The fifth round of the Maxxis British Championship was held at Foxhill and the notoriously hard-pack and hilly Wiltshire circuit provided a great day’s racing. Steven Clarke qualified fourth and with a seventh, second and sixth scorecard he clinched fifth overall on the day.
DBR: Your previous results at Foxhill show how much the track agrees with you. How did you feel the track suited you this weekend?
Steven Clarke: “It was tough this weekend. They were obviously expecting a lot of rain so they had left it dry. We had the track dry for qualification but loads of water was put down for the first race and it was a mudfest. Unsurprisingly we were racing in dust by the last race and it was rock hard – that’s Foxhill for you!”
DBR: You qualified fourth with just .005 of a second separating yourself, Trickett and MacKenzie. How do you feel qualification went?
SC: “Yeah, I was happy with fourth. I didn’t get my full first hot lap in as I ended up making a few mistakes. Apart from anything, I had managed to set myself up with a really decent gate pick going into the first race.”
DBR: Can you briefly talk us through each race?
SC: “I rounded the first corner in the top five. I made a little mistake on the exit and almost slid out. I ended up dropping back to 1oth – I was lucky to have stayed on! I managed some good passes and worked my way back up into seventh by the finish. My rear mudguard actually snapped because of the weight of the mud! It was really annoying as it kept flapping over and hitting me!”
SC: “I feel I rode well in the second race. I had a cracking start and managed to get the holeshot – even though there was a little confusion on the start line! I knuckled down and tried to keep smooth and not make too many mistakes. I was well aware Lenoir and Anstie were close behind. Lenoir made a dive for the lead (2.37 in footage), but I managed to square him off and stay ahead.
I managed to keep Anstie at bay and tried to keep the gap consistent throughout the race. I made a couple of mistakes with about five laps to go and he closed right up on me. It was very frustrating that there were only two laps to go when Anstie managed to make the move. I made sure to keep with him and try to keep some pressure on him.”
SC: “I didn’t have the best of starts in race three. I ended up sliding really far to the outside of the corner and ended up exiting in about ninth place (4.50 in footage). I found the first few laps tough because it was quite dusty, but I was happy to have made some good passes to close in on Bryan [MacKenzie] in fifth.”
DBR: The second race was incredible between you and Max [Anstie]. What was your plan of action as the race progressed?
SC: “I tried to ride my own race and I didn’t want to think about him! I know it’s easy to start making mistakes if you think about who’s behind you. He didn’t start closing until there were around five laps to go. I don’t know if he had been biding his time and studying my lines?”
DBR: You’re currently sitting sixth in the championship standings, which is improved from the 10th and eighth you had in the 2013 and 2014 seasons. Are there any areas where you currently feel stronger than in previous years?
SC: “After a real struggle last year I feel I came into this season well prepared having done quite a bit more bike testing. It’s meant that I have a better setup than in previous years and I feel much more comfortable on the bike as a consequence.”
DBR: The penultimate round of the Maxxis championship is at Preston Docks on September 6. Do you have any plans between now and then/ any areas on the bike setup you’ll be working on?
SC: “I’m not going to change a thing! I’ll be trying to stay healthy, keep on top of my training and make sure I get plenty of bike time in the sand because the final two rounds are both in the soft stuff!”
DBR: Thanks for that Steven. Look forward to catching up at Preston Docks.