After the departure of Steven Frossard, it was down to returning rider Jake Nicholls and team-mate Adam Sterry to fly the flag for the Wilvo Forkrent KTM team on the treacherous Uddevalla track, the venue for round eleven of the FIM World Motocross Championship and the sixth round of the European Championship.
Sterry looked sharp in the Group B timed qualifying and posted the second fastest time, just three-hundredth of a second off pole.
Nicholls made a good jump out of the gate but got pushed wide on the first turn and was left down in 24th. He pushed early and gained a few positions but on lap three he suddenly came in to the pits due to a loss of power. A stone in the rear brake disc was quickly identified as the problem and once freed he was able to rejoin the race at the back of the field. He pushed hard to the end of the race to finish in 24th place.
EMX250 Race 1
Sterry went too early at the start of race one and as he braked to stop himself hitting the gate he was left at the back as the rest of the field blasted away. Managing to squeeze through inside the top 10 on the first half of the lap he quickly moved through to fifth by the end of the first full lap. He was promoted to fourth as the race entered the last third when Kouwenberg crashed, but then went down himself during the last lap after missing a rut when attempting to make a pass on Hsu for third. Picking himself up, Sterry was left finishing the race in ninth place.
EMX250 Race 2
Making a stronger start in race two, the 18-year old was quickly into fourth behind Hsu. He pushed hard throughout the race but on the one-lined, super-fast circuit, he was struggling to find a way to make a pass. Every time he moved off-line to try, he lost ground and had to claw it back again and then attack for another go. This went on throughout the whole race but without success, and he was forced to settle for fourth, which although not what he wanted, was enough to move him up to third place in the championship.
MXGP Race 1
From his 24th gate pick for race one, Nicholls tried to switch back across the back of the pack off the start but it just didn’t have the desired effect, and he was left towards the back of the field. He pushed hard and moved through to 16th before a small mistake cost him two places. Then in 18th he was still on the gas but was suddenly forced to retire with a mechanical issue.
MXGP Race 2
Nicholls made a better start in race two and was just outside the top twenty. Riding aggressively he soon made a number of early passes. He kept the hammer down every lap of the race and continued to lower his lap times, even posting his fastest lap of the race with just one lap left. His efforts were rewarded with a strong 15th place finish in his first GP back for almost a year.
Commenting after the weekend, Adam Sterry said: “Another frustrating weekend! First race I went too early and was near last into the first turn. With the heavily watered track I got filled in and got water behind my laminates. First few laps I still managed to get through well to fourth, but on the last lap slipped off trying to pass for third. I struggled starting the bike and ended up in ninth.
“In the second race I had a better start and made a couple of passes to get to fourth. After trying most of the race I couldn’t get passed Hsu and came home fourth. I have three rounds left on tracks that suit me better so I’m looking for some strong finishes going forwards.”
Adding, MXGP rider Jake Nicholls said: “It was good to be back at the GP this weekend. I’m still not where I want to be speed wise but I feel I have come on loads since the first practice on Saturday. First race I was going well early on but lost my rhythm a bit mid race then settled down again, but had a freak mechanical issue. In the second race I didn’t get a good start either – I was never going to with 24th gate pick. But, I pushed hard mid to end of the race and came away with 15th, which is OK to start back with. I can work from that and now know I can still do it *laughs*.”
Team Manager, Steve Turner summed up: “It’s been an eventful week to say the least, but there was a good atmosphere inside the team at the weekend and everyone was focussed on getting the job done. It was great to have Jake and Blu (Jakes Fiancé) back under the awning. He did what everyone who knows him expected, which was to give 100% and was rewarded with a second race 15th. People won’t realise that he hasn’t ridden a GP for almost a year, which makes his performance even more impressive. He can build from here and hopefully get the results his hard work and determination deserve.
“Adam struggled to ride with the intensity needed in the first race but was still on for a decent fourth place finish until he dropped it going for third. On Sunday he looked like a different rider and pushed from start to finish but passes were not easy to make, and he had to be content with fourth at the line. He moved back into third in the championship with a 19-point gap, however the tracks coming up should suit him and we’ll be looking for him to start to ride at his full potential and show everyone how good he really is.”