Following a successful outing at the most recent Maxxis British Championship round, the Wilvo Virus Performance KTM team ventured into mainland Europe this past weekend for the ninth fixture on the FIM Motocross World Championship calendar.
After posting lap times that put him comfortably inside of the top ten in both practice sessions, Adam Sterry again showed how much speed he possesses in the qualifying heat. He started fourth and held the spot for three laps, but a small crash cost him a crucial amount of time. Sterry was quick to recover, however, and managed to gain a position on the final lap to acquire the ninth gate pick for the following day.
Shaun Simpson got off to a great start in the MXGP qualifying heat on Saturday, as he put his Wilvo Virus Performance KTM into fourth. Despite being pressured by the reigning world champion, Simpson held his ground until a freak issue with his chain made it impossible for him to continue. After withdrawing so early on, he was given the thirtieth gate pick for the following day.
Adam Sterry again had a good start in the first MX2 moto and made some quick moves to break into the top five in moto one. Like the day before, Sterry looked comfortable whilst fighting with some of the more established names in the class until a string of misfortunate caused him to drop down the order. A crash that resulted in vision issues cost him a chunk of time, but he soldiered on and begun to fight forward from twenty-eighth. Eventually he came up just short of points at the finish in twenty-third.
MXGP Moto One
A poor gate pick put Shaun Simpson in an impossible position at the start of the first of two MXGP encounters and, unfortunately, he was outside of the points at the end of lap one after being tagged by Strijbos’s bike as the Belgian crashed heavily. Simpson put in a remarkable charge on a track that was tough to pass on though, as he sliced his way through to eleventh at the finish. He could have had tenth too, had it not been for a small fall on the final lap that halted his charge.
Sterry had a worse start when the final MX2 race fired into life, as he was in the lower half of the top ten at the end of lap one. Although he lost a spot initially, he picked up the pace at the halfway mark and moved back into ninth. He rode a great race, with consistent lap times throughout and never looked under threat throughout the whole race. His ninth place finish left Sterry in fourteenth overall, when that result was paired with his twenty-third from race one, and he also sits twenty-seventh in the championship, despite missing six of the rounds that have been run thus far.
MXGP Moto Two
Another poor start hindered Simpson in the final moto, but he was quick to move towards the top ten. A mistake caused him to drop back to sixteenth, but he was not done there. He charged for the duration, ran a pace that would have been competitive with those in the top six and eventually stole tenth on the final lap despite crashing again along the way. A consistent scorecard left him in tenth overall on the day, but crucially gave him enough points to move back into seventh in the MXGP standings.
Adam Sterry: “It was a solid weekend! My speed was good throughout and I ran up front for a while. A few mistakes cost me a decent overall after crashing out of fifth in moto one, but I came back with a solid ninth in moto two. My starts were not great all weekend, but I pushed hard through the first half a lap each time and got into decent positions. We have made much more progress in bike set-up and with myself, so I’m nearly back to where I was before I got injured.”
Shaun Simpson: “We came into this weekend with a fair bit of confidence after that win at Hawkstone Park. Yesterday went quite well with fourth in pre-qualifying practice. I got a good gate and was running fourth in the qualifying race, before we had a technical issue with the chain on the third lap. I ended up not being able to finish the qualifying race and we had a really bad gate pick for today.
“I managed to get two decent starts actually, but just made little mistakes myself on the first couple of laps. I came from outside the top twenty right up to eleventh in the first race and caught Tommy [Searle], but made a mistake and had a little slip on the last lap. In the second race I managed to avoid any initial carnage on the first lap, but stalled it at the end of the second lap. I actually crashed again after getting myself into twelfth or thirteenth, so had all of the same guys to pass again. The positives from both races were that my speed was really good, as were my fitness and bike set-up.”
Team Manager, Steve Turner: “ there’s a lot of positives to take out of the weekend; Shaun had some misfortune in the qualifying race with a freak chain issue which meant he had a rubbish gate pick for the races but he looked really strong and set some fantastic lap times, even coming through the field. For me, even though only a tenth and an eleventh, these were his best two performances of the season on a track that’s notoriously hard to pass on. Adam also rode really well, he was aggressive round the first couple of turns in the qualifying race and the main races and got himself into good positions but mistakes cost him dear, however he rode the second race mistake free and got a great result, setting fast, consistent lap times throughout.”