The crowd – there was a huge turn-out for the annual kick-off to the UK motocross season with ques on the road from 8am and the car parks full! It created a great atmosphere for the riders and a ‘big time’ feel to the event. The racing was constant all day long with four qualifying sessions and nine races across the day and it was still over by 4.30pm providing great value for the fans who made the trip.
Shaun Simpson – The Scot made his RaceFX KTM debut and it was a big event for the team who had the full set-up on show. Simpson looked superb on track too and looked well on his way to the first race win until a small tip-over. He looked great again in race two but two crashes – the later dislocating his shoulder, meant what felt like 10 to 15 minutes of pain as he got his shoulder pulled at all sorts of angle by team boss Dicky Dye.
It was a rare public glimpse into the usually private struggles motocross riders have to go through with injuries. Then, once the shoulder was in place, Shaun nonchalantly walked by to the paddock and plans to ride the French international at LaCappelle this coming weekend! It was a day for Simpson that had encapsulated the full range of motocross emotions from the high of the holeshot and leading a big race with his new team to the pain of injury and everything else in between.
Adam Sterry – The F&H Kawasaki rider was on fire all day at Hawkstone. Pole position and what should have been two race wins if he hadn’t crashed with just over a lap to go in race two. Sterry opened a lot of eyes at Hawkstone with his smooth but fast laps on a rough circuit, it was one of the best performances of his career in a very deep class full of GP quality and it sets him up perfectly for his final year in MX2.
The track – It’s a circuit that has a bit of everything and it was in superb condition thanks to the club and some rare dry weather. The Hawkstone Hill always takes your breath away when you see just how steep it really is and as the riders go charging up it, you momentarily forget they have to drop back down again, some even jumping off the right-handed turn back onto the near vertical descent! After that the winding turns and jumps, usually full of ruts and then braking bumps, provide a real test of man and machine. It certainly isn’t an easy place to have your first race of the year, so a big respect to all the riders to who participated.
De Wolf and Rizzi- these two kids put on a great show in the 125 class and showed why they could well be the GP stars of the future. De Wolf is just fresh off an 85 but looked superb on the factory Husqvarna manipulating the bike over jumps, bumps and turns despite his small stature with incredible poise and control. But Rizzi never let De Wolf settle and the Brit showed some fanatic corner speed and natural talent to give the Dutchman and tough fight in both races with the 125s sounding great all day. The EMX125 class should be great to watch this year!