After an absence of 10 years the British Supermoto Championship made a return to the completely re-vamped and re-styled Anglesey circuit, in what must be one of the most beautiful settings for a race circuit anywhere. Nestled betwixt sea and mountain and only 3 miles from the pretty holiday destination of Rhosneigr the huge investment in facilities has created a race track complex that could host any type of event on the racing calendar and the enthusiasm of the circuit staff and owners to make competitors feel welcome was refreshing. This is certainly a venue that deserves to succeed. For the Supermoto riders an undulating fast and flowing all tarmac track had been created that was designed to run both clock wise and counter clock wise over the weekend.
Race Day 1 – Michelin Championship
A topsy-turvy start to the season with front runners being absent for different rounds has added real spice to the championship with a different look to the leader board. After his absence in America Chris Hodgson was looking to get back on track with his UK campaign, Davey Todd who dominated round two was absent on World Superbike duties and sadly Jay Smith was out of action with the re-occurrence of a long-term illness. Good news for the championship was that Matt Winstanley had rectified his machine problems and was back raring to go but all of the top riders were now casting a wary eye over Jordan Bannon who has been the real form man of the early part of the season. After qualifying it was the usual suspects at the top of the tree with Hodgson (LSP KTM) on pole just 1/10th of a second ahead of Matt Winstanley, Jordan Bannon proved the leaders were right to be wary of him getting third place and being the only other rider to be within one second of the two multiple champions. Bannon was certainly benefitting from being under the same roof as Winstanley in the Manchester M/c’s/DCR Husqvarna team. Richard Sharp got his MWR Husqvarna into 4th place to complete the front row, edging out Hodgson’s young LSP KTM team mate Charlie Light into fifth.
Race 1: Hodgson got the holeshot but was chased Winstanley and Bannon, the three riders looked like they were linked with a piece of rope as lap after lap they circulated the fast undulating course in wheel to wheel formation, as the laps ticked off the spectators were wondering if one of the two chasers had a little in reserve. However, it proved not to be the case as all three were absolutely on the limit, with Hodgson and Bannon being the first riders to break the 52 second mark on the very last lap with the latter setting the new lap record 51.945, however even this meant he couldn’t quite pass Winstanley who followed Hodgson over the line. A further 12 seconds back Richard Sharp had an uneventful race for fourth but Tim Johnson had a great battle with Charlie Light to put his Husqvarna into fifth place.
Race 2: In a similar fashion to race one the three musketeers at the top of the order got away from the pack early in the race but Bannon was in determined mood and forced his way past Winstanley under braking into the hairpin. He then put intense pressure on Hodgson for lap after lap, Winstanley was holding a watching brief and should any slip be made by the front two he would pounce. Hodgson has not won multiple British titles for nothing and he can certainly handle the pressure and he did yet again to cross the line on the back wheel but only one tenth of a second ahead of the excellent Bannon, who again set the lap record on the last lap. Following 10 seconds behind Winstanley was Charlie Light in fourth getting the better of Richard Sharp after a race long tussle.
Race 3: The weather forecast had been proved wrong earlier in the day with the expected thunderstorms staying away from the area, however as the afternoon wore on the weather deteriorated and a fine mizzle (the local name for drizzle and mist combined) appeared. The race got underway with all riders on slicks and this time Winstanley got the holeshot and led Hodgson, Bannon got a little tangled up in the first corner melee and this proved decisive as he couldn’t quite bridge the gap to the front two, he was possibly hampered by the conditions as the wet mist hitting the riders goggles probably persuaded some that it was wetter than actual was. This proved no hindrance to the front two however as they slowly gapped Bannon. Hodgson couldn’t get pas Winstanley though and the Wigan rider took the win but Hodgson set a new lap record for the anti-clockwise track in an amazing 51.529
Overall; It was Hodgson from Winstanley with Jordan Bannon taking the final podium. Charlie Light was an excellent fourth, Richard Sharp fifth and Tim Johnson sixth.
NPS G.I.A.G. Novice Cup
Another strong group of Novice riders made their way to Anglesey and series leader Andy Hall extended his championship lead with three wins from three. Yorkshireman Steven Norman took second with three seconds and solicitor Keith Edwards was third.
Academy Class/Mini Bikes
In the combined Academy and mini bike class, Jamie Stables was again untouchable with three wins from three and 10 year Casey Jones took three wins from three on his KTM 85 in the Academy class. The highlight of the racing was the race long battles between the six foot plus Ste Gallimore on his RM85 and the four foot young tyro on his mini bike. Casey was followed home by two sons of current adult riders Harley Sharp (Husqvarna 85) and Ben Bayfield (KTM 85).
Race Day 2 – The British Supermoto Championship
For Race Day two the grey overcast morning gave way to wonderful bright and sunny weather, allowing everyone to see the natural beauty surrounding the circuit. The track was reversed giving competitors a whole new challenge as the uphill and downhill sections now gave a new dynamic to the flowing course.
Several new riders turned up for Race Day 2, notably Scottish Elite rider Scott Murray who had been absent due to a family bereavement for Race Day 1. The new direction was certainly faster as Chris Hodgson set a pole position time of 50.793 almost 8/10th of a second quicker than Winstanley. Charlie Light obviously took a shine to the new direction and was third fastest. Jordan Bannon took fourth with Richard Blakeman looking better suited than the previous day in fifth.
Race 1: This was probably the most exciting race of the whole weekend with action a plenty, Hodgson hit the front and set off like a scalded cat, Initially it looked like Winstanley was going to be the threat but Bannon was riding like a man possessed and passed Winstanley on lap two. Hodgson then made a rare mistake and crashed on the fast left hander, quickly back up and re-mounting he joined the pack in 14th place and set about catching the leaders. Bannon pushed on at the front with Winstanley second. Scott Murray was certainly making up for the previous days missed riding and pushed Winstanley on the brakes relegating him to third and now young Charlie Light was getting in on the act, showing no respect for reputation he pushed past the Wigan veteran to move into third. Youthful exuberance got the better of the Wiltshire youngster and he made a mistake coming out of the hairpin and slipped off his bike, unfortunately and with no real blame his error also caught Winstanley with nowhere to go and he too went down. Hodgson must have been one mighty relieved rider as saw this and put his head down to battle through the field to get 4th place and the lap record for this direction. At the front Bannon and Murray were locked in a titanic tussle but the young Merseysider hung on to win by 3/10ths from the Perthshire rider on his TM. Richard Blakeman made the most of the chaos to finish a fantastic third. Richard Sharp was fifth with Dean Hillier sixth.
Race 2: Murray got the holeshot but was soon deposed by Chris Hodgson who had the bit between his teeth and again put the hammer down, Winstanley dealt with Bannon then Murray to join Hodgson out in front, the old friends and adversaries soon resumed their interpretation of synchronised Supermoto with Winstanley tailing Hodgson for the next 12 laps, as the pair circulated at lap record pace it would need a mistake to allow a pass and Hodgson didn’t make one hitting the flag just 1/10th ahead of Winstanley effectively a photo finish. Scott Murray was a further 3 seconds behind well ahead of a slightly subdued Bannon after his race 1 heroics. There was a tremendous six rider battle for the minor places which was won by Charlie Light to come in fifth ahead of Richard Blakeman.
Race 3: With Bannon having a win and a fourth and Hodgson a win and a fourth race three would be the decider. Winstanley and Murray would both feel they had a chance at the overall as well. Winstanley got the holeshot and led for lap one but Hodgson edged past to take the lead with Bannon just behind, then in high speed cat and mouse Winstanley and Bannon shadowed Hodgson. However, for Bannon disaster struck on lap 10 with smoke pouring from the back of his bike he was black flagged. Winstanley had passed Hodgson on lap 9 but could only hold the lead for one lap before the Cumbrian was back in front, which he held to the flag to record another win by the narrowest of margins. Bannon hads to be content with the slight satisfaction that he had set the fastest lap on the opening lap. Scott Murray came home a comfortable third ahead of Charlie Light in fourth. Richard Sharp got the better of a race long tussle with Richard Blakeman who was under pressure from a Storm Stacey taking a break from BSB Motostar duties.
Overall: After a truly fantastic days racing on a spectacular track Chris Hodgson took the overall win from the excellent Scott Murray who bagged the rider of the day award. Matt Winstanley was unlucky not to get the overall with the first race crash that was not his fault. Richard Blakeman got the rewards for not giving up in fourth place ahead of his rival Richard Sharp, Charlie Light was an impressive sixth.
Results Day One
Michelin Championship 1st Chris Hodgson (KTM) 102pts – 2nd Matt Winstanley (Husqvarna) 97pts – 3rd Jordan Bannon (Husqvarna) 92pts – 4th Charlie Light (KTM) 81pts – 5th Richard Sharp (Husqvarna) 80 pts – 6th Tim Johnson (Husqvarna) 75pts – 7th Dean Hillier (Husqvarna) 73pts – 8th Oliver Kemp (TM) 67pts – 9th Gareth Thomas (Husqvarna) 64pts -10th Bradley Hardy (Husqvarna) 64pts
Evo Cup 1st Daryl McCall (KTM) 35pts – 2nd Tim Oliver (KTM) 32pts – 3rd Steve Coombs (Husaberg) 30pts – 4th Geoff Bullen (Husqvarna) 28pts – 5th Justin Bullen (Aprilia) 26pts
GIAG Novice Cup 1st Andy Hall (Husqvarna) 105pts – 2nd Steven Norman (Kawasaki) 96pts – 3rd Keith Edwards (Honda) 86pts – 4th James Taylor (KTM) 84pts – 5th Richard Perrin (KTM) 79pts
Mini Bikes 1st Jamie Stables (CRF) 105pts – 2nd Ste Gallimore (Open) 92 pts – 3rd Anne Savage (Stock) 70pts – 4th Murray Smoker (Open) 84pts – 5th Gary Pigney (Stock) 78pts
Academy Class 1st Casey Jones (KTM 85) 35pts – Harley Sharp (Husq 85) 32pts – 3rd Ben Bayfield (KTM 85) 30 pts – 4th Lewis Hardy (KTM 85) 28pts – 5th Oliver Keam (KTM 85) 26pts
Results Day Two
The British Supermoto Championship 1st Chris Hodgson (Husqvarna) 144pts – 2nd Scott Murray (TM) 140pts – 3rd Matt Winstanley (Husqvarna) 130pts – 4th Richard Blakeman (Husqvarna) 126pts – 5th Richard Sharp (Husqvarna) 122pts – 6th Charlie Light (KTM) 118pts – 7th Andy Mitchell (Husqvarna) 105pts – 8th Tim Johnson (Husqvarna) 103pts – 9th Storm Stacey (Honda) 101pts – 10th Jordan Bannon (Husqvarna) 94pts
Clubman Cup 1st Ross Mailer (TM) 61pts – 2nd James Wood (Husqvarna) 60pts – 3rd Ben Johnson (Husqvarna) 55pts – 4th Michael Hosey (KTM) 51pts – 5th Hein Basson (KTM) 48pts
Novice Cup 1st Mitchell Bullen (KTM) 35pts – 2nd Tom Laycock (KTM) 32pts – 3rd David Beadling (Honda) 24pts – 4th Andy Hall (Husqvarna) 20pts – 5th Joel Todd (KTM) 14pts
Over 45 1st Andy Mitchell (Husqvarna) 105 pts – 2nd Darren Lee (KTM) 83pts – 3rd Andre Craddock (TM) 76pts – 4th Michael Hosey (KTM) 51pts – 5th Andy Hall (Husqvarna) 20pts
Best Two Stroke 1st Tom Laycock (KTM) – 2nd Joel Todd (KTM) – 3rd Blaine Pearson (Husqvarna) – 4th Tim Oliver (KTM)
Text: Jaki Bradley / Norasport.co.uk
Photography by Styleimage.co.uk