9 June 2015
British Motocross Championship Round 4
Shaun Simpson's hopes for the perfect season are dashed but the Bullet kills the opposition
Shaun Simpson's unbeaten run at the top of British motocross came top an abrupt halt on the red sand at Hawkstone on Sunday as his GP nemesis Steven Frossard finally found his former speed. Simpson has been on fire this year, recording a straight run of victories since the drama filled opener in Hilton Park.
But in Hawkstone, Frossard was back and on the pace. The French rider came to Steve Turner's Wilvo Forkrent team after a triumphant ride at the Motocross of Nations as part of the winning French team, not to mention being number five in the world championship at the end of the season. But after his crash in the very first race of the Maxxis championship, Frossard has been a shadow of his former self, never quite finding his form in either the domestic or world championship.
Finally the French rider looked a contender rather than an also-ran
That all changed as Frossard, now swapped to a 450 rather than the 350 suddenly returned to the form he was signed for. From the first moto, the French rider had all the speed to challenge red plate holder Shaun Simpson. Simpson won the first, but a crash in the second left the MX1 champion with too much to catch up in the second race. Frossard took the win and Simpson's unbeaten streak was gone. He would rally in the final race, but Frossard pushed him for most of the 20 minute plus 2 moto, before Simpson pulled away in the final laps. Simpson took the overall, with Frossard on the second step.
Ryan Houghton holeshots race 2 at Hawkstone
Martin Barr (50) and Gert Krestinov duelled all day but it was the Honda rider than ended up ahead
Down boy! Alex Snow (31) gets too much grip as Simpson (1), Frossard (183) and Leok (40) are on the gas
Behind them a raft of riders were having a far better day, from the speed of Martin Barr to the return to form from Tanel Leok, now recovered from his virus and ankle injury. Gert Krestinov and Graeme Irwin were on the pace too, even if Irwin's personal cloud of bad luck hit again in the first race to deprive him of a third place finish. Most improved rider seemed to be Ryan Houghton who was riding like a man possessed from the qualifying race, taking his best points haul of the series for a sixth overall.
Max Anstie (99) gets the drop but Jeffrey Herlings (84) was never far away
In MX2, the arrival of a certain two-time world champion as a wild-card ride was only going to have one end result. Jeffrey Herlings took advantage of a free weekend to bring the KTM sprinter over to Hawkstone for a bit of race training and wax on his A game all day. It's a refreshing approach for the once-reviled Dutch rider to return his racing to it's most basic roots - a rider, a van and a bike driving to a circuit to race at the weekend. OK it's a factory bike but Herlings kept it real with no attitude, plenty of time for fans and slotting into the championship like a regular rider - good work fella.
The Bullet went three for three in the summer sun and was super-stylish all day
When it came to the racing, it was all about Herlings and Max Anstie who duelled at the front in all three motos with Max coming second fiddle to the blisteringly fast Herlings each time. Behind them a succession of riders from Steve Lenoir to Bryan Mackenzie and Steven Clarke were trying for the third step, but it was Lenoir who got the spot through his usual consistency. Herlings' EMX250 team-mate Davy Pootjes had also made the trip across to race on the red sand, and although he DNF'd the first race, had good speed in the final two for eighth overall. Former race winners and series front-runner Ben Watson and Adam Sterry had so-so days, taking fourth and fifth in a meeting that was not their finest hour. Watson has slipped to third in the championship behind Lenoir and Anstie, with Sterry two place back behind Bryan Mackenzie.
Steve Lenoir kept the red plate, but Anstie is gaining fast
Bryan Mackenzie continues to put in strong results in the MX2 class
Max Anstie was fast, but not fast enough to catch Herlings
Adam Sterry may be doing well in EMX250, but he's losing ground in the British championship
Click on relevant pic to enlarge
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