Adam Sterry took his F&H Racing Kawasaki to a second top-three moto finish in eight days in the Belgian round of the FIM World MX2 Motocross Championship at Lommel to narrowly miss the overall podium.
The Welshman gated fourth in the first moto, passing teammate Henry Jacobi for third after just a few corners to set himself up for a highly-professional ride. Posting a series of consistent laps, a necessity in the demanding conditions which face riders in the deep sand, he consolidated third place to prepare for the decisive closing laps. He briefly surrendered a place to a local sand expert on the eleventh lap of sixteen as the duo closed dramatically on the rider who had held a race-long second place and within two laps Sterry had regained third, the position he then controlled comfortably to the finish. Race tactics during the exhausting second moto were decisive and Sterry held a solid seventh place for most of the race to remain in contention to deliver the final effort needed for the overall podium. The decisive moment came five laps from the finish as Sterry and Jacobi closed in on the two riders the Welshman needed to run down for the overall podium until Jacobi fell on the blind side of a jump; Sterry had no chance to miss his teammate’s bike and also fell. The incident cost Sterry fifteen seconds and, although he regained two positions before the finish, it was frustratingly just too little to claim a place on the GP podium; sixth in the moto left him fifth overall, just a single point shy of second on the day. He retains sixth place in the series standings.
Adam Sterry: “I was happy with my riding all weekend, but of course a little disappointed in the end as the podium was there until the crash in the second moto. I couldn’t see Henry’s bike on the ground as it was behind a jump and that crash cost me this podium. Again I missed it by one point, but I have to take the positives and I was happy with my starts and my riding.”
After a superb third-placed start in race one teammate Jacobi soon realised that he did not quite have the pace to live with the sand experts in their own backyard and sensibly settled into a pace at which he was comfortable and the tactic paid dividends as he avoided crashes to finish eighth. After another top-three start in race two he again soon settled into eighth place until that decisive moment five laps from the close when he briefly moved ahead of Sterry again, only to bury his front wheel in the soft landing zone over a sandy jump after losing drive on the take-off. Disorientated by the incident he was relegated to twelfth place in the moto and ninth overall but retains fifth place in the series standings.
Henry Jacobi: “I wasn’t feeling really good with the track in the first race; I had a good start but my race was really tough as I couldn’t find my rhythm and in the sand you lose so much power when the rhythm is not good. I got another good start in the second race and let some guys pass me as the goal was to have a good rhythm; mid-race I regained some positions until I stalled the bike in the take-off before a jump. I crashed, couldn’t start the bike so fast and could finish only twelfth. It could have been a better day!”
Bud Racing Kawasaki’s Mitchell Harrison was rewarded for his perseverence with twelfth overall from twelfth- and thirteenth-placed motos. The American had gated just inside the top ten in the first moto and raced consistently between thirteenth and fifteenth place throughout the moto before a final effort two laps from the end saw him advance to twelfth. A first lap fall in race two left him twenty-eighth initially but a race-long charge in the thirty-five-minute moto saw him advance to thirteenth at the finish. Teammate Brian Moreau advanced strongly from fifteenth to eleventh halfway through race one before crashing heavily on a jump when he landed short in the soft sand, but the French youngster recovered before the second moto to charge from thirteenth on lap one to finish eighth.
Darian Sanayei of Bike It DRT Kawasaki served notice that he is gradually regaining his strength after winter illness as he maintained a solid fourteeth place during the first half of race one before advancing strongly to tenth in the second half. A first lap fall after a mid-pack start in race two left the American last but his perseverance paid dividends as he advanced to seventeenth at the finish to secure fourteenth overall. His young Brazilian teammate Gustavo Pessoa was also rewarded for a gutsy ride in race two as he secured nineteenth place and two championship points in the closing stages after narrowly missing out in twenty-second in race one. F&H junior Marcel Conijn was equally rewarded with his first-ever world championship score in race one when he showed gritty perseverence to finish nineteenth after starting twenty-sixth.