Three Sisters Wigan, 17-07-2016. After visiting Scotland and Wales in the previous two rounds the British Supermoto Championship made its second appearance of the season at its spiritual home, Three Sisters Wigan. The largest entry of the year so far shows just how popular this venue is for Supermoto racing and over 40 Novice riders entered the entry-level class. Riders from all parts of the UK turned up with a strong Scottish contingent as well as entrants from the Isle of Wight.
After bad weather having followed nearly every round this year it was nice to see the forecast getting better than predicted and after early morning drizzle qualifying started on a quickly drying track and no further rain fell throughout the day
Michelin Premier Cup
Qualifying made for a tricky tyre choice with the track drying fast but still with many damp patches in evidence especially on the off road section, some riders played it safe with a wet front whilst others went full slicks. Husqvarna bikes dominated qualifying with the first 7 places being filled by the Yellow, White & Blue machines. Chris Hodgson headed the field by 3/10ths from his teammate Jay Smith, Davey Todd taking a break from BSB was third and Jordan Bannon 4th. Only 1 second separated the first 4 places, local hero Matt Winstanley was uncharacteristically slightly off the pace at his local circuit in fifth.
Race One Jordan Bannon got a great start to get the hole shot but on lap two jay Smith muscled past, however the Londoner could only hold the lead for a lap himself before Hodgson eased into the lead and gradually pulled away, Smith kept him honest but couldn’t get close enough to really pressurise. The real interest was the battle for 3rd with Jordan Bannon hanging on grimly with Davey Todd and Matt Winstanley both breathing down his neck, on lap 12 Todd got past on the table top and on the final lap Winstanley also made his move at the same place.
Race Two Smith made some changes to his suspension set up to try to get better feel round the fast Lunar section and this definitely seemed to help as he hit the lead in turn one, Hodgson stuck to his rear wheel like glue and as so often this year the two SJP riders rode round as though connected by wires, however Hodgson just seems to have the edge on Smith and with two laps to go he slipped by at the end of the straight, Smith tried all he could to get back past but Hodgson hung on to win by 4/10ths of a second. Davey Todd riding a borrowed bike hung on in third and actually got the fastest lap of the race, Winstanley was a distant 10 seconds further behind but his lap times were getting noticeably quicker and Jordan Bannon was again 5th.
Race Three Almost a carbon copy of race two Smith led lap 1 but Hodgson got past in lap 2 and from there on it was a constant cat and mouse as Smith tried to pass everywhere he could, the Cumbrian though is at the top of his game and he kept cool and held his nerve to the flag to win by 9/10ths from Smith, again Todd was a further 2 seconds down with Winstanley again a further 10 seconds behind however the Wigan man did have the second fastest lap of the race to show he was getting to grips with his new bike. Richard Sharp rounded out the top 5 after his battle with Jordan Banon.
Overall it was Hodgson, Smith, Todd, Winstanley and Bannon.
Suter Clutch Challenge Cup
Another full grid for this intermediate level class saw some brilliant close racing all day with three different race winners, pole position setter David Blanks from Norfolk was race one winner in one of the closest ever finishes recorded he beat George Jarvis by 1/1000th of a second. Andre Craddock won race two and Jarvis took the race three win. Overall Jarvis got the top step of the podium from David Blanks and consistent Darren Lee took third after Craddock had a double crash in Race three, ruining his chances of a maiden overall win.
GIAG Novice Cup
A completely full grid of 40 riders was testament to the increasing popularity of the exciting but friendly and accessible sport of Supermoto. With competitors from all over the country, riding a vast variety of machines it is a grat way to get involved in racing in a safe and cost effective manor. The riders at the sharp end of the class take it very seriously indeed as there is a full ACU British Championship title at stake. Glaswegian personal trainer Chris Eastwood looks increasingly like the man to beat as he took top spot with two race wins, Blaine Pearson from Ashton was second on his trusty 250 Husqvarna two stroke and local lad Crain Forshaw from Wigan rounded out the top three on his CRF450.
A good entry of mini bikes gave some great racing with BSB KTM cup competitor Dany Boj setting some amazing times on his CRF85 2 stroke, he couldn’t make the podium though as a broken chain ruined his last race. Ben Robinson took the overall from super smooth Daniel Leigh both on CRF’s, Cumbrian Jamie Stables finished a fantastic 3rd on his Chinese engined bike after a busy day competing in two classes. A special mention must go to 10-year-old Casey Jones putting in a mature performance on his racing debut picking up best stock bike on his 70mph KTM65.
Day Two saw early morning cloud soon gave way to glorious sunshine, a perfect way to enjoy top class Supermoto racing for the large crowd at the Wigan motorsport mecca. A different faster track layout was put in place to give riders a different test from Saturdays more technical layout.
Michelin Elite Cup
The vital qualifying session saw Hodgson on pole on his SPR Husqvarna, but it appeared Matt Winstanley had found extra pace overnight as he was only 7/100ths behind, Jay Smith was third Jordan Bannon a fine 4th and Davey Todd on a different borrowed bike 5th.
Race One Hodgson led from start to finish but it was anything but easy as Jay Smith tried everything he new to pass his teammate, riding with complete trust in each other they battled the entire race to finish within a whisker of each other after 12 pulsating laps. Matt Winstanley finished a welcome third after a battle with Jordan Bannon and Richard Blakeman.
Race Two was a role reversal this time Smith hit the front from the start and Hodgson had to try to pass, many watching expected him to do it in the closing laps but Smith made himself very wide and held on to take a popular win by 9/100ths of a second. Winstanley was again third after a ferocious battle with Todd finding extra pace in the older Husqvarna model. Bannon was fifth after a race long duel with Richard Blakeman.
Race Three With one win each this was the decider for the overall, Smith was determined but so was Hodgson, Smith got the holeshot but could only hold it for three laps and then Hodgson slid past, the reigning champ was in a determined mood and he set the fastest lap of the day in lap 5 to break Smiths resistance and managed to get to the flag with a relative cushion of 1.3 seconds. Behind the front two Winstanley was a comfortable third from Davey Todd. Young Wiltshire farmer Charlie Light (KTM) really got his act together and came in an excellent fifth.
Overall Hodgson, Smith, Winstanley, Todd and Bannon.
Two full grids of National riders split into A & B after qualifying gave some fantastic close quarter racing with thrills and spills aplenty. Young George Jarvis was on top form but he could only mange to keep veteran Andy Mitchell at bay for half race distance before his fellow Yorkshire man got past. Andre Craddock was a fine third ahead of Darren Lee, with David Blanks recovering from a poor qualifying to take fifth overall.
Results Day One
Michelin Premier Cup 1st Chris Hodgson (Husqvarna) 105pts – 2nd Jay Smith (Husqvarna) 96pts – 3rd Davey Todd (Husqvarna) 90pts – 4th Matt Winstanley (Husqvarna) 84pts – 5th Jordan Bannon (Husqvarna) 77pts – 6th Richard Sharp (Husqvarna) 76pts – 7th Richard Blakeman (Husqvarna) 70pts – 8th Jamie Duncan (KTM) 65pts – 9th Charlie Light (KTM) 63pts -10th Andy Mitchell (KTM) 63pts.
Suter Cup 1st George Jarvis (Husqvarna) 99pts – 2nd David Blanks (KTM) 97pts – 3rd Darren Lee (KTM) 88pts – 4th Dirk Jordaan (KTM) 81pts – 5th Grant Fraser (TM) 78pts
Novice Cup 1st Chris Eastwood (Honda) 96pts – 2nd Blaine Pearson (Husqvarna) 93pts – 3rd Craig Forshaw (Honda) 83pts – 4th Drew Pearson (KTM) 82pts – 5th Ian Hardy (KTM) 81pt
Mini Bikes 1st Ben Robinson (CRF) 99pts – 2nd Daniel Leigh (CRF) 92pts – 3rd Jamie Stables (Open) 86pts – 4th Steven Gallimore (CRF) 75pts – 5th CeeJay Davis (CRF) 74pts
Results Day Two
Michelin Elite Cup 1st Chris Hodgson (Husqvarna) 102pts – 2nd Jay Smith (Husqvarna) 99pts – 3rd Matt Winstanley (Husqvarna) 90pts – 4th Davey Todd (Husqvarna) 81pts – 5th Jordan Bannon (Husqvarna) 75pts – 6th Charlie Light (KTM) 74pts – 7th Richard Blakeman (Husqvarna) 73pts – 8th Tim Johnson (Husqvarna) 65pts – 9th Ollie Kemp (TM) 63pts -10th Dean Hillier (Husqvarna) 52pts.
National A 1st Andy Mitchell (KTM) 105pts – 2nd George Jarvis (Husqvarna) 96pts – 3rd Andre Craddock (TM) 88pts – 4th Darren Lee (KTM) 82pts – 5th David Blanks (KTM) 78pts
National B 1st Hein Basson (KTM) 102pts – 2nd Mike Whittemore (KTM) 99pts -3rd Mark Clifford (KTM) 85pts – 4th Ian Hardy (KTM) 84pts – 5th John Oakes (TM) 75pts
Best Clubman Ashley Middleton (Honda) 72 points
Best Over 45 Andy Mitchell (KTM) 105 points
Best Two Stroke Andy Mitchell (KTM) 105 points
Race report by Jaki Bradley – Pictures by Sports Events Live