3 Sisters Wigan 3 & 4 October 2015
Race report by Jaki Bradley – Pictures by Sports Events Live
Hodgson at the double
Early morning fog threatened to disrupt proceedings at round 8 of the British Supermoto Championship at the Three Sisters race complex near Wigan but thankfully visibility lifted enough to allow all Marshal posts to see each other and racing got under way on time. It was a sparser than normal field in the Elite races as 5 of the riders were on duty for the British Team in the Supermoto of Nations in Italy and a number of others were absent as injuries took there toll towards the end of a long hard season. Matt Winstanley and Chris Hodgson had both decided not to be available for the British Nations team as they wanted to concentrate on retaining their respective titles so all was to play for over the two days of racing.
Qualifying; Matt Winstanley put his Honda on pole position with a blistering lap of 55.355 but only a tenth of a second faster than Chris Hodgson (Husqvarna). They were joined on the front row by the two Richards, Sharp and Blakeman, both on KTM’s.
Race 1 Winstanley took the holeshot but his lead didn’t last a lap as Hodgson gunned past him on his Husqvarna, Winstanley stayed on the rear wheel of Hodgson for the next 15 laps constantly pressurising the Cumbrian as they both lapped almost two seconds a lap quicker than any other rider. Hodgson didn’t put a foot wrong though and soaked up the pressure to hold on to the flag to win by only 1/10th of a second after 14 minutes of wheel-to-wheel battling. Richard Blakeman came in a steady third ahead of James Addy (Honda) who had a great tussle with Jordan Bannon (KTM) and Ollie Kemp (TM)
Race 2; The watching crowd were ready for a repeat of race one and a number of Winstanley fans were hoping to see their local hero get to the front and stay there. Hodgson got the holeshot but Winstanley was right on his tail and for 4 laps it was a repeat of race 1, this time though Winstanley made a slight error and fell in the off road section, he quickly remounted losing 8 seconds to Hodgson, who held on for a comfortable win. Blakeman got dragged along by Winstanley and finished a close third from Sharp, Addy and Bannon.
Race 3; Winstanley was determined to reverse things in race 3 as he could see his Championship lead being slowly eroded by Hodgson, however the Husqvarna rider again got the all important holeshot and Winstanley again had to pressurise the Cumbrian from behind, however the Wigan riders ageing Honda has started to show its age and its gearbox cried enough after 6 laps. Winstanley nursed the bike home for a second place ahead of Richard Sharp, Blakeman, Bannon and a hard-riding Ollie Kemp.
Overall Chris Hodgson took all three wins but Winstanley had the fastest lap of the day showing that if he could repair his bike overnight he could still get something from the weekend. Blakeman was third, Bannon fourth, Ollie Kemp fifth and the returning James Addy sixth.
If the Elite races were a little light on entries the support series made up for it with good entries in the Michelin Cup. South African Paul Smith came out on top after 3 great races with young Wiltshire farmer Charlie Light. Series leader Steve Ellis collected good points for third ahead of fellow Humbersider Thomas Elam in fourth.
NPS GIAG/Novice Cup
Aimed at complete beginners this class has attracted over 30 new riders to the grids this year. Series leader George Jarvis was almost in a class of his own and won every race. Ashley Middleton kept the pressure on to take second ahead of Max Wybrow, Owen Bygrave and Cumbrian rider Keir McKenna.
Another good entry saw Will Moore wrap up the overall Championship and win the CRF class. The other class winners were Sam Hodgson for the Open Chinese and Ben Cripps for the Stock Chinese both riders from Leeds.
Early morning mist gave way to bright sunshine and a lovely day was on the cards. The versatile circuit allowed a track change that gave the riders a different challenge from Saturday.
Qualifying This vital session saw Winstanley on pole on his DCR/NPS Honda, but only by a narrow 2 hundredths margin from Chris Hodgson on board the Skyzone Husqvarna. Richard Sharp was a distant 1.5 seconds further behind on his KTM and Richard Blakeman (KTM) took the final front row spot.
Race One In a repeat of Saturday’s racing Hodgson and Winstanley put on a master class of wheel-to-wheel duelling, the two riders appeared to be attached by an invisible rope as they pushed each other to the limit for 15 minutes of non stop action. Hodgson hung on to win by a narrow margin, Richard Blakeman came in third a staggering 40 seconds behind the leaders such was their dominance. Richard Sharp fourth, Tim Johnson fifth and Ollie Kemp rounded out the top six.
Race Two Again the pattern of the previous races was repeated with Winstanley shadowing Hodgson lap after lap but this time Hodgson showed the slightest of gaps with two laps to go and the Wigan rider nipped through. Hodgson tried all he knew to get back past but Winstanley hung on to the flag to take a fine win. In a mirror image of what the front two did, the two Richards Sharp and Blakeman battled each other for the full 14 laps with the Yorkshireman Sharp taking third by 1/10th of a second. Tim Johnson was 5th, Ollie Kemp made 6th his own after another race long battle with Owen Connell.
Race 3; After the first two races going to each of the top two not only the crowd but also the entire paddock went to watch the climax and again the riders didn’t disappoint. Winstanley got away first with Hodgson right behind. For 8 laps it looked like the local lad would take the top honours virtually riding the wheels off his Honda, but running his second string engine after the gearbox problems of the day before gave Hodgson a slight horsepower advantage which he used to good effect to power ahead on lap 9, a narrow advantage he held to the chequered flag. Blakeman and Sharp had another titanic battle, which Sharp won for third. Tim Johnson was again fifth and Owen Connell sixth.
Overall After their amazing displays of riding neither of the top two deserved to lose, but with his win in the final race Chris Hodgson took the overall and narrowed Winstanleys lead in the championship to boot. Richard Sharp claimed third, Blakeman fourth, Tim Johnson got a well-deserved fifth and consistent Owen Connell took sixth overall.
Another set of fantastic races saw the top two riders in the Championship Andy Mitchell and Charlie Light duke it out for top spot. The young Wiltshire rider, not yet 18 has added steel to his undoubted talent and managed to hold off the aggressive Yorkshire veteran in all three races to take the overall and narrow the gap in the championship. Michael Craig made the long trip south from above Aberdeen worthwhile with third overall ahead of Paul Smith and Norfolk veteran David Blanks.
Results Day One
450 Elite 1st Chris Hodgson (Husq) 105pts – 2nd Matt Winstanley (Honda) 96pts -3rd Richard Blakeman (KTM) 88pts – 4th Jordan Bannon (KTM) 78pts – 5th Ollie Kemp (TM) 73pts – 6th James Addy (Honda) 72pts – 7th Tim Johnson (Husq) 68pts – 8th Michael Craig (KTM) 67pts – 9th Owen Connell (Honda) 66pts -10th Ben Handley (TM) 66pts.
Michelin Cup 1st Paul Smith (KTM) 99pts – 2nd Charlie Light (KTM) 95pts -3rd Steve Ellis (Husqvarna) 90pts – 4th Thomas Elam (KTM) 82pts – 5th Paul Reynolds (TM) 79pts
Novice Cup 1st George Jarvis (KTM) 105pts – 2nd Ashley Middleton (Honda) 96pts – 3rd Max Wybrow (Husqvarna) 86pts – 4th Owen Bygrave (TM) 86pts – 5th Kier McKenna (KTM) 80pts
Pit Bikes 1st Will Moore (CRF) 102pts – 2nd Sam Hodgson (Open) 90pts – 3rd Storm Stacey (CRF) 85pts – 4th Ben Cripps (Stock) 84pts – 5th Josh Cripps (Stock) 77pts
Results Day Two
Open Elite 1st Chris Hodgson (Husq) 102pts – 2nd Matt Winstanley (Honda) 99pts -3rd Richard Sharp (KTM) 88pts – 4th Richard Blakeman (KTM) 86pts – 5th Tim Johnson (Husq) 78pts – 6th Owen Connell (Honda) 73pts – 7th Ollie Kemp (TM) 50pts – 8th Ben Handley (TM) 66pts
Open National A 1st Charlie Light (KTM) 105pts – 2nd Andy Mitchell (KTM) 96pts – 3rd Michael Craig (KTM) 90pts – 4th Paul Smith (KTM) 84pts – 5th David Blanks (KTM) 78pts