The 10th round of the Monster Energy Arenacross Tour, powered by Ford Ranger, saw the LPE and SJR Kawasaki teams head to their local round of the series at Sheffield.
After a mixed night at the previous round in Newcastle, both teams were looking for strong results in front of their local fans. Due to a clash of dates, French rider Xavier Boog was unable to attend and was replaced by fellow Frenchman Jason Clermont.
The day started well with productive practice and qualifying sessions. In the opening practice session all four riders headed out on track in the same group with Jack Brunell second fastest, Florent Richier third, fifth fastest was Julien Bill and newcomer, Jason Clermont in seventh.
In the qualifying session all four riders speed improved and good lap times moved them up the leaderboard with Jack in fourth, Florent in fifth, Julien in ninth and Jason in 12th.
The night started with the opening heat races and in heat one both Richier and Bill suffered tough races and finished in fifth and sixth respectively. The second heat race of the night saw Brunell take the early lead but had to chase down series leader Cedric Soubeyras to finish in a solid second at the end with Clermont in fifth.
The second set of heat races would see Richier claim a hard earned second place behind Tomas Ramette, while Brunell suffered a tough race after starting in fourth and then crashing heavily and finished a lap down and in seventh place, which would see him have to face the LCQ.
The fourth and final heat race saw both Clermont and Bill struggle to make ground after bad starts and finished in fifth and sixth places sending both riders to the LCQ.
In the LCQ race Brunell took the holeshot and rode solid to claim the win and the all-important transfer spot to the main event ahead of LPE Kawasaki’s Clermont in second. Unfortunately Bill suffered a crash and finished ninth but would transfer to the main via the ‘Promoters Choice’.
Next up was the Head-to-Head races but Richier would go out in the opening round and miss out on the championship points.
After the mixed results earlier in the night all four riders were looking to end the night on a high in the main. When the gate dropped Brunell started in eighth place and would move up to seventh at the finish ahead Richier in ninth, Bill in 10th and Clermont in 11th.
Also competing at Sheffield was young Jimmy Margetson in the Pro Lites class and after qualifying third fastest Jimmy was looking to produce two solid results in the main races. The first race of the day would see Margetson race to a great second place finish behind newly crowned champion Joe Clayton.
Margetson was looking to repeat the performance the second main event when he was running third with a corner to go when unfortunately the bike stopped and he would suffer a DNF.
Both teams now head to London where they will be looking to secure second with LPE and third with SJR if possible in the Team Championship to round the season off on a high.
“The weekend started well, I was second in time practice and as we had only done one time training session because the track didn’t hold together, so I had the fourth overall time – I was happy with that,” said SJR Kawasaki’s Jack Brunell. “Going into the heats I had second gate pick and took the holeshot. I was leading most of the race and ended up second.
“Heat two I was about fourth and on the second corner I got hit and went down. I picked up my bike and came from the back then a few laps into the race I made a mistake in the whoops and ended up having a big crash and flying off the track. That meant I had to go to the LCQ, in the LCQ I got the holeshot and won that.
“In the main event I gated eighth and ended up seventh but couldn’t pass on the track so wasn’t happy with that result.”
SJR Kawasaki’s Julien Bill said: “My weekend in Sheffield wasn’t what I expected. I know I have the speed and I felt comfortable on my bike but I couldn’t put all the pieces of the puzzle together.
“The first heat I had the start but made too many mistakes then in the second heat I missed my jump out of the gate but pushed through at the end.
“In LCQ I crashed but got into the main event on second line but rode well and realised my rhythm was pretty good as I could see the front guys were not much faster than me. So I now head into London confident and super motivated, I can’t wait!”
LPE Kawasaki’s Florent Richier said: “The weekend was not the greatest for me. The track surface was very slippery which made it very difficult all night to get good grip and make passes.
“In the first heat in was stuck in traffic and then suffered some contact with [Adam] Chatfield and finished fifth. Then the second heat I finished in second and then in the head-to-head I had a crash and went out in the first round.
“Then in the main event after starting in fourth I started to suffer a problem with my brakes following the earlier crash with Chatfield and that caused me to slip back to ninth at the finish.
“So I’m really annoyed about the result and will be going to London for the final round looking to give it everything I have to try and take the last victory of the series.” LPE Kawasaki’s Jason Clermont said: “This weekend was a good experience, but it was also really tough as all the riders are at such a high level as it’s nearly the end of the series.
“The track also made it really hard to go fast without making mistakes, although I was making progress with every session on track. In the main event I missed the jump and struggled to make any progress forward so was disappointed to finish in 11th.
LPE and SJR Kawasaki team manager, Steve James commented: “Well the day started off well with all four of the Pro riders qualifying well and new rider Jason in 12th. Also in the Pro Lites young Jimmy was looking great in practice and qualifying going into the non-public race. Jimmy had an awesome ride and finished a brilliant second to Joe Clayton, it was an awesome ride and gave Jimmy loads of confidence going into the evening show.
“Unfortunately after that everything went pear shape!
“Sheffield is one of my favourites for many reasons it’s always a fantastic atmosphere and usually sells out and with it been our local round we get lots of support from family and friends, which is great but this weekend it just wasn’t to be.
“The weekend is not what we wanted and not where we needed to be, but it is what it is and that’s racing as they say.
“To top our unlucky weekend off, Jack crashed pretty hard and hurt his wrist – we just thought he’d hurt it. But after x-rays on Sunday we discovered that he had broken his scaphoid. You just couldn’t write it, but Jack is a tough kid and will ride if he can – it all depends on how he feels leading up to Wembley.”