The Wilvo Forkrent KTM team arrived in Latvia for the 12th round of the World Motocross Championship hoping for some good results on the sandy Kegums circuit.
The optimism was however short lived as returning MXGP rider Jake Nicholls crashed in timed practice on Saturday, injuring his lower back and leaving him as a spectator for the rest of the weekend.
Jake Nicholls said: “After crashing in timed practice I couldn’t race. I tried in warm-up but I just had too much pain in my lower back and was unable to put my leg out in the turns. It’s really disappointing and I am really sorry for the team.”
It was up to EMX250 rider Adam Sterry to do the business on behalf of the team and channel his confidence going into round seven of the European Championship.
Having looked forward to getting on to a sandy track following Sweden last week, Sterry liked the Kegums circuit and it showed as he went fastest in group A qualifying, giving him second gate pick for the main races.
Sterry rounded the first turn in second place and blasted past Graulus for the lead. Based on his dominance in the sand at Valkenswaard it would have been no surprise if he had done the same again, however once in the lead, he tightened up and just didn’t manage to ride to his full potential.
A mistake mid-race let Graulus back through and he found himself coming under pressure from championship leader Kouwenberg. He managed to fend off a challenge but wasn’t able to catch Graulus so had to be content with a second place finish.
Crashing halfway down the start straight left Sterry dead last on the first lap. After a thunderstorm earlier in the day the track had one dry line, which made it extremely difficult to make passes on.
Managing to force his way through and up to 16th he then unfortunately missed his line and stalled the bike in the soft stuff. After restarting and with no time left in the race, the 18-year-old was out of the points and finished in 27th.
Commenting after the race, Adam Sterry said: “Well motocross can be a cruel sport sometimes. Over the last couple of months it seems every time I build some momentum I get kicked in the nuts.
“The Kegums track is really good and I was so happy to get back on some sand and that definitely showed when I qualified first in my group. Race one I got second out of the start, passed Graulus on the first lap but just rode a bit tight. I jumped off track and he passed me back, I then ended up coming home second.
“Race two I got taken down halfway up the start straight and my hand clipped something on another riders bike. It was sore but I tried to ignore it and just got as far forward as possible. On the last lap I went offline and stalled which put me out of the points. I now just need to keep focusing and I’m sure the results will come.”
Summing up, Team Manager Steve Turner commented: “I am almost lost for words. Poor Jake just can’t get a run going. How much bad luck can one guy have? I won’t be asking him for his lottery numbers that’s for sure.
“He looked good on the bike in free practice but then binned it and hurt his back. The pain from the crash was just too much for him to be able to race on Sunday so we made the decision to sit it out. “Adam is also having his fair share of bad luck at the moment and crashes are costing him dear in the championship. Everyone is focused on doing well and as a team we will continue to be positive. The good days are ahead of us!”