Kevin Strijbos is, of course, no stranger to the joys and vagaries of the classic motocross track that is Hawkstone Park. Since the early days that he first stuck up his hand as an international level rider he’s been a regular visitor to the international season opener at the venue. Now, a few years on, and leading the British Championships, there was no doubt at all that he would make an appearance at a track that has generally treated him well.
The Maxxis British championship series had been a ding-dong battle before between Kevin and Latvian Matiss Karro. Kevin delivered a masterful performance at the previous round of the series to recapture the championship lead, and with Karro out for a protracted period of time due to injury, the road to the chequered flag had become significantly smoother for the Belgain. Not that he would have things all his own way, mind. There are a good number of classy, GP-level riders in the championship run, and motocross being the unforgiving sport that it is, no one would hesitate in the slightest if the opportunity arises to push him off the top of the heap. Chief of the opposition is Shaun Simpson, no stranger himself to pulling a bike’s throttel the right way wiht a fair dose on enthusiasm.
It was indeed Simpson who fired the early shots during the event, clocking the fastest qualifying time, a whisker under half a second faster than Kevin. The Belgian turned the tables during the Superpole session though, and hauled the fastest lap his way, to ensure a prime pick of a starting gate come race time.
The first two races consituted a demonstration of Kevin’s flawless domination of this series of late. He had plenty of holeshot vitamins in his breakfast cereal, this much was clear, as he blasted out of the gates in the lead on both occasions and rode to unchallenged victory, the first race ahead of Simpson, and the second time ahead of Max Anstie.
Just when it seemed as if the scorers might as well print Kevin’s number 22 at the top of the lap charts for the rest of the season, he did show that he was, after all, human in race three. A duff start dropped him to eighth, and he had to cut and thrust his way through the field ahead of him. Still, he was focused on one thing and one thing only, namely the first prize, and though it took him a while to dispose of some spirited opposition, he charged into the lead again with a few laps to go, completing his full-house of points for the day.
Seventy five points to the good, Kevin has increased his championship lead by leaps and bounds. This is put him in the right frame of mind for his next world championship outing at Loket in the Czech Republic next weekend. This is the scene of one of his GP victories, and with a number of world championship podium finishes to his credit so far this season, a win would not be unwelcome in the HM Plant KTM camp.
Reporting by Tinus Nel