With great delight riders and teams gathered at Three Sisters Circuit on the 24th – 25th April for the opening round of the 2021 British Supermoto Championship.
Clear skies and dry conditions met the riders on day one, which would place no doubt in the minds of competitors in respect to tyre choices. The stunning Wigan circuit was still fresh from its Winter break and both the tarmac and off-road sections offered the perfect environment for fast and close racing.
Competitors were adorned in fresh leathers and gleaming bikes, all eager to get out on track and embark on the first milestone of the 2021 Championship.
Day one, National Championship round would witness riders acquiring themselves with the circuit and in particular the off road sections, which after a spell of dry weather and regrading developed a repeating cloud of dust as competitors in masses cascaded down the these sections prior to re-entering the tarmac.
Qualifying underway and the first opportunity for riders in the A National Class to benchmark themselves against fellow competitors after the long Winter lay off and it would be Chris Hodgson (Automotive Solutions Husqvarna) clinching pole from Todd (Worthington Honda) and Bannon (Dave Clarke Racing Husqvarna). Just three hundredths of a second split the first three places, which shows that even after the break from riding the top contenders were still very much on the pace.
The following three main A races of the day would see Todd seal a hat trick of wins. Race one by a small margin of just 3 seconds from Bannon. Race two by 10.9 seconds from Jay Smith (HGR Honda) which would see Bannon and Hodgson taken down in the off-road section by tyres / circuit markers drawn onto the circuit. Rounding off the day Jay Smith certainly was on the pace and pushing hard. However, mid corner on Lunar Bend and with the potential for a slingshot down the back straight Smith high sided leaving Todd to disappear into the spring sunshine to claim the final win of the day eventually crossing the line by 10.3 seconds ahead of second place Oliver Pope (Trevor Pope Racing).
Saturday night and the paddock looked under threat from a serious fire from the adjoining industrial estate, which illuminated the skyline as fire crews fought to bring the blaze under control. Thankfully, this was accomplished, and no reports of any casualties involved was welcome news as Sunday’s race schedule was about to get underway.
Similar conditions to day one greeted riders, however with a slight breeze any lying dust would soon be dispersed giving a clearer view for riders, especially those further down the pack.
With limitations on spectators and COVID19 regulations being adhered to by all in attendance it was a welcome development to see that for the first time ‘Live Feeds’ of the action would be beamed to those at home via the NoraSport Media Team.
Sunday race schedule for the ACU British Supermoto Championship has a different format which includes a Superpole Shoot out (top five qualifying riders), plus for the last race of the day a reverse grid format (top eight).
The five riders qualifying for Superpole certainly didn’t fail to deliver excitement and setting the very early pace was Richard Sharp (Bathmate Husqvarna) with a 1.15.325 and as he sat patiently in the holding area observing the four other qualifying riders it looked very much like he had grasped the front row position.
Hodgson, Pope, Smith all took their turn and finally Todd who would put in a blistering lap of 1:13.647 taking pole from Richard by just 0.688 of a second.!
Race one and pole setter Todd along with Sharpe would break away from the chasing pack. Following behind Bannon, Pope, Hodgson and Smith would soon be change when entering the off-road section Pope lost the front, clipping Bannon and causing the Trevor Pope KTM rider to fall. This left the hard charging Bannon to set his sights on narrowing the gap between himself and Sharpe but at the raising of the chequered flag it would again be the Worthington Honda rider Todd who would claim the win from Sharpe and Bannon in third place.
Race two, and little did the onlooking teams know that they were about to witness one of the most thrilling races seen for some time.
The front row consisting of Sharpe, Bannon and Todd would see the beginning of a monumental battle once the starting lights extinguished and it would be Bannon and Todd who changed places in less than a bike length gap all race long. Outbreaking manoeuvres were demonstrated at all parts of the circuit and the Dave Clarke Racing Rider and the Worthington Honda Rider capitalised upon any small mistake made to take the lead. It was clear to see the respect and trust of each of the riders as some high speed overtakes could be seen and as the chequered flag was prepared Bannon used his usually slingshot style and corner exit speed to hold off Todd and claimed the win by less than half a bike length.
Preparing for race three and the reverse grid it would be Bannon down in eighth spot, with Todd in seventh just ahead. With the front row being occupied by Hardy (HGR) Blakeman (Fat n Fast) and Duncan (Trevor Pope Racing).
As soon as the lights went out Todd seen the opportunity to go right through the middle of the pack and by the first corner had flown from seventh to second..! The Worthington Honda rider was in no mood to hang around and soon took the lead and opened a significant gap from the chasing riders. The lead was maintained leaving Bannon, Smith, Hodgson and Sharpe to contend for the remaining positions but at the conclusion it would be Todd crossing the line 7.582 seconds ahead of Bannon.
As riders now catch their breath it is just a few days until round two takes place at Teesside Autodrome on the 1st and 2nd of May and one can be sure that as Todd is on home ground at his local circuit he will be looking to maintain his lead of both National and ACU Championship titles, but don’t be fooled……if the racing just witnessed at Three Sisters is anything to go by there are plenty of other riders who will be aiming to take the top podium positions.
Covid 19 - the event at Teesside is a NON Spectator event.
Don’t forget, you can register to view the live action from the circuit (Sunday A races only at this point) via www.tv.norasport.co.uk FREE to register and FREE to watch.
Image Credits - Geoff Brooks NoraSport Media