s no doubt about it. I need to get good starts and be good in qualifying. Next year will be important for me and I need to be near the front which I know I’m capable of if I work hard this winter.”