RACE REPORT: Simpson & Barr win the battle, Searle & Sterry win the war!
20 September 2016Go Back FOXHILL (Swindon), 19 September 2016 – And that’s a wrap! The 2016 Maxxis ACU British Motocross Championship series went out with a bang yesterday at the famed Foxhill Motor Park where yet another eventful and drama-packed day of racing resulted in Wilvo Virus Performance KTM’s Shaun Simpson and Buildbase Honda’s Martin Barr taking the ‘W’ in their respective classes on the day, while eight rounds of gripping action finally rewarded Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki’s Tommy Searle and Wilvo Virus Performance KTM’s Adam Sterry claimed their first ever British Championship titles.
After topping the table in Qualifying, Buildbase Honda’s Graeme Irwin made it apparent he meant business this weekend when he added yet another holeshot to his impressive holeshot tally. Wilvo Virus Performance KTM’s Shaun Simpson was third around turn one but didn’t waste any time in passing James Harrison, who had a blinding start on his Cab Screens LiuGong Husqvarna.
As for the red plate holder, Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki’s Tommy Searle had moved up from sixth to third by the end of lap two and had the front runners, Irwin and Simpson in sight. On lap three, Searle set the fastest lap of the race as Simpson forced the issue on Irwin by launching down one the iconic hills to go inside at the bottom and take the lead.
While Simpson tried to pull clear, Searle hooked a gear, caught Irwin, and started giving the Honda rider grief. After showing him a wheel on a number of occasions, he finally got the job done in the same place Simpson did.
With clear track ahead, it was interesting to see what Searle’s response would be. Would he go crazy and try and get Simpson for the win, or would he chill and sit second knowing that two-second place finishes today would be enough for the title?
Behind the top three, Phoenix Tools Honda’s Gert Krestinov and MVR-D Fuel 10K Husqvarna’s Tanel Leok were tied in a race long battle of Estonian pride as they faced off for fourth. With three laps to go Leok managed to crack his fellow countryman and gapped it for fourth. Krestinov took his second top five finish of the year in fifth.
THE GRAND FINALE: Only five points separated the main protagonists in MX1, Searle and Simpson heading in. Searle knew he had to get a good start, which he did with a sizzling holeshot before having water thrown on his fire by his number one rival, Simpson, as he put the squeeze on him heading into turn two.
With no time to waste Simpson was in full animal mode and put in a series of hot laps in effort to distance himself from Searle, although that proved difficult. Searle’s Team Owner/Manager Steve Dixon had kindly beat it into his brains that he needed to finish inside the top three, but if relaxing back in second was on his mind, Leok, had other ideas.
There were a lot of nervous faces and sweaty palms over in the pit boxes as Simpson led with Searle sitting second and Leok keeping them on their toes. It wasn’t till the checkered flag went out that everyone could actually take a breath, and when it did it went to Simpson over Searle, Leok, Irwin and the rookie riding for Dyer & Butler KTM Steven Lenoir.
Wilvo Virus Performance KTM’s Shaun Simpson did all he could do yesterday, like he said, “all I could do was go out and win the two races and the rest was up to Tommy.” Simmo won both races for his third round win of the season, but had to relinquish the Maxxis ACU British Motocross Championship crown with Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki’s Tommy Searle clinching it by a minute 2 points.
Searle lost the battle with his 2-2 for second on the day, but he did what he needed to do to win the war. Now he can finally add some gold to the cabinet that is filled with ‘silver’-ware.
Buildbase Honda’s Graeme Irwin was on form yesterday and landed on the box for second time this season. He also finished fourth in the overall standings behind Hitachi Revo Husqvarna’s Jake Nicholls who had an outstanding season of five podium finishes for third.
Wilvo Virus Performance KTM’s Adam Sterry had the weight of the world on his shoulders heading into race 1 as he carried the red plate with a minute 1-point lead over Apico Husqvarna’s Steven Clarke. He knew he had work to do, as a rider that is not the biggest fan of clay tracks, and started putting in hot laps right off the bat after passing the kid who ripped the ‘holey’, Evo Tech KTM’s Jordan Divall.
As a man on a mission, Sterry already had a 5 second lead over Apico Husqvarna’s Bryan MacKenzie, who had found a way by Divall before the end of lap one.
Meanwhile, on lap two, smiles soon lessened in the Apico Husqvarna pits as their number one championship contender, Clarke, threw his hands up in the air in frustration as his bike limped powerlessly to the pit area with an electrical issue.
Buildbase Honda’s Martin Barr was buried off of the start but soon found his flow as he demoralized a bunch of riders on his way to third before scrubbing a series of table tops to pass Bry-Mac for second on lap four.
While the first few laps were emotionally charged with Sterry gapping it, Clarke retiring from the race, and Barr hauling butt, it soon settled down and finished in the order of Sterry taking a vital win over Barr and MacKenzie. Meanwhile, Divall and MNE Floortrak KTM’s Luke Norris bashed bars to the flag for fourth and fifth.
Following the final gate drop of the season Verde Sports Racing’s Jake Millward pulled the holeshot ahead of the two Apico Husqvarna riders Clarke and MacKenzie, who were playing for keeps in that race since Clarke had dropped back to third in the championship after ‘DNF’ing’ race one, and trailed his teammate ‘The Old Timer’, MacKenzie, by 2 points.
Anybody who knows Clarkey, would have known that he wasn’t going to race for anything less than a win, just to prove a point. So it came as no surprise to see him hit the boost button after he took the lead heading into the second corner.
While Clarke wasted no time in airing out a lead, his teammate, MacKenzie, fell into the clutches of Martin Barr. Barr was absolutely hauling, once again. He started miles back, but just as he did in race one, passed everyone like they were standing still before railing around the outside of Brymac and launching past him down the hill, just as Simpson did to Irwin in MX1 race one.
Another rider, who was riding like a man on fire as he charged from outside the top five and put a super sick pass on MacKenzie by out-braking him for third, was Luke Norris. Up until yesterday Norris hadn’t even nailed a top-ten, let alone a top five, or a top three, but became an overnight ‘top five guy’ with his fifth place finish in race one and an impressive third in race two. He also set the fastest lap of the race as well. Put your hand up if you think he deserves the hard-charger award **all hands go up**.
Clarke rode it home for his fourth race win of the season, while Barr finished second again which was enough for his second overall victory of the season. Norris was third ahead of MacKenzie and the holeshotter, Millward. As for Sterry, he had a ‘mare after getting off to a shocking start and having a yard sale on the hair-pin before the triple down. Nevertheless he managed to charge back through the pack for seventh which was enough to see him claim his first ever British motocross title.
At the end of the day, Buildbase Honda’s Martin Barr took the final win of the season ahead of Wilvo Virus Performance KTM’s Adam Sterry and Apico Husqvarna’s Bryan MacKenzie.
As for the championship, Wilvo Virus Performance KTM’s Adam Sterry started his season 32 points down after missing the opening round of the season due to a broken arm. The KTM ace made his return at round two where a lack of racing let him down, and he finished seventh before showing Great Britain what champions are made of, and landing on the podium at every round after that with four round wins and two second place finishes, to be crowned the 2016 Maxxis ACU British Motocross MX2 Champion.
Apico Husqvarna’s Steven Clarke also had his fair share of drama. With technical issues putting him out of two races this season, like Adam, Clarkey lost a round of racing as well. Nevertheless, when things were going good, they were going great and he won one round and four races on his way to second overall in the championship.
This year was the curtain call for Apico Husqvarna’s Bryan MacKenzie, who despite his ripe age of 31-years, has decided to call it day on his professional motocross career and will be channeling his energy into other things, such as being a daddy. As one of the oldest dudes in the class, Bry-Mac was pumped he could still foot it with the spring chickens, and proved how much he deserved the bronze medal with his five podium appearances this season.
Holeshot Motocross’ James Carpenter, the championship leader, didn’t need to do anything special yesterday since he went into the day with a 32 point lead over P& H Motorcycles’ Michael Ellis, but he made it clear he was not resting on his laurels with a sweet holeshot in race one. On the flipside, Ellis had everything to race for since he only had a 3-point cushion on RFX KTM’s Henry Williams heading in.
It seemed like Ellis woke up on the right side of the bed and things just seemed to click. He went pole with a killer time in Qualifying, and didn’t waste any time in moving from sixth to second on the opening lap of race one. After chipping away at Carpenter for 18 minutes, Ellis finally sensed an opportunity to pass and made it happen with ease.
Apico Husqvarna’s Alexander Brown was not looking like his usual self; he was second place at the start of race one before being knocked back to third by Ellis. Stranger things have happened, and that was apparent when he fell back to fourth after being passed by Team Green Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Dylan Woodcock. With three laps to go, the rider who has won seven races this season started hobbling around the track while grasping his knee. He eventually fell back to eighteenth.
Meanwhile, Ellis took his second race win of the season ahead of Carpenter who did enough to wrap up the championship with one race to go. Woodcock had a convincing ride for third ahead of Williams and Husqvarna UK’s Dexter Douglas.
In the final race of the season Carpenter got off to another blistering start ahead of Douglas and Woodcock. Woodcock wasted no time in passing Douglas for second before going after the champ, Carpenter. Before the end of lap one, Ellis had charged through the pack and crossed the line on the first lap in fifth, hot on the heels of his biggest threat to the silver medal, Williams, before the race was red flagged.
Following the incident, the riders were directed back to the start line for a restart. Instead of the usual restarting technique where they have to line up behind the gate, a new staggered start technique was introduced where the riders were lined up, single file, in the order they crossed the finish line on lap one.
Carpenter led everyone back out on the track with Woodcock on his tail, followed by Douglas, Brown, and Ellis.
Carpenter and Woodcock broke away immediately and had a fierce battle for the lead. There was also a mental race going on for third between Douglas, Brown and Ellis, and on the second lap of the restarted race, both Brown and Ellis shot past Douglas.
Woodcock had definitely unleashed the beast for the final race of the season and relentlessly hounded Carpenter right to the flag.
Brown dropped way back in Race One after he tweaked his ankle in a rut, but made a quick recovery and lined up for Race Two where he rode to a solid third place ahead of Ellis and Williams.
Holeshot Motocross’ James Carpenter, the 2016 MXY2 Champion, put the cherry on top of his season by winning the round at Foxhill ahead of P& H Motorcycles’ Michael Ellis who was second on the day and managed to wrap up second overall for the year ahead of RFX KTM’s Henry Williams. Speaking of Williams, he was demoted to fourth on the day with Team Green Monster Energy Kawasaki’s young gun Dylan Woodcock putting in a noteworthy performance for his second podium appearance of the season, with third.