The fourth round of the Maxxis British Championship was held at Blaxhall, which promised to be an exciting start to the second-half of the season with seriously intense racing. Steven Clarke qualified ninth and evidenced his current fine form with a third, fifth, and third scorecard to finish third overall, narrowly missing out on second placed Lenoir. Check out the interview and exclusive go-pro footage here!
DBR: What is your opinion on the Blaxhall circuit?
Steven Clarke: “The track was good! I thought it was really nice for practice, although the rain at the start of the second race made the track quite slick. Once it had dried up, the moisture made the track perfect and helped to create some good lines out there.”
DBR: You had a cracking result last weekend for the EMX250 in Germany. Did you feel you could transfer anything into this weekend?
SC: “I always try to approach each race with the same mentality and be confident in myself. I’m a hard-pack rider and so felt the track in Germany suited me down to the ground- more so than Blaxhall! The conditions were completely different at Blaxhall, but I had cracking starts and they really helped me to get such a good result.”
DBR: You qualified ninth. Were you happy with that?
SC: “Qualifying was a nightmare! I actually only had one qualifying lap- and it was my first lap! Half way through my second fast lap I ended up jumping off the track and got the rear wheel tangled in tape. I lost the rear brake and by the time we had untangled the rear wheel, qualifying was over. Just as well I had the one lap in!”
DBR: Can you briefly talk us through each race?
SC: “Race one started perfectly. I had an amazing start and secured the holeshot- I was passed by Lenoir later on in the first lap (3:45 in the footage). I had to face off quite a bit of pressure from Sterry and Mackenzie but managed to hold onto third place. Lenoir and Anstie really were on a different level to everyone else though.”
SC: “I didn’t get such a good start in the second race as I entered the first corner around eighth. Although I struggled with lines, I managed to make some quick passes to finish the race in fifth. It rained during the first couple of laps, which made the track ride slick- I actually had a little water in my goggles too which didn’t help!”
SC: “I had another perfect start and secured my second holeshot of the day! Again, I led for a lap before Anstie made a pass for the lead (9.23 in the footage). I felt that I made a few small mistakes which opened the door for Watson and Sterry- they started to pull away too. I knuckled down, perfected my lines and managed to catch them back up. I put the pressure on Sterry and he ended up crashing! I had to swerve two ways in order to avoid him and his bike. It was great to cross the line in third place.”
DBR: After having such a solid round, has it changed your expectations on what you think you can achieve in the championship this year?
SC: “Personally I’ve been confident of what I’m capable of from round one. Sadly the unfortunate circumstances at the beginning of the season meant that my progress and results were halted. I really do feel that I’ve found my feet and everything is coming back together. I’m really excited for the next round as Foxhill is my favourite track in Britain. I know I didn’t quite have the pace this weekend to stick with Lenoir and Anstie. I’m looking forward to getting on a hard-pack track and hopefully challenging them!”
DBR: The next round of the championship is at Foxhill on the July 19. It’ll be the first hard-pack track of this year’s British championship! You also have the next EMX250 round in Sweden on the July 5. What will your plans and focus be over the coming weeks?
SC: “My priority is to try and maintain my momentum. Unfortunately, I won’t be going to Sweden as we’re low on budget due to the bike thefts earlier in the year. We’ve used our budget to get back on track with new MX2 bikes and parts. It’s frustrating as I’m only one point off Östlund (Alvin), who’s fifth in the championship, however we’ve decided to prioritise my campaign in the British Championship instead.”
DBR: We’re sorry to hear that Steven; however, it’s great to see you on such fine form at the minute. We wish you all the best and look forward to catching up at the next round at Foxhill.