2016 ACU British Supermoto Championship Round 1

3 Sisters Wigan 27 & 28 March 2016

Race report by Jaki Bradley – Pictures by Sports Events Live

Hodgson six from six at stormy Wigan

Leaden skies over West Lancashire greeted competitors for the first round of the 2016 British Supermoto Championship, held as is now tradition over the Easter Weekend at 3 Sisters Circuit near Wigan. In fact 4 Seasons would have been a more apt title as the weather did its best to throw everything possible over the two day event, gale force winds, torrential rain, hailstone, sleet and bright sunshine with blue skies meant the only happy people were the ones operating tyre changing machines.

Heavy promotional work over the winter period seemed to have borne fruit with lots of new faces taking to the track for their first crack at Supermoto racing and the Novice group was over subscribed which bodes well for the continued development of this exciting sport.

Michelin Premier Cup
With local hero Matt Winstanley absent with family commitments in Australia, and Lewis Cornish no longer competing it looked like reigning British Champion Chris Hodgson would face his stiffest challenge from his new team mate in the SJP Husqvarna team, Jay Smith. Other possible title contenders where also out on new machinery, Richard Blakeman & Richard Sharp also sporting 2016 Husqvarna’s, Jordan Bannon again Husqvarna mounted but this time on Chris Hodgson’s title winning 2015 machine and Oliver Pope campaigning a very impressive looking Kawasaki KX450. After qualifying though it looked like Hodgson was the man to beat, he looked totally relaxed in setting pole position by over half a second from his teammate Smith, the Londoner was the only rider in the field who could hit the 1min 5 sec mark with Richard Blakeman & Jordan Bannon over a second further behind in 3rd & 4th respectively.
Race one and Hodgson was in a class of his own fast and smooth he finished an easy 13 seconds in front of Jay Smith. The interest was further down the field with Blakeman, Bannon and Pope having a great battle for third spot. Race two and Smith knew he would need to pull something special out to best Hodgson, in an audacious move that had the crowd gasping he forced his way past Hodgson on the opening lap and then held onto the lead for 11 of the 12 laps before Hodgson took advantage of back markers and slipped past to finish just 3/10ths ahead after over 13 minutes of racing. Ollie Pope was a very impressive 3rd on his debut ride on the Kawasaki KX450F, which seemed to take to the wet conditions very well. Blakeman was fourth and BSB rider Davey Todd a fabulous fifth on a KTM 300 2 stroke. The third race saw Hodgson give Smith no chance of his race two heroics finishing a comfortable 7 seconds I front. Richard Blakeman got third ahead of Pope and Richard Sharp. Overall it was Hodgson, Smith, Blakeman and Pope in the first four positions.

Suter Clutch Challenge Cup
For 2016 a new title for the National level class on day 1 and a very strong entry of over 30 riders braved the challenging conditions, veteran Andy Mitchell was in top form on his KTM 300 2-stroke setting pole by over a second from surprise newcomer Jack Fay, having last ridden Supermoto in 2009 he made the short trip from Widnes worthwhile with an excellent second spot on his Husqvarna ahead of Andre Craddock (TM) and another KTM 300 2-stroke in the hands of Darren Lee. Andy Mitchel dominated races 1 and 2 but with not planning to do this championship this year he opted out of race 3, which left Jack Fay to take his maiden win in Supermoto. Fay went on to take the overall from George Jarvis (Husqvarna) in second, Andre Craddock (TM) third, Kris Norris KTM fourth and 12 year old Storm “The Predator” Stacey fresh from Moto 3 testing in Spain a very fine fifth.

GIAG Novice Cup
A completely full grid of 38 riders was testament to the increasing popularity of the exciting but friendly and accessible sport of Supermoto, a full British Championship is a worthy prize for this years contestants and the racing was just as fast and furious as in the other classes. Probably the biggest grin of the day was on the face of the Overall winner Drew Pearson from Oldham, he raced his £800 ride to work CCM R40 to 3 impressive wins staying calm whilst other fell by the wayside in the tricky conditions. Second overall went to 14 year old Joel Todd younger brother of the Elite rider Davey and third place went to Jess Mitchell 15 year old daughter of Andy Mitchell, she showed racing is in the blood beating a whole host of men to secure her podium spot.

Mini Bikes
Leeds VW technician James Lovell was literally in a class of his own on the Honda CRF150. He had an easy 3 wins from Gary Pigney (Open), Jamie Stables (Open) and James Pigney (Stock). In fact Lovells qualifying time would have put him in 7th place in the Suter Cup standings and pole in the Novice Cup.

Easter Monday arrived with the promise of slightly better weather, thick early morning cloud and persistent rain didn’t look to promising but the forecast promised brighter weather in the afternoon which proved to be the case and bright sunshine from 2pm was 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.

Michelin Elite Cup
The vital qualifying session saw Hodgson on pole on his SPR Husqvarna, by a massive 2.1 seconds, which at this level is unprecedented, his teammate Jay Smith was again second with Davey Todd (KTM 300) third but only one hundredth of a second behind and lumberjack Richard Blakeman (Husqvarna) took the final front row spot.
Race one was wet and saw a relatively easy win for Hodgson from his teammate Jay Smith. The interest in the race was provided for the battle for third between Blakeman, Todd and Oliver Pope making his Kawasaki work well in difficult conditions.
Race 2 was again a bit of a stroll for Hodgson, he is at his fastest when he looks smooth and Smith could not get on the same pace on the revised track. Behind them another great battle was taking place with Jordan Bannon (Husqvarna) finally getting on the pace as the track dried he held off the Husqvarna’s of Richard Sharp and Richard Blakeman with Ollie Pope finding his Kawasaki down on power in the dry conditions. Race 3 Even with an extra 2 laps added nobody got close to Hodgson, Smith had another lonely race in second Bannon was gain an impressive third but he was pressed hard by Elite rookie Charlie Light (KTM) enjoying the dry conditions a lot more than the previous wet races. Overall it was Hodgson from Smith with Bannon winning the fight for the final podium spot and winning the Michelin rider of the day prize as well.

Styleimage - Sports - Events Photography

Styleimage – Sports – Events Photography

The National series this year incorporates four separate championships, as well as the National itself there are awards for Over 45’s, Two Strokes and the Clubman Class. Last years National Champion Andy Mitchell was totally dominant, the burly Yorkshireman, pushed his converted Enduro 300 KTM round the track in a time that would have had him well up in the Elites to take 3 wins out of 3 as well as best 2 Stroke and best Over 45. Newcomer Jack Fay showed Saturdays results were no fluke and he could cope with wet or dry conditions equally well with three second places on his Husqvarna and last years Novice Champion George Jarvis made the step up in class with a fine third overall from veteran Andre Craddock (TM) and 12-year-old Storm Stacey just got faster and faster to take an excellent fifth spot.

Results Day One
Michelin Premier Cup 1st Chris Hodgson (Husqvarna) 105pts – 2nd Jay Smith (Husqvarna) 96pts – 3rd Richard Blakeman (Husqvarna) 88pts – 4th Oliver Pope (Kawasaki) 84pts – 5th Davey Todd (KTM) 76pts – 6th Richard Sharp (Husqvarna) 75pts – 7th Oliver Kemp (TM) 70pts – 8th Jordan Bannon (Husqvarna) 67pts – 9th Jamie Duncan (KTM) 65pts -10th Tim Johnson (Husqvarna) 65pts.

Suter Cup 1st Jack Fay (Husqvarna) 92pts – 2nd George Jarvis (Husqvarna) 88pts – 3rd Andre Craddock (TM) 88pts – 4th Kris Norris (KTM) 86pts – 5th Storm Stacey (Honda) 72pts

Novice Cup 1st Drew Pearson (CCM) 105pts – 2nd Joel Todd (KTM) 87pts – 3rd Jess Mitchell (KTM) 79pts – 4th Mike Underwood (Husqvarna) 76pts – 5th David Peat (Honda) 72pts

Mini Bikes 1st James Lovell (CRF) 35pts – 2nd Gary Pigney (Open) 33pts – 3rd James Pigney (Stock) 88pts – 4th Paul Neal (Stock) 82pts – 5th John Buckell (Stock) 74pts

Results Day Two
Michelin Elite Cup 1st Chris Hodgson (Husqvarna) 105pts – 2nd Jay Smith (Husqvarna) 96pts -3rd Jordan Bannon (Husqvarna) 85pts – 4th Richard Blakeman (Husqvarna) 80pts – 5th Oliver Pope (Kawasaki) 77pts – 6th Richard Sharp (Husqvarna) 74pts – 7th Dale O’Connor (KTM) 70pts – 8th Davey Todd (KTM) 70pts – 9th Charlie Light (KTM) 69pts -10th Tim Johnson (Husqvarna) 65pts.

National A 1st Andy Mitchell (KTM) 105pts – 2nd Jack Fay (Husqvarna) 96pts -3rd George Jarvis (Husqvarna) 88pts – 4th Andre Craddock (TM) 81pts – 5th Storm Stacey (Honda) 77pts

National B 1st Marcus Gale (KTM) 26pts – 2nd Andrew Goodsell (KTM) 25pts -3rd Hein Basson (KTM) 20pts – 4th Mark Clifford (KTM) 18pts – 5th Luke Fabian (Husqvarna) 14pts

Best Clubman Jordan Nutter (KTM) 59 points

Best Over 45 Andy Mitchell (KTM) 105 points

Best Two Stroke Andy Mitchell (KTM)105 points