KTM UK Report - Foxhill
Team KTM UK’s intrepid trio of motocross racers – Shaun Simpson, James Noble and Alex Snow – battled hard at the sixth round of the Maxxis British Motocross Championship held at Foxhill near Swindon. After a grueling day in sweltering hot conditions both Simpson and Noble finished on the podium and all three riders consolidated their series standings.
Simpson started the day nine points ahead in the MX2 championship chase after taking the lead at the last round - round five - in Desertmartin. Racing head-to-head with fellow championship contender Stephen Sword at Foxhill Shaun was very unlucky not to win at least one moto on the day after lapped riders and a final lap fall stopped the plucky Scotsman from extending his championship lead.
After finishing second to Sword in the opener after an exciting race-long battle, Shaun came out of the gate with all guns blazing in moto two. After taking the holeshot and holding the lead for 99 per cent of the race an untimely crash - just two corners from home - saw Shaun miss out on taking both the moto - and overall - win. Remounting to finish second behind Sword once more, Shaun now sits on a three point lead in the series with just two rounds – four motos – left to run.
Snow started the day in fine fashion by gating well and holding a top six position in the early part of race one. After losing his rhythm mid-moto Alex dropped several places but still ended the race 10th to add 11 points to his championship total. Things would not go so well for Alex in moto two as a fellow competitor launched his machine onto his left hand which promptly swelled up like a balloon during lap one of the 30-minute plus two lap moto. Unable to finish the race Alex had to be content with just one score on the day but still holds 12th in the MX2 championship.
In the MX1 division James Noble made things tough for himself in moto one by looping out on the start line. Undeterred, James got back on his steed and raced through the pack to a seventh place finish proving his speed and fitness are there even if his luck is not. After correctly engaging his start device in moto two James got a much better start – inside the top five – and was able to move his way to third quite quickly. Unable to catch the rider in front and under no threat from the riders behind, James settled for third place in the moto which netted the Yorkshireman third overall on the day and ensured he stayed second in the series standings.
The next outing for the KTM UK team is in the deep sand of Lommel where Alex Snow will hopefully join – if his hand injury isn’t too serious – his full-time GP colleagues at the Grand Prix of Belgium – round 11 of the FIM Motocross World Championship.
Roger Magee – KTM UK Team Manager
“Shaun rode two excellent races once again today. We knew that this circuit would perhaps suit Swordy as he’s able to practice just down the road but fair play to both of them for putting in two clean races – that’s what we want to see right until the end of the championship. I know Shaun’s gutted not to have taken the overall but that’s racing and he’ll just have to wait for another day.
“Alex had a great ride in the first race and ran as high as sixth before slipping back a few places. In the second race he was very unfortunate as another rider landed on his hand, he’s maybe broke a bone and he’ll have to get that checked out.
“James had an unfortunate first race where we think the start device unloaded as he went over the start gate and he ended up on his backside. He rode well to come back to seventh in that race and rode well in the second race to finish third and get third overall on the podium.
“Foxhill is an old-school type circuit with a very hard surface that if you crash on would be like rolling down a road. Everybody came out of today relatively unscathed and we’re looking forward to Lommel next week where Alex will hopefully be joining Shaun and James if his hand injury is not too bad.”
Shaun Simpson – MX2 2-2
“The first race was good. I passed Swordy to move into the lead and I put in some decent laps but I didn’t really pull out much of a gap – the track was really fast and it was difficult to make up time on the other riders. Swordy passed me back and even though I was right on his rear wheel at the end it just wasn’t enough and I finished second.
“In the second one I knew I just had to get out of the gate first and then put in some fast laps early on. I basically lead the race the whole way and I was feeling confident and even on the last lap I thought I had it in the bag but then I made a mistake. I’m not sure what happened on that corner, whether it was a lack of concentration or whether it was going to happen anyway. I just went in and the berm just blew out and I went down handing Swordy the win.
“I’m really disappointed and I’m sure it’ll take me a few weeks to get over it [laughs] but I’m going to keep my chin up. We have a tough GP coming up at Lommel and I’m gonna concentrate on and prepare for that then we’ve got the Czech Grand Prix at Loket and then after that I’m gonna come back swinging at Brampton to try and increase my points lead.”
James Noble – MX1 7-2
“The first race start was a disaster. I gassed it off the start and the rear wheel was spinning but as the front wheel hit the start gate the start device released – I don’t think I’d got it in the whole properly – and the front end lifted, I got drive and before I knew it I was on my backside in the dirt. I picked myself up and I tried to start the motor with the electric-start button but it wouldn’t go at first but then I discovered that the silencer was blocked with dirt – I cleared the debris and then the bike started fine. I just had to get my head down then and fight through to eighth – I was gifted seventh when TC DNFed.
“I got a much better start in moto two and from there it was just a case of finding a good rhythm and trying to get away with the leaders. I struggled to get around Bryan MacKenzie for a little while and then Brad came past me. He pulled away a little bit and I struggled to pull him back in – it’s easy to lose time around here but difficult to make it up – and I ended up finishing third in the race and third overall.”
Alex Snow – MX2 10-DNF
“The first race was pretty good. I got a pretty good start and I was running well for the first 10 minutes and then it’s like I hit a wall. It seems to happen a lot in the first moto to me where I lose my rhythm in the middle of the race. Everyone seemed to be running a similar pace in the first race and I ended up finishing 10th which isn’t too bad.
“On the first lap of moto two I was running inside the top 10 and a couple of the riders in front of me didn’t jump a double jump which meant it wasn’t safe for me to jump it either but one of the riders who was behind me decided to try and jump it regardless and he landed on my hand. It basically cost me the race because my hand was too painful for me to continue – it’s badly swollen and I’ll need an x-ray later to see if anything’s broken.”
MX1 Series Standings
1 Billy MacKenzie (Honda) 250 points, 2 James Noble (KTM) 211, 3 Brad Anderson (Suzuki) 206, 4 Mark Jones (Kawasaki) 193, 5 Wayne Smith (Yamaha) 179, 6 Tom Church (Kawasaki) 175, 7 Mark Eastwood (Honda) 132, 8 Bryan MacKenzie (Kawasaki) 110, 9 Mark Hucklebridge (Kawasaki) 110, 10 Jim Murro (Honda) 94
MX2 Series Standings
1 Shaun Simpson (KTM) 251 points, 2 Stephen Sword (Kawasaki) 248, 3 Martin Barr (Yamaha) 208, 4 Jason Dougan (Suzuki) 148, 5 Carl Nunn (Suzuki) 142, 6 Neville Bradshaw (Honda) 139, 7 Elliot Banks-Browne (Suzuki) 137, 8 Marcus Norlen (Suzuki) 112, 9 Lewis Gregory (Suzuki) 105, 10 Pascal Leuret (Suzuki) 103… 12 Alex Snow (KTM) 84