Following a small break in the calendar, the Wilvo Virus Performance KTM team returned to the domestic scene last weekend for the penultimate British Championship round. Adam Sterry returned to racing at the event after sustaining severe burns at the beginning of the month.
Shaun Simpson acquired a good gate pick in MX1 after ending the qualifying session in second.
Sterry had only spent one short session on a bike in recent weeks but when he went out in qualifying he reminded everyone why he is one of the favourites to clinch the MX2 title. He recorded a time that was seven-tenths faster than anyone else and unsurprisingly, more than enough for him to take pole position.
Simpson had a good start in the first of two MX1 encounters and was in a position to challenge for the lead almost immediately. Although Simpson faced tough opposition from Jake Nicholls, he eventually prevailed following an impressive pass around the outside. He then established a comfortable advantage and maintained it through the final part of the race, eventually crossing the line four seconds ahead of Nicholls with the Championship leader, Searle a long way back in third.
A poor start saw Simpson on the back foot in moto two, as his title rival was running away at the head of the field. Simpson wasted no time at all though and disposed of riders with ease in the first two laps to move into the runner-up spot. Simpson then ran down Tommy Searle and after trying some unique lines, he burst into the lead. He held that spot until the end to take his second moto victory of the day and the overall win.
“I shot out of the trap in the first one, behind Jake [Nicholls] and blew through 21 tear-offs within four or five laps,” explained Simpson. “I managed to wipe the lens clean and make a pass on Jake, so won that one quite convincingly. In the second moto, I totally fluffed the start but managed to hunt down Tommy [Searle] through the first couple of laps.
“Once I was behind Tommy I felt I had the measure of him, so managed to make the pass and rode good enough to take the win.
“I felt solid and back to where I need to be. I came here to do a job, got it done and took two moto wins.”
Simpson also managed to cut the deficit that he faces in the series standings with 50 points still up for grabs at Foxhill. “It is down to eight for the final round,” added Simpson, “but I’m pretty confident that I can go to Foxhill and get another two moto wins.”
It seemed as though the first moto would be a difficult one for Sterry, as he started in the lower half of the top 10 while his main rival for the title, Steven Clarke sprinted away at the front.
Sterry was not to be deterred, however, as he charged forward at an incredible pace, took the lead at the halfway mark and never looked back. Eleven seconds was his advantage at the end of the 25-minute moto and he also had the fastest lap time – a second and a half quicker than anyone else on the track. With Clarke finishing in second, Sterry’s championship deficit was now down to just four points with the second race still to come.
Sterry took advantage of a good start in the final MX2 race of the day and ran a pace that no one in the class could match. An early mistake left him on the floor and after he remounted he rejoined proceedings in sixth. He made a succession of passes to put himself back in command again and continued his dominance to record his second victory of the day ahead of Martin Barr, with Clarke in third. The two race victories gave Sterry his fourth consecutive overall win and also enough points to take the series lead. With just one round remaining, he leads Clarke by just a single point in the MX2 standings.
“I only rode once before today, but I was going to try and ride no matter what,” said Sterry. “It was a tough day actually and not as easy as I planned, with a crash in the second race and not the best start in the first race.
“I had two weeks with no riding but came here, showed great mental strength and got two moto wins as well as the red plate for the first time!”
Team Manager, Steve Turner, commented: “Shaun and Adam did a fantastic job today. They both rode really well, especially Adam after not being able to ride for the last three weeks following his injury at Lommel. It sets it up nicely for a barnstorming finale at Foxhill.”