Race report by Jaki Bradley – Pictures by Sports Events Live
Supermoto at Cadwell Park is simply quite fantastic!
The ACU/NoraSport British Supermoto Championship held its season finale at Cadwell Park near Louth in Lincolnshire. Surely the most charismatic road race circuit in the UK, known as the mini Nurburgring, 2015 is the sixtieth anniversary of this wonderful venue and full grids, beautiful weather and enthusiastic crowds made it a Supermoto weekend to remember.
Three riders, Matt Winstanley, Chris Hodgson and Lewis Cornish could be crowned 450 Elite champion going into this final round of 9, the worst round was dropped meaning best eight scores to count. Winstanley was in pole position but he had points to drop whilst Cornish & Hodgson each had a no score round.
Qualifying; Cornish put his TM on pole position with a blistering lap of 44.830 3/10ths of a second faster than Hodgson (Husqvarna). Winstanley was a further half-second behind and the three were joined on the front row by the unexpected sight of Tom Booth-Amos (Honda) in a rare return to Supermoto racing from his efforts in BSB.
Hodgson took the holeshot but his lead didn’t last a lap as Cornish used the slipstream to great effect to pass him. Winstanley was in third, his Honda visibly slower than the TM & Husqvarna in front. Hodgson was right in Cornish’s wheel tracks though and on lap 6 he edged past on brakes into the hairpin. Hodgson held a narrow lead for the next 6 laps until Cornish put in a good passing move to regain the lead, the points difference meant the Norfolk youngster celebrating his birthday would really need the race win. Hodgson wasn’t finished though and with 3 laps to go he re-took the lead, Cornish tried everything he could but at the flag it was Hodgson by 2/10’s and such was the pace Hodgson set the fastest lap on his last lap. Winstanley was 5 seconds behind in third; Jay Smith (KTM) was fourth narrowly edging the excellent Tom Barrington scoring his best finish of the season in fifth on his Honda.
As the protagonists lined up for Race 2 the pressure was starting to mount, Lewis Cornish knew this race would make or break his championship bid, to win he needed to beat Winstanley and Hodgson and hope that Hodgson had a problem or other riders could move the Cumbrian down the field. Winstanley also needed to get nearer the front as his corrected score showed he was neck & neck with Hodgson. This race was a real cracker, Jay Smith got a better start and was second to Hodgson on Lap 1, and Winstanley and Cornish followed him across the line. However Cornish wasn’t going without a fight and took the lead in lap 4, Hodgson bit back two laps later, the pair weaving down the straight to try to break the tow effect on this superfast circuit. On lap 8 Cornish was back in front and held the lead until literally the last second as Hodgson got a tow down the straight and crossed the line 1/100th of a second in front of the TM rider. Winstanley was third from Jay Smith fourth and Scott Murray (TM) fifth.
Realistically it was now a race between Winstanley and Hodgson for the title, calculators and slide rules consulted the two riders realised it was winner take all. Winstanley didn’t look like he had the legs on his aging Honda; it was visibly struggling down the straight compared to the Husqvarna & TM. However something had changed for Race 3 as Winstanley was really in the mix for this one. Using the slipstream from the bikes in front he passed both down the straight with Hodgson constantly out-braking him at the hairpin. Cornish wasn’t giving up either and led for the majority of the race but there was never a gap between any of the bikes. Starting the last lap it was Winstanley from Hodgson and Cornish but in the run to the hairpin Hodgson put a titanic move on Winstanley in the braking zone forcing the Wigan rider to run slightly wide Cornish saw his chance and nipped through holding his lead to the line with Hodgson second and Winstanley third. All three riders finishing in the same second after 12 minutes of all out action.
Hodgson took the overall with his 2 wins and a second from Cornish, and then Winstanley, Jay Smith was 4th and Richard Sharp (KTM) 5th. More importantly though Hodgson was the new British 450 Elite Champion by a narrow 3-point margin from Winstanley, the whole series coming down to a last lap move in the very last race.
Going into the last round of the Elite feeder series Steve Ellis (Husqvarna) knew he would need Charlie Light (KTM) to have a calamity to stand any chance of securing the crown. In the event the Wiltshire youngster ran out with maximum points, even coming from dead last in the final race after a fall to secure victory. South African Dirk Jordaan (KTM) was second from Isle of Man road racer Ian Raybon (KTM) enjoying his debut in Supermoto racing. As well as being crowned Michelin Cup Champion for 2015 Charlie was also named Riders Rider of the year, a tremendous accolade for the 16 year old.
NPS GIAG/Novice Cup
George Jarvis (Husqvarna) wrapped up the championship for Supermoto newcomers but he had to settle for second on the day as local boy Max Wybrow (Husqvarna) took an impressive 3 race maximum. Ashley Middleton (Honda) was third.
Although Fog had been forecast a light early morning mist soon dispersed and Cadwell Park looked resplendent bathed in beautiful warm sunshine more reminiscent of an August bank holiday than November 1st
With Winstanley losing one Championship the previous day he showed his intent on day two by setting pole on his Honda, but he was only a narrow 4 hundredths margin ahead of Chris Hodgson on board the Husqvarna. Jay Smith (KTM) was also right in contention a further 0.14 second behind, Tom Booth-Amos (Honda) took the final front row spot. Only 1 second covered the first 10 places, so close racing was going to be the order of the day.
Obviously Winstanley had found some speed overnight for his Honda but it was Hodgson who took the lead, young Tom Booth-Amos had the temerity to pass Winstanley to move up to second but he couldn’t hold it for more than two laps as Winstanley edged past him. Then it was the Hodgson and Winstanley show as they constantly passed and re-passed each other for 16 glorious laps of entertainment on the last lap it appeared that Hodgson had it won but exiting the final corner Winstanley got fantastic drive to edge past at the line and a win margin of 7 hundredths of a second. Jay Smith came in third riding a 2016 Husqvarna with Davey Todd (Husqvarna) fourth and Scott Murray(TM) fifth.
Cadwell Park has a “text the commentator system” for spectators and after the first race, texts were flooding in enthusing about what they had witnessed in race 1 and then it just got better. Hodgson hit the front from the start desperate for a double championship but this time Davey Todd joined the fray and with Winstanley the three of them swapped positions corner after corner in a breath-taking display of high speed racing, each rider fully committed but trusting fully the person they were dicing with. With the lead changing multiple times a lap it was anybody’s guess who would take the lead but Winstanley had worked a strategy out and came out of barn corner in the draft of Hodgson and used the slipstream to slingshot past the Cumbrian to take the win by another 7 hundredths of a second. It was truly amazing racing.
The scene was set for a final showdown and the maths were now simple, to win the Championship, Winstanley needed to finish within 20 points of Hodgson and he would be champion. Even though the weather had been glorious all day it was November and with the clocks now back an hour, the sun quickly set behind the woods that surround the bowl that is Cadwell Park so the final race of the day took place in almost darkness. The backdrop was spectacular as the sparks from footpegs and boot sliders lit up the gloom as every Elite rider gave their all in the final race of the 2015 season. From the start it was Winstanley in front, then Hodgson, then Todd and in an amazing move at the hairpin Jay Smith went from 4th to 1st, Hodgson relegated Smith again before Todd muscled him out of the way. Winstanley could have backed off but he was in the mix having a ball, soon Bannon, Blakeman and Murray tagged on, the top 8 all lapping within a couple of tenths of each other and then all too soon for the crowd, the race was run. Jay Smith emerged from the gloaming the victor from Hodgson, then Todd, Winstanley and Jordan Bannon (KTM).
Fittingly Winstanley took the overall win to clinch the title as Hodgson had done on the Saturday to win his crown. Hodgson was 2nd, Jay Smith 3rd Davey Todd 4th and Scott Murray 5th. A fantastic finale that will long live in the memory of those that witnessed it.
Andy Mitchell decided to go old school to try to clinch his Open National title from his main rival Charlie Light so out came the 650 Husaberg he last campaigned in the 2006 series when he was National Champion. As in the Elite races these two put on a spectacular display of neck and neck racing with Mitchell sliding the big ‘Berg into the hairpins in real old school Supermoto style. No matter what he did though he couldn’t unsettle the Wiltshire boy and Charlie took all three wins but this wasn’t enough and Andy Mitchell clinched two titles, the Open National and the Over 45’s.
Results Day One
1st Chris Hodgson (Husqvarna) 102pts – 2nd Lewis Cornish (TM) 99pts – 3rd Matt Winstanley (Honda) 90pts – 4th Jay Smith (KTM) 84pts – 5th Richard Sharp (KTM) 73pts – 6th Tom Barrington (Honda) 72pts – 7th Richard Blakeman (KTM) 69pts – 8th Jordan Bannon (KTM) 69pts – 9th Rob McNealy (Honda) 64pts -10th Scott Murray (TM) 62pts.
450 Elite Championship Overall
1st Chris Hodgson 772pts -2nd Matt Winstanley 769pts – 3rd Lewis Cornish 745pts – 4th Jay Smith 667pts – 5th Richard Blakeman 576pts
1st Charlie Light (KTM) 105pts – 2nd Dirk Jordaan (KTM) 84pts -3rd Ian Raybon (KTM) 79pts – 4th Grant Fraser (TM) 79pts – 5th David Blanks (KTM) 79pts
Michelin Cup Championship Overall
1st Charlie Light 768pts -2nd Steve Ellis 663pts – 3rd Paul Reynolds 590pts – 4th Darren Lee 579pts – 5th Dirk Jordaan 510pts
1st Max Wybrow (Husqvarna) 105pts – 2nd George Jarvis (Husqvarna) 94pts – 3rd Ashley Middleton (Honda) 82pts – 4th David Pearce (KTM) 82pts – 5th Owen Bygrave (TM) 80pts
Novice Cup Championship Overall
1st George Jarvis 274pts -2nd Owen Bygrave 236pts – 3rd Max Wybrow 235pts – 4th Ashley Middleton 234pts – 5th Kier McKenna 198pts
Results Day Two
1st Matt Winstanley (Honda) 98pts – 2nd Chris Hodgson (Husqvarna) 96pts – 3rd Jay Smith (Husqvarna) 93pts – 4th Davey Todd (Husqvarna) 88pts – 5th Scott Murray (TM) 77pts – 6th Jordan Bannon (KTM) 75pts – 7th Richard Blakeman (KTM) 69pts – 8th Tom Booth-Amos (Honda) 64pts – 9th Ollie Kemp (TM) 63pts – 10th David T Pearce (KTM) 61pts
Open Elite Championship Overall
1st Matt Winstanley 803pts -2nd Chris Hodgson 787pts – 3rd Jay Smith 710pts – 4th Scott Murray 644pts – 5th Richard Blakeman 605pts
Open National A
1st Charlie Light (KTM) 105pts – 2nd Andy Mitchell (KTM) 96pts – 3rd Ian Raybon (KTM) 90pts – 4th Gareth Thomas (Honda) 81pts – 5th David Blanks (KTM) 76pts
Open National Championship Overall
1st Andy Mitchell 780pts – 2nd Charlie Light 724pts – 3rd Michael Craig 710pts – 4th Andre Craddock 585pts – 5th David Blanks 458pts