HM Plant Red Bull KTM UK’s Jake Nicholls put in a superb performance yesterday at Foxhill, Swindon for round five of the British MX2 Championship with a 1-1-2 result to take the overall honours and has closed down the gap on the series lead, while newly employed Alex Erikson put in a strong showing for his first outing with the team.
In practice both Nicholls and arch-rival Zach Osbourne crashed in a similar spot, but relatively unscathed the HM Plant Red Bull KTM pilot took pole position in qualifying one, with Erikson securing 16th on the gate. In the superpole session Nicholls finished in second place behind Martin Barr, putting him in good stead for the day’s races.
In the opening moto Nicholls demonstrated a perfect gate-to-flag win, after clinching the holeshot and riding a calculated race around the hardpack Foxhill track. Meanwhile Erikson, who stepped into the team only this weekend in replacement of the injured Graeme Irwin, recovered from a steady start to finish in a promising 19th position.
Race two was similar to the first for Nicholls as he stormed out of the gate to a second holeshot and controlled the race from the front. The 20-year-old came under some pressure towards the mid-stages of the race from Martin Barr, but was able to fend off his competitor’s attacks to take his second win of the day in style aboard his KTM 250 SX-F. Erikson made good progress after a steady start and the Swedish racer completed the race in 20th place.
In the third and final race of the day it was Erikson who impressed by rocketing out of the gate to take HM Plant Red Bull KTM’s third holeshot of the day, while Nicholls didn’t get the best of starts as another rider came across him, leaving the KTM pilot in 11th place after the opening lap. Nicholls fought back, and was already in sixth position by lap three of the 20-minute plus two-lap moto, while Erikson found his rhythm amongst the front-runners.
Nicholls really got the hammer down, and spectacularly raced his way into third position behind Bryan Mackenzie by lap five where he remained until he made a dive for second place in the final half of the final lap to take a superb overall win for the HM Plant Red Bull KTM team. This has certainly been an important day for Nicholls, as he has brought down Osbourne’s championship advantage to just seven points with three rounds to go. Erikson also enjoyed a strong third race to finish in 13th position and 17th overall at his first ever British Championship event.
The team will now head to Belgium for sand training ahead of next weekend’s Grand Prix at the notorious Lommel track for round 11 of the MX2 World Championship.
Jake Nicholls #45: 1st Overall
“Qualifying started well and I posted the fastest lap by over 1.6 seconds. I then made a couple changes and went out to do another fast lap nearing the end of the session as caught my foot on the top of a jump while trying to scrub speed and landed very awkwardly on the back of my head and neck. I got up straight away but saw stars for a while and felt quite ill. I managed to get out on track again for the superpole lap, which I rode smoothly on and got second place. The first race I got a great start but I lost the back end slightly due to heavy watering on the track and I rode over my ankle which was very sore, but I put my head down and rode a good steady race from start to finish and really found my feet again. The second race again I got a great start by holeshoting again. My lines were not so good at the start of the race and I had a great battle for a little while with Barr, but then I figured out my lines and rode better towards the end. In the last race I lifted a bit coming of the gate and lost a bit of drive allowing (Mel) Pocock to move over on me, which put me into the orange post that became temporarily stuck in the side of my bike. I put my head down to charge through and I really enjoyed myself; Wayne made some good changes with the suspension and I choose a different tyre, which paid dividends and I came from 12th or so all the way to 2nd on the last lap. I’m real happy to win the overall and to be within 7 points of Zach in the championship, it was a great day for the team and all my friends and family.”
Alex Erikson #261: 17th Overall
“It has been great to have the opportunity to ride the HM Plant Red Bull KTM UK machine. Today was about getting used to the bike and also working with the team, and the staff. It’s been a good learning curve and by the third race I felt good, especially taking the holeshot. I really like the bike and it’s been a great experience to race here, although I was nervous in the beginning, as I wasn’t sure what to expect. Now I will head to Belgium to do some training in the sand ahead of the Grand Prix next weekend, which I’m really looking forward to.”
Roger Magee: HM Plant Red Bull KTM UK Team Manager
“Today has certainly been very successful for us with Jake riding very well and also welcoming Alex into the team. Jake did have a crash in practice but thankfully he was okay, whereas (Zach) Osbourne, who crashed in the same place, wasn’t quite so lucky. In the first race Jake holeshotted and controlled the race from the front. In race two he did the same, and responded well to pressure from Martin Barr mid-race to take his second win. In the third race another rider came across him off the start and he came around outside the top ten. In true gritty Jake style he rode hard all the way through, and made a last gasp pass on Bryan Mackenzie for second place in the final race to take the overall win. He rode really well today, and is now just seven points behind the championship lead, so all in all it’s been very positive today. Alex made it three holeshots out of three for the team as he got a super start in the final race, and rode well considering he has only ridden the bike a little last week. He was quite nervous but his pace was good, so it’s a promising start. We’re now heading to Belgium to prepare for Lommel next weekend where we hope we can continue with this confidence and form.”