It was Wilvo Forkrent KTM’s home GP this weekend at the superb Matterley Basin track in Winchester, Hampshire and everyone in the team was fired up and looking forward to some good results.
The weather was atrocious as the trucks pulled into the circuit and the rain lashed down virtually all day Thursday and Friday, however it improved throughout the weekend and the sunshine returned for race day.
Adam Sterry was first out in the EMX250 class and after his previous podium in Spain, he was feeling confident and it showed as he took pole in his qualifying group, giving him second pick on the gate for the races ahead.
In the MXGP class Jake Nicholls finished the qualifying race in eighth with Matiss Karro 11th.
Sterry made a decent start in seventh and quickly moved through to third in the first EMX250 race of the weekend. He swiftly caught Championship leader Steven Clarke and made a move for second but was a little too aggressive and spun out, dropping him to seventh. He fought back well and as the race drew to a close he attempted a pass on fourth but both riders hit the deck. Once again he dropped down to seventh, his final position.
Sterry had a bad start to the moto on Sunday and was down in 12th but was riding superbly, gradually picking off the riders in front all the way to a fourth place finish. His 7-4 placings gave him third overall for his second podium in a row, made all the sweeter by being in front of a home crowd.
Neither rider made a good start with DBR columnist, Jake Nicholls in 13th and Karro in 15th out of the gates. Karro lost the front end coming into a tight turn into the whoops and dropped to last but an enthused Nicholls was up to sixth by the end of the first lap.
Karro making his way back into the top 20 crashed again trying to make a pass on Irwin. Fighting until the end he managed to finish 16th.
Nicholls saw off the challenge of Rattray and then had Searle to contend with fighting it out for the next seven laps before Searle managed to make the pass with two laps to go leaving Nicholls to cross the line in a superb seventh.
After his first race disappointment, Karro was determined in race two and taking his second holeshot of the season helped his cause massively. Nicholls not having as much luck was held up on the first turn leaving him next to last. Karro’s lead lasted half a lap until he washed out in the same corner as race one dropping him down to 12th.
Nicholls blitzing through the field was up to ninth by the end of lap two. He continued to push hard and made three more quick passes to take sixth until his bike started to lose oil from the ignition cover as a result of the seal being pulled out, this bad luck meant he had to ease back.
Karro kept pushing forward and as the race neared the end he caught up with Nicholls and made a pass on his team-mate to a great eighth place with a frustrated Nicholls one place behind in ninth.
Nicholls 7-9 finishes gave him his best overall finish in MXGP in eighth, with Karro finishing 12th. Nicholls has now moved up to 14th in the Championship standings with Karro in 18th.
Commenting on the weekend, Team Owner and Manager Steve Turner said: “We had a pretty good weekend all round with a holeshot, a podium and five top-10 finishes from the boys so all in all we are very happy.
“Adam now looks like he believes he should be at the front and is riding with confidence which is leading to him delivering better and better results. He made a couple of errors in the first race, which cost him the chance of the top step of the podium but we’re still happy with third, especially at his home GP.
“Matiss also made two mistakes in the first race which cost him the chance of an overall top-10 but still managed to take a fantastic holeshot in the second race. He rode really strong to come back to eighth after the disappointment of dropping it on the first lap.
“Jake was awesome and he just looks at home now on the 450. He was unlucky in the second race to have a freaky mechanical issue, which is one we have never had before but he still took his best overall finish of the season and continued his progression.”
“Another solid weekend!” added Adam Sterry. “Home GP podium was awesome. Riding was really good all weekend just my two crashes in the first race which cost me, along with my start in the second race but I pulled through well and was really happy with my speed. Hopefully next round I can make the top step.”
Matiss Karro added: “I liked this track and I felt good and rode okay to take 11th in qualifying. I messed up in the first race with two crashes and only finishing 16th which I am not happy with. The second race I took the holeshot, which felt mega but I made another silly crash and dropped back to 12th. After a couple of bad laps I started to feel good again and was happy to take eighth at the end.”
Commenting on his weekend, Jake Nicholls said: “It’s been a good weekend for me at my home Grand Prix starting off well with eighth in qualifying.
“First race on Sunday I got an okay start and rode hard early on and settled in sixth place although halfway through I got arm pump, which cost me speed, causing me to drop to seventh. In the second race I didn’t get such a great start and ran over a fallen rider’s bike costing me some spots.
“I rode so hard on the first few laps, inspired by my recent speed and the home crowd I got all the way into sixth and was hounding fifth place. I was sure I was going to get it, but then we had a small problem with the bike losing oil, probably caused by a rock, so I had to back down a lot and cruise the last few laps meaning I dropped out of the battle and into ninth. I was still very happy with eighth overall and I showed what I can do today.”