WINSTANLEY WINS WIGANRace report by Jaki Bradley – Pictures by Sports Events Live
As early morning fog gave way to bright sunshine and blue skies on Easter Sunday it was a fitting image for the what felt like a resurrection for Supermoto as Round 1 of the 2015 season kicked off with a big entry and many spectators at the premier venue for this exciting sport, 3 Sisters near Wigan.
Credit must be given to the hardworking band of enthusiasts who run the NoraSport/ACU British Supermoto Championship as a lot of work has been put into generating new riders into the sport and the Easter weekend saw the first round kick off with one of the largest entries for many years and over thirty newcomers to the sport made their debuts giving the organisers the pleasant task of reshuffling the programme to add extra races to accommodate the new faces.
Day one saw the reigning 450 Elite Champion local lad Matt Winstanley, kick off his title defence in immaculate style with a maximum 3 wins from 3. Qualifying in pole with over half a second advantage from Norfolk youngster Lewis Cornish and over a second in front of third placed Cumbrian Chris Hodgson, Winstanley looked to be in ominous form on his home track.
Race 1 was a mirror of the qualifying session with Winstanley finishing a relaxed 4 seconds in front of Cornish who had battled his way past Hodgson, still coming to terms with his new Husqvarna that had only arrived on Thursday to pull a 6 second gap. The excitement was in the battle for third with Hodgson narrowly holding on to third from an impressive Ben Robb and Jay Smith who filled out the top 5 positions.
Race 2 was almost a carbon copy but this time Cornish was nearer to Winstanley at the flag having found some extra pace and was only 2 seconds behind at the finish. Hodgson came in an untroubled 3rd ahead of Robb and Perthshire’s Scott Murray who had survived a race long scrap with Jay Smith which had ended with a grass excursion for the likeable Londoner which knocked him well down the order.
Race 3 again saw Winstanley take the holeshot but this time Cornish really got on the pace and harried the champ to the flag with controlled aggressive riding. It looks like the youngster has found maturity to go with his undoubted talent as in previous years he might have fallen in an attempt to take the win. Hodgson again came home in an easy third from Jay Smith and Southport’s Graeme Norris pushed himself into 5th with a fine ride.
Overall Winstanley took a maximum 105 points from Cornish on 96, Hodgson on 90 Ben Robb made a good 4th on 81 and Graeme Norris managed a very creditable 5th place after consistently riding well.
Michelin Cup/Novice Cup
For 2015 a new class has been added to the popular feeder class the Michelin Cup, The Total Novice Cup is for riders completely new to Supermoto and such was the uptake the organisers had to split the class and run two qualifying and A & B races. 17 year old Salisbury rider Charlie Light made the long trip North well worth while with a maximum 3 wins from 3, in a set of hard fought races, coming from behind in all 3 he pushed past the fast starting Paul Rhodes and made good use of the dirt section to keep a 2 second gap at the flag. Leeds Yamaha rider, Dan Spencer took the final podium spot. The Novice Cup was well won by Bingley’s ex Speedway rider George Jarvis, taking to the sport like a duck to water he qualified in the A final and ended up Top Novice followed by veteran Robin Brown and Andy Sailor.
Close racing in the Pit Bike class saw Will Moore take an Overall and Class win for Honda engine bikes from Gosports Ollie Pope who suffered a puncture in race 3 that stopped his quest for overall, but gave him top spot in the Pro class whilst Danny Boj got 3rd spot on the podium on his CRF bike.
Easter Monday and a repeat of Sundays weather a thick early morning mist giving way to bright sunshine late morning was a perfect day to enjoy top class Supermoto and another large crowd came to the Wigan motorsport mecca. With a variety of track layouts to choose from a new circuit incorporating both hard and dirt off road sections gave Sundays competitors a new challenge to meet.
The vital qualifying session saw Winstanley on pole on his DCR/NPS Honda, but only by a narrow margin from Chris Hodgson who had found extra speed in his new Skyzone Husqvarna overnight. Lewis Cornish was a further tenth behind on his CRT TM and Scotsman Murray (Scotlifts TM) took the final front row spot. Eyebrows were lifted amongst the regular paddock cognoscenti with last year’s feeder championship winners Michael Parsons (CRT TM) and Jordan Bannon (NBR KTM) filling 5th and 6th places respectively.
Race one was a relatively easy win for Winstanley but behind him a real dog fight ensued with Jay Smith (Skyzone KTM) battling with Hodgson and Cornish. At the flag it was Cornish who got second from Hodgson a very close third with Smith dropping back after an off track excursion. Jordan Bannon completed the top 5.
Race two was much harder for Winstanley as Cornish finally got off the line well and for 15 laps the pair put on a master class of Supermoto racing with Winstanley hanging on to win by less than 2 tenths of a second after nearly 17 minutes of racing. Hodgson was a distant 3rd from Murray further back in 4th and a hard charging Robb (LSP TM) coming from the back to get 5th.
Race 3 was again the Winstanley & Cornish show but this time in a cruel twist to the day the Norfolk ace had to give best as his bike seized on lap 11 leaving Winstanley a comfortable first from Hodgson 2nd Jay Smith 3rd Ben Robb 4th and impressive debutant in the Elite class Jordan Bannon 5th.
The Open National series this years incorporates a separate championship for Over 45’s and Two Strokes to add extra variety to the series and Elgins Michael Craig (Triple D KTM) made the 800 mile round trip worthwhile taking the overall win and best over 45 award from Dan Spencer (Yamaha) and almost veteran Lee Rudd (TRM Honda). Past National Champion Andy Mitchell had come out of retirement with the lure of the Over 45 award and gave the spectators a laugh by having a senior moment in the first race and forgetting to put enough fuel in. He frantically waved to his pit crew and pulled in whilst leading to refuel and re-join for a 16th place finish. He did make amends and fwin the next two races for a 4th overall. Best two stroke was Martin Robbins on his 380 KTM finishing an excellent 5th overall.
Results Day One
450 Elite 1st Matt Winstanley (Honda) 105pts – 2nd Lewis Cornish (TM) 96pts -3rd Chris Hodgson (Husqvarna) 90pts – 4th Ben Robb (TM) 81pts – 5th Graeme Norris (KTM) 76pts – 6th Richard Sharp (KTM) 72pts – 7th Richard Blakeman (KTM) 67pts – 8th Jay Smith (KTM) 66pts – 9th Jordan Bannon (KTM) 66pts -10th Tom Barrington (Honda) 59pts.
1st Charlie Light (Honda) 105pts – 2nd Paul Rhodes (Aprilia) 96pts -3rd Dan Spencer (Yamaha) 88pts – 4th Steve Ellis (Husqvarna) 84pts – 5th Paul Reynolds (TM) 74pts
1st George Jarvis (KTM) 102pts – 2nd Andy Sailor (KTM) 97pts – 3rd Robin Brown (KTM) 92pts
1st Will Moore (CRF) 95pts – 2nd Ollie Pope (YCF Pro) 91pts – 3rd Danny Boj (CRF) 88pts – 4th Chris Nutter (CRF) 82pts – 5th Josh Cripps (Stock) 76pts
Results Day Two
1st Matt Winstanley (Honda) 105pts – 2nd Chris Hodgson (Husq) 92pts -3rd Jay Smith (KTM) 86pts – 4th Jordan Bannon (KTM) 82pts – 5th Richard Blakeman (KTM) 79pts – 6th Lewis Cornish (TM) 75pts – 7th Scott Murray (TM) 79pts – 8th Ben Handley (TM) 68pts – 9th Dale O’Connor (KTM) 63pts -10th Richard Sharp (KTM) 61pts.
Open National A
1st Michael Craig (KTM) 96pts – 2nd Dan Spencer (Yamaha) 94pts -3rd Lee Rudd (Honda) 88pts – 4th Andy Mitchell (KTM) 87pts – 5th Marty Robbins (KTM) 80pts
Open National B
1st Kris Norris (KTM) 24pts – 2nd George Jarvis (KTM) 21pts -3rd Ryan Chalmers (Husqvarna) 15pts – 4th James Oliver (KTM) 13pts – 5th James Wood (KTM) 9pts