The tenth round of the Monster Energy Arenacross UK Tour saw the LPE and SJR Kawasaki teams head to their local round of the series at Sheffield. After a mixed night at the previous round in Newcastle, both teams were looking for strong results in front of their local fans. Due to a clash of dates, French rider Xavier Boog was unable to attend and replaced by fellow Frenchman Jason Clermont covering.
The day started well with the practice and qualifying sessions, in the opening practice session all four riders headed out on track in the same group with Jack Brunell second fastest, Florent Richier third, fifth fastest was Julien Bill with newcomer Jason Clermont in seventh. In the qualifying session all four riders speed improved and lap times saw them move up the leader board with Jack in fourth, Florent in fifth, Julien in ninth and Jason in twelfth overall.
Following strong qualifying sessions both teams looked forward to the night show and challenging for podium finishes in the Main event. The night started with the opening heat races and in heat one both Richier and Bill suffered tough races and finished in fifth and sixth respectively. The second heat race of the night saw Brunell take the early lead but had to chase down series leader Cedric Soubeyras to finish in a solid second at the end with Clermont in fifth.
The second set of heat races would see Richier claim a hard earned second place behind Ramette while Brunell suffered a tough race after starting in fourth and then crashing heavily and finished a lap down and in seventh place which would see him have to face the LCQ. The fourth and final heat race saw both Clermont and Bill struggle to make ground after bad starts and finished in fifth and sixth places sending both riders to the LCQ.
In the LCQ race Brunell took the holeshot and rode solid to claim the win and the all-important transfer spot to the Main event ahead of LPE Kawasaki’s Clermont in second, whilst unfortunately Bill suffered a crash and finished ninth but would transfer to the Main via the ‘Promoters Choice’.
Next up was the ‘Head to Head’ races but Richier would go out in the opening round and miss out on the championship points.
After the mixed results earlier in the night all four riders were looking to end the night on a high in the Main event. When the gate dropped Brunell started in eighth place and would move up to seventh at the finish ahead Richier in ninth, Bill in tenth and Clermont in eleventh.
Also competing at Sheffield was young Jimmy Margetson in the Pro Lites class and after qualifying third fastest Jimmy was looking to produce two solid results in the main races. The first race of the day would see Margetson race to a great second place finish behind newly crowned champion Joe Clayton. Margetson was looking to repeat the performance the second main event when he was running third with a corner to go when unfortunately the bike stopped and he would suffer a DNF.
Both teams now head to London in two weeks’ time where they will be looking to secure second with LPE and third with SJR if possible in the Team Championship to round the season off on a high.
Jack Brunell – SJR Kawasaki – The weekend started well I was 2nd in time practice and as we only done one time training session because the track didn’t hold together. So I had 4th overall time I was happy with that. Going into the heats I had second gate pick and took the holeshot was leading most the race and ended up 2nd. Heat two I was about 4th and on the second corner I got hit and went down. Picked up my bike and come from the back then a few laps into the race I made a mistake in the whoops and ended up having a big crash and flying off the track. That meant I had to go to the LCQ, in the LCQ I got the holeshot and won that. The main event I gated 8th and ended up 7th but couldn’t pass on the track so wasn’t happy with that result.
Julien Bill – SJR Kawasaki – My weekend in Sheffield wasn’t what I expected. I know I have the speed and I felt comfortable on my bike but I couldn’t put all the pieces of the puzzle together. 1st heat I had the start but made too many mistakes then in the 2nd heat I missed my jump out of the gate but pushed through at the end. In LCQ I crashed but got into the main event on second line but rode well and realised my rhythm was pretty good as I could see the front guys were not much faster than me. So I now head into London confident and super motivated, I can’t wait!
Florent Richier – LPE Kawasaki – the weekend was not the greatest for me. The track surface was very slippery which made it very difficult all night to get good grip and make passes. In the first heat in was stuck in traffic and then suffered some contact with Chatfield and finished fifth. Then the second heat I finished in second and then in the Head to Head I had a crash and went out in the first round. Then in the Main event after starting in fourth in started to suffer a problem with my brakes following the earlier crash with Chatfield and that caused me to slip back to ninth at the finish. So I’m really annoyed about the result and will be going to London for the final round looking to give it everything I have to try and take the last victory of the series.
Jason Clermont – LPE Kawasaki – This weekend was a good experience, but it was also really tough as all the riders are at such a high level as it’s nearly the end of the series. The track also made it really hard to go fast without making mistakes, although I was making progress with every session on track. In the Main event I missed the jump and struggled to make any progress forward so was disappointed to finish in 11th.
Steve James – LPE and SJR Kawasaki Team Manager – Well the day started off well with all four of the Pro riders qualifying well Jack 4th, Flo 5th, Julien 9th and new rider Jason in 12th also in the Pro lites young Jimmy was looking great in practice and qualifying going into the non-public race. Jimmy had an awesome ride and finished a brilliant 2nd to Joe Clayton, it was an awesome ride and gave Jimmy loads of confidence going into the evening show. Unfortunately after that everything went pear shape! Sheffield is one of my favourites for many reasons it’s always a fantastic atmosphere and usually sells out and with it been our local round we get lots of support from family and friends which is great but this weekend it just wasn’t to be. In the heat races Flo had a bad first one but a strong 2nd place in his second heat which put him straight through to the main event and the Head to Head but Jack, Julien and Jason weren’t so lucky and they unfortunately all had to go through to the LCQ.The track was so hard to pass on so if you didn’t get a good start it was very difficult to come through and push hard without making mistakes or crashing. There were a few incidents in the heats which cost both Julien and Jason and Jack had a pretty big crash and was lucky not to be seriously hurt but he got back on and finished! In the LCQ Jack took the win from Jason in 2nd putting them both in the final but Julien was unfortunate to get taken out but got the Promoters choice putting him in the final. In the Head to Head Flo was up against Coulon, Flo made a good start and was leading it but he went into a corner too hot and went down, with Cyrille also going down with him but Cyrille got up first and that was us out. The second Pro Lites race is the important one in front of the whole crowd, Jimmy didn’t get the best jump on the start but battled the whole race and came through in 3rd but with one corner to go and a definite podium when the bike stopped. I just couldn’t believe it, I was totally gutted for him as the result was in the bag and would have been so good for him to climb on to the podium in front of all those people. Last up was the Main Event Pro Final and with all four riders in the final of 11 riders the odds where we should hopefully have the chance of Jack or Flo battling for a place on the podium or the win if they got the start because both had the speed, but Unfortunately it just wasn’t to be, Flo started in 2nd but ran into a few problems and went back down the order while Jack, Julien and Jason got bad starts and had to battle through all race with Jack getting up to 7th with Flo, Julien and Jason all finishing behind him in 9th 10th and 11th. Not what we wanted and not where we needed to be but it is what it is and that’s racing as they say. But just to top our unlucky weekend off Jack crashed pretty hard and hurt his wrist, we just thought he’d hurt it. Only to find out on Sunday after x-rays that he had broken his scaphoid. You just couldn’t write it but Jack is a tough kid and will ride if he can but it all depends on how he feels leading up to Wembley