The Wilvo Virus Performance KTM team hit the soft terrain of Mantova for the Fullback MXGP of Lombardia this past weekend.
Unfortunately, the team made the trip without their star rider, Shaun Simpson, who had opted to give his hand time to heal. Simpson was following medical advice, in order to ensure he would be ready to defend his red plate at the fifth British Championship round in Leuchars on July 3.
Adam Sterry was the sole rider beneath the awning and rose to the challenge in the intense Italian heat which neared 40 degrees throughout the weekend.
Some noteworthy practice times put Sterry in a positive position entering the Qualifying Race on Saturday. Having the ninth gate pick for that race set him up well and he made good use of it, rounding turn one in the top three. However, Max Anstie clipped Dylan Ferrandis as they entered the second turn and went down, collecting Sterry in the process. He was then forced to focus on making up as much ground as possible.
He made good progress following and was pushing for a spot in the top 15 on the penultimate lap, but another small fall cost him three spots. He eventually crossed the line in 19th.
Despite his mediocre gate pick, Sterry rounded turn one inside the top three in the first of two MX2 encounters. Proving that he has the pace to run at the sharp end of the pack, he fought off the advances of Ferrandis through the opening stages on a track that caught out countless former winners. Sterry was composed whilst battling throughout the race and managed to hold off the championship’s second placed rider, Pauls Jonass for the last two laps to cross the line in ninth, recording his third top-10 finish of the season in what were extremely testing conditions.
Sadly, Sterry was one of four riders who hit the gate at the start of the second MX2 moto and was forced to fight forward from the back of the field. He was actually moving through the pack much quicker than some of his competition, as by lap six he was edging towards the top 15. However, he jumped too far right on the big triple and clipped the banking, catapulting him off his KTM machine. It seemed an age before he picked himself up and remounted and by then it was pointless continuing so he was left to retire to the truck.
His combined results left him in 14th overall on the day and also saw him edge closer to the top 20 in the championship.
“Progress was made again this weekend,” offered Sterry. “My speed was good all weekend with a fourth, fifth and ninth in the timed sessions. I’m just waiting for some luck to fall my way. The first race was solid, but I just rode too cautious and my lines were not very good. In race two there was a malfunction with the gates and there should have been a red flag. I had a terrible start then had a pretty big crash that ended my race. I just need the two motos to come together and we will have a good overall result.”
Team boss, Steve Turner, commented: “Adam showed again this weekend how good he is out of the gate and how much speed he has but was only able to post one good result. Four riders hit the gate in race two and although Youthstream is adamant that there was no malfunction it has to be said that it is rare that four riders would all make the same mistake. Anyway, it left Adam starting from the back again and although he rode well and made a lot of passes he crashed twice, the second of which resulted in a DNF. He needs a bit more luck and those great starts and that impressive speed will start delivering the results he deserves.”