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Mister Vee
09-12-2006, 03:19 AM
Brilliant sunshine, high temperatures and hard racing were the order of the day at the final round of the Moto GB British Supermotard Championship held at Snetterton Circuit near Thetford. Although Sam Warren (Aprilia UK) had already wrapped up the Overall Championship title at Pembrey two weeks ago, all the individual class titles were up for grabs and in many cases, the battles went down to the wire with the winners only being decided after the respective final races of the series. The ultimate role of honour is as follows:

Challenge Class Champion: Kevin Ridley KTM 450
SM3 Class Champion: Raoul Spangenberg Kawasaki 250
SM2 Class Champion: Ricky Higgs Honda 450
SM1 Class Champion: Sam Warren Aprilia 550
Overall Champion: Sam Warren Aprilia 550

SM1 Sam Warren (UK Aprilia 550) had just one thing on his mind in SM1 and that was 1 point. This was all that separated him from a second 2006 British title and although it may have been tempting to play it cool and aim for a points finish, Warren finished his season in style with pole position in qualifying, two SM1 race wins and the fastest lap of the day. Although the results indicate a whitewash, the reality was that Warren had to work extremely hard for his honours with Keith Farmer (Wulfsport SMR Husaberg 650), Andy Mitchell (DCR Husaberg 650) and Ady Smith (UK KTM 660) who all at some point, took the battle to the new double British Champion. Farmer came the closest to an upset, leading Warren for some time in race 2 until an error allowed Warren to assume his now regular position at the head of the field, although Mitchell too also applied pressure at every opportunity during his duels with the Aprilia rider. Ultimately Warren proved that although the Aprilia 550 and indeed, his whole team set-up were new for this season, he genuinely has the talent to return to the Grand Prix scene with renewed confidence and dice with the World’s best.

SM2 Ricky Higgs (Honda 450) is another rider who like Warren, has never won a British title before. His strategy for Snetterton was different in that he had organised his race plan for a ‘points finish’ in race 1 and then hopefully with the pressure gone, an all out attack in race 2, he eventually claimed a 4th & a 3rd respectively. This was perhaps quite fortunate as on the day, nobody had an answer to the speed of flying Frenchman Mickael Zammit (MW Racing CRF 450). Zammit also claimed pole position and two race wins, but even this was not enough to stop Higgs claiming the title after race 1. Jochen Jasinski (Moto Supplies Husqvarna 450) had good weekend with two second places despite still riding with a knee injury, whilst Nigel Scott (Aprilia 450) also proved his form at Pembrey was no fluke as he just missed the podium with a 3rd and 4th place. Newcomer to this level of competition Jack Grover (Honda 450) shocked many people with his 5th place in qualifying but then made a bid for crash of the series after a spectacular coming together with the fast chicane at Coram corner. He recovered to bravely finish both races albeit a little worse for wear!

SM3 & Challenge In the Challenge class, Scott Woodacre (Aprilia 450) went to Snetterton needing just a handful of points to claim victory over season long arch rival Kevin Ridley (KTM 450), but it wasn’t to be, as he suffered a DNF with an exhaust problem in race one and then with 3 laps to go of the final race and with one hand on the trophy, he suffered another DNF with a fuelling problem thus handing the title to Ridley by 4 points. Paul Wilby (Honda 450) took two easy wins in the class at Snetterton, but didn’t figure in the title chase as Snetterton was his first foray at British Championship level! Paul Rhodes (Aprilia 450) did enough to keep 3rd position in the series ahead of Stuart Jones (KTM) who scooped 3rd place on the day.

In SM3, Colin Spink (Suzuki 250) won both races at Snetterton, but still finished in runner up position to Namibian Ex-Pat Raoul Spangenberg (Kawasaki 250) who clinched the class title by just 9 points. These two riders, together with Lee Cunliffe (sadly missing at Snetterton having to ride in the KTM Junior Cup in Germany) have provided some outstanding entertainment in 2006 and have underlined why countries like France successfully run a 125/250 series to enable young riders to get started in Supermoto. Watch for some exciting news on SM3 early next year.

Superfinal With all the titles sewn up before this race, the last Superfinal of the series was an opportunity for all the riders to have a no holds barred, nothing to lose, out and out conflict. From the start Sam Warren and Andy Mitchell put on an excellent demonstration of high speed, synchronised sliding as they tussled for the lead. The crowds were deprived of a grandstand finish after Mitchell suffered an untimely puncture leading to retirement, just as he seemed ready to pass Warren on the off-road section. Behind this battle, Jasinski held a slender lead to claim 2nd place from Lee Jones (Husaberg 650) and Matt Pope (Aprilia 550) whose battle ended when Pope ran on at the esses leaving Jones untroubled on his way to his first and well deserved Moto GB Podium.

Highlights of the season’s final race from Snetterton race will be shown on Motors TV at 8.30pm on Friday 22nd September. Further details of broadcasts (including broadcast repeats) may be found on www.motorstv.com

Details of the 2007 Moto GB British Supermotard Championship will be publicized on www.motogb.net early in 2007.