The scenic valley of Teutschenthal, Germany, was the most recent stop for the now-complete Wilvo Virus Performance KTM squad. Adam Sterry, who was engrossed in testing and training duties following Canada Heights, used the hard-pack circuit as the stage for his MXGP return, which made for an awning that was full of activity.
When the MX2 qualifying heat fired into life in dry conditions, Adam Sterry immediately made an impact on the competitive class. Sterry started on the cusp of the top five and held his ground early on, before a lack of race-time at the highest level caught up with him.
After battling with those inside the top 10 and gaining valuable experience that will serve him well in the future, he crossed the line in 12th – a respectable gate pick for the following day.
The slick, fast nature of the Teutschenthal circuit makes it incredibly tough to make up time, hence why 13th was not an ideal spot for Shaun Simpson to end lap one of the qualifying heat. He put his head down, however, and started to make some progress through the field. He was already up to 11th by the halfway mark, but refused to settle and kept charging forward. When the relatively short 20 minute moto concluded, he was ninth.
Sterry used all the power available to him to get a brilliant start from the middle of the gate in the first MX2 moto, as he rounded turn one in fifth. Proving that he has both the speed and ability to run with the stars of the sport, Sterry jumped up to second on the first full lap and looked extremely comfortable whilst chasing the leader.
Like in the qualifying race, however, the fact that he still is not 100 per cent shone through, as he lost some ground as the race progressed. He still salvaged a 19th place and two points, which were his first in the 2016 FIM Motocross World Championship.
Another mediocre start left Simpson facing an uphill climb (quite literally) as he exited turn one in the first Sunday moto – he was on the edge of the top 10. A valiant effort saw him progress to eighth in the first couple of laps, before engaging in a tussle with Evgeny Bobryshev. Simpson lost out in that, unfortunately, so settled for a comfortable ninth, which added another 12 points to his championship total.
With his first full weekend of racing this year almost at an end, Adam Sterry tackled the track at its roughest in the second MX2 moto. A poor start hindered him this time, so he spent the duration battling in the lower half of the top 20. The entire moto was a dogfight, with each rider vying for as many points as they could possibly get, and Sterry, unfortunately, just missed out on a spot in the top 20. He ended the day 24th overall.
The second MXGP moto was very similar to the first for Simpson, as he again struggled to get out of the gate with the leading riders. Some swift moves in the early laps eventually saw him move into the top 10 and slot in behind Tim Gajser, the current series leader. Proving that his pace would be competitive at the front of the pack, Simpson did not lose too much time to him and, as a result, bettered his result from moto one with an eighth.
A consistent scorecard left him ninth overall on the day and eighth in the championship heading into the eighth fixture, the GP of Trentino, next weekend. A single point separates him from the rider in seventh, so climbing up the order will again be a realistic goal next time out.
“My starts were shocking today,” exclaimed Simpson. “I was at the back of the pack going into turn one both times and managed to make my way through into the top 15 or top 12 and then rode two steady motos.
“In the first one I finished ninth and in the second I finished eighth. It was just a weekend where you had to get out the gate and set your pace from an early stage. I just feel like, the last few weeks, I have been getting back up to full fitness and the speed is still lacking a little bit. Overall, I’m feeling like it needs to come soon.”
Sterry commented: “This was the first weekend where my wrist didn’t really give me any problems, so I was happy with that. I showed that, despite having little preparation, I have good speed. I just suffered with arm-pump all weekend.
“I had good starts and gained more race time, so, all in all, I was happy. The results didn’t show it, but my hands and arms are honestly feeling pretty sore. We’re getting back into the swing of things now, so I will keep progressing forward.”
Summing up the GP weekend, team boss, Steve Turner said: “It was good to be back to a full line up this week although it was a tough track for Adam to return to and it showed as the weekend unfolded.
“He showed in the first race he has the speed to mix it with the top runners but he needs a lot more time on the bike before he’ll be able to maintain throughout the full duration of the races.
“Shaun struggled out of the gate all weekend and had to fight hard to get the results he ended up with. There was very little passing throughout both of his races so it was pretty much a case of pushing as hard as possible without making any small mistakes, which might cost a place. I think with the starts he had he did well to get two good finishes.”