2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014
25th April 2018
So following on from the hectic AMA event it was onto Circuit de Bresse for round one of the S1 Prestige Championships. Luton to Geneva was much more pleasant than normal but that wasn't to last as it took longer to get the rental car than the flight took to get there. Mind you the drive through the foothills of the snow covered Alps just about made up for the delay. It was good to meet up with all of the RAW Motorsports guys and get back into the swing of things. The truck/awning complex is an impressive affair and is a great base for the 3 day event. First things first and it was unwrap the freshly reworked FTR Ohlins/Andreani forks, fit them and then with just enough time for a couple of 20 minute practice sessions it was time for our first meal of the season with the team. It’s always a great atmosphere at meal times and it soon became obvious that over the winter Lew and Dave still hadn't picked up anything other than very basic French, the good news is that Eddy, Steve and Loic Pasco plus Moto Verte's Jordan Labbe and Maxime all speak good English whilst Marion and JJ get by with basic English.
All in all though it’s a good place to be for a race weekend. Lew was bushed from jet-lag and a couple of very early work days (plus a 3am trip to the airport) so he managed to get a whole 10 hours sleep in the truck. Prepping the bike for first practice meant using a new rear tyre as we just didn't have anything else to use. In hindsight we should had kept the C compound rubber for the races. The brakes had lost their bite so a new set of pads cured that problem. During qualifying a fuel line split and luckily the result wasn't anything worse than losing the last few laps but the fix took much longer. The reason being was that the DvR pipes require a longer fuel line which we didn't have, so it was back on with the stock exhaust system for race one. A good start from 6th on the grid and after trading a few places Lewis was looking good and running in a pack chasing 4th spot. After less than 15 minutes it was clear that Lew was suffering from lack of rear end traction as the rear wheel spun up and lost drive. The soft B compound tyre had called it a day and simply melted under the frantic pace……despite this a 4th quickest lap time was encouraging.
This track is open for supermoto practice at regular intervals and so the locals really know this place and put in hours of training, on the other hand it was Lew's first trip to this unique circuit because last season he was rushed in for emergency appendix surgery and so missed this race. So 7th in race one was tough to live with but considering the problems and lack of track time it wasn't so bad. Race two and another new rear tyre went in, this time a medium C compound. Again a good start and was up in 5th spot but this didn't last more than half a lap, settling into 7th place but very close to 4th spot it looked like Lewis was biding his time but he did loose time towards race end and drop off the pace. As he came into the paddock it was clear he wasn't a happy bunny and the reason wasn't hard to see. The rear brake had lost all hydraulic pressure on the warm up lap so he had somehow managed to run a very good pace and stay in contention with no rear brake whatsoever. He said it wasn't so much a problem on the tarmac but the fast dirt berms and downhill sections he was riding on the edge so decided to back off and take a safe 6th spot at the flag.
So not what Lewis was hoping for but running at this pace with this standard of rider with major problems was a great effort. Talking of which, Steve Pasco had dropped down from S1 to compete in S3 (125) and took the overall victory thanks to a runner up spot in the first race and a win in race two. His TMRacing Factory tuned 125 stroker is blessed with over 42 genuine bhp which requires refrigerated race fuel to run at its best. Well done mate!
Unluckiest RAW teamster was Eddy who suffered from injury for most of 2016 and was determined to be 100% for the start of the 2017 season. But at the Loheac testing 3 weeks earlier he'd broken his hand so he had almost no bike time before round 1. Then it went from bad to worse, on lap one of practice Eddy face planted real hard off the last big dirt jump and tore the ligaments in his knee which means surgery and another year sat on the side lines…….GWS Eddy and can we still rob parts off your bike at the next one?
20th April 2017
Well the season has finally kicked off and first outing was the AMA Supermoto Championship at Kern County Raceway, Bakersfield, California and it all came about pretty last minute but thankfully Michelle at the ACU came to the rescue with AMA start permission/insurance for the five round series. The DRT guys in the States pulled some strings and as soon as the International payment from Sime at Tekmo Racing went through, the TM factory dropped everything and built the new race bike complete with 'Factory' upgrades. Ohlins TTX fork and rear shock, billet linkage, full GP spec Brembo brake, 16" front Alpina (plus spare wheels) and it was decided to use the TM slipper clutch and spec the bike with an electric start. Within 24 hours the bike was built up, crated, delivered to the Fedex cargo terminal and sitting in a bonded warehouse in LAX.
Amazing to think that it was as quick and as simple as that, however by the time Lew had took his flight and met up with Steve and Alex it was a more than a week later that the bike was finally released from USA customs and this was less than 24 hours before the race. Ralf, owner of TM Racing USA helped build up and set up the bike. SM Projects supplied a custom billet clutch cover, axle blocks etc. and once the LR Design graphics were carefully applied the bike was transferred into the official Tekmo Racing TM450-SMX AMA race bike.
Running in was a rather hurried affair and obviously the motor felt tight for first practice at Kern County Raceway the following day. British handmade, custom leathers company DRC had also got behind Lew's 2017 season and produced a stunning set of Tekmo TM race leathers but unfortunately the guaranteed 24 hour express delivery failed to deliver and so he ended up using USA style MX kit kindly provided by Circuit Equipment. The biggest kit sponsor for the season, Just 1 helmets came up with a pair of stunning top line carbon/kevlar race helmets with the promise of a full factory contract for the rest of 2017. Practice and qualifying went well at the Nascar circuit and used the banked turns as well as the infield before jumping over the banking and onto some pukka dirt sections. Then the circuit came back into the infield through an access tunnel and it wasn't long before Lewis was getting the hang of his new bike and following a few adjustments he put the bike on the front row during qualifying.
The weather was warm a little windy with the threat of rain later in the day but luckily race one kicked off fine and Lewis had a good start off the line. He tried going around the outside of AMA triple champ Gage MacAllister but Lew's hand guard tagged the local lad's front tyre and Lewis crashed to the ground. As the pack took off he found himself in dead last place but as the laps wound down he passed rider after rider on the way to a disappointing (by his own standards) 7th place at the flag.
With the only damage done to his once pristine riding kit it wasn't long before the riders gridded up for race two. Now starting from 7th on the grid Lew gunned his TM off the line and quickly took several riders in the early mayhem. Battling through the dirt sections he picked up another place and it wasn't long before he was up in a podium placing. With the leader long gone Lewis decided not to risk anything by making a move too early which would allow his second placed rival to try another pass before race end. So on the last lap he had sussed out where it was safest to make the pass which was on the last corner before the finishing line. Hitting the gas hard the back end lost drive but Lew kept his head down and sat on the rear fender he crossed the line mere inches behind the runner up spot.
Still it was a great ride and showed that Lewis was a genuine contender, spraying AMA Podium champagne isn't something many riders can say that they have enjoyed and as he celebrated thoughts turned to what could had been if he'd stayed upright in race one.
That evening the DRT Racing team cut loose at a line-dancing local bar and Lewis shared a beer with fellow Brit Chris Hodgson, Alex his brother Dan, Steve and Addison but it was soon time to return home and back to reality. It had been an amazing trip, the race result and lap times showed that as long as he didn't have any further bad luck Lewis could be a title contender. However with little or no rest it was soon straight back to work before a 3am start the following Friday for the French Championship opening round at Circuit de Bresse aboard his RAW Motorsport TM…….more of which next time.
24th March 2017
Letter from America
Some things just spring from nowhere and the amazing offer for Lewis to head Stateside to compete in the AMA Supermoto Championships was one of these occasions. Just before Christmas, at the last round of the FIM Asia Supermoto Championships at Shah Alam, Steve Alkyer competing under the DRT Racing banner chatted about racing in the USA and mentioned that he could find a bike for Lewis to compete in a round. 10 years ago aged 14 Lew had raced in the Stateline National near Vegas aboard a CRF150, it was a real eye opener and a totally different way of racing supermoto that we were used too. Big dirt sections and short simple tarmac seemed the way the Yanks run events which combined with full travel 'soft' suspension and plenty of glitz and glamour seemed a world away from Blyton and Three Sisters.
Anyway as this winter was spent stripping the race bike and getting the motor overhauled by TM guru Dzinters at Motodroms, Riga and the suspension sorted by James at FTR. Plans were full steam ahead for a return to the superb French Championships under the RAW Motorsport umbrella and sponsorships were being confirmed whilst Lewis was keeping in shape at B Well Gym and regular mountain bike/MX training.
Then almost out of the blue whilst organising Lewis' Just 1 helmet deal, DRT Racing's Alex Mock brought up the AMA Championships and mentioned that he could get Lewis on the start line……not just for a one off race but for the whole five round series and was he interested? Well despite the obvious logistical and funding issues Lewis couldn't turn down such an opportunity and jumped at the chance. TM USA and TM Racing Italy also confirmed some interest which resulted in the promise of a subsidised full spec 2017 TM450-SMX plus parts and technical support.
Latest sponsor Tekmo Racing who produce stunning carbon/kevlar parts for dirt bikes and street bikes were only to keen to be involved and head man Simon Rushbrooke financed the bike with the option of shipping it to Asia after the last AMA race. Obviously the French Championships is still very much on and the only sticking point is the August date clash between showcase event Alpe d'Huez and the street circuit race in Quebec, Canada. I guess this tough decision will have to be made nearer the time depending on points standings in both championships.
Obviously the travel expenses are huge for the AMA but with decent prize money up for grabs it’s hoped that this will help offset some of the costs in the AMA. With Michelin back on board with Lewis after a few year's gap at least the tyre bill will be reduced and plans are to ship the rubber in hold luggage for each event apart from round one in Bakersfield, California on April 8th.
Other welcome support has come from British company DRC Leathers who's bespoke custom race leathers really are a quality item especially fitted with Forcefield armoured protection. Jay and his lad Riley are a couple of supermoto nuts and have come up trumps with a 'trick' set of leathers made exactly to Lewis' requirements. LR Designs offered to supply a set of custom graphics for the TM plastics and also race vests to match the DRC leathers. So the Tekmo Racing DRT TM450-SMX will be looking its very best once it’s been through the DRT Racing shop to be prepped for round one. British company Venhill are providing cables, hoses, Magura handlebars etc. for both the USA and French bikes and Essex based Holroyd have also supplied several sets of customised tyre warmers for the season.
So with plans suddenly changed before the season has even kicked off, what was going to be a busy season anyway has turned into the most hectic year ever. The season's opening race for Lewis is Bakersfield followed a week later by round one of the French Championships in La Bresse. It’s hoped that lessons learned racing in the ultra-tough French series last season will really help Lewis to be competitive and fighting for the AMA title but we know virtually nothing about the American supermoto scene apart from young hot shot, three times AMA champ Gage McAllister is a class act and no doubt his rivals are pretty handy too. What we do know is that fellow Brit Chris Hodgson and Aussie Andy McLeish will be racing AMA so Lewis know what to expect there. Anyway one thing's for sure 2017 will be a truly memorable season and Lewis has his eyes on the AMA top prize………….wish him luck and keep an eye out for regular reports for France and the USA.
18th February 2017
2017 The Toughest Season So Far!
Well the news for the season has certainly been getting better and better over the last week or so. Lewis and RAW Motorsport are to continue their relationship in the French S1 Prestige championships for 2017 once again with PX5 Cobra kitted TM450-SMX race bikes. It was a great season last year racing in what most observers agree is the toughest championship in the supermoto world. Despite missing the season opener due to emergency surgery Lewis quickly showed his pace at the following round in Mirecourt by finishing in 4th place. Throughout the season the team gelled and it became clear that despite learning all the new tracks, Lewis would simply get faster and faster as the race weekend went on. Also it was good to see that a stock engine in the TM450-SMX was a match for most of the big budget team bikes in terms of performance.
The trip to Latina to race a Teknoteka bike was another eye opener as most for the top European S2 and S1 riders made an appearance. Once again Lewis was in at the deep end but showed his pace on another new track and also a new bike as he took 6th spot in the final. It’s not just the unfamiliar tracks that take some getting used to but the long drives and long days traveling plus also adapting to the French way of life. Paperwork difficulties, logistical problems, officialdom. French food and wine plus the usually relentless hot summer days and GP length races all require a different approach to racing. It’s certainly been a learning curve for Lewis, dad Dave, mechanic Lee and photographer Ryan but this will put the small party of Brits on the front foot for 2017.
So with a great year promised in France it was also amazing news for Lewis to be offered a ride in the European S2 Championships, this time racing a PZ5 Cobra team bike which will be very similar spec to his French machine. This season, S1 riders will also be permitted to race S2 so no doubt about it this really will be the toughest European Championship year ever. Lewis' Latina result last season shows that he can take on and beat plenty of the sports S2 top names and so despite another steep learning curve he's certainly not overwhelmed by the task ahead.
A small point but to Lewis and his team a big deal is that for 2017 his bike and race leathers can once again sport Lewis' trademark number 8. In both the French and European Championships he has been allocated his lucky 8 which Lewis has used since he started racing (aged 12) alongside his WIRE Yamaha hero Swiss Danni Muller who also used 8 as his race number.
No doubt this will be an even more hectic year than ever but as ever it’s a big thanks to sponsors and supporters without whom this simply wouldn't be possible.
8th January 2017
First things first and a very Happy New Year and best wishes for the 2017 season from all at CRT. It’s been another hectic lead up to Christmas with Lewis, his girlfriend Kayleigh and Dave heading off to Kuala Lumpur for the final round of the FIM Asia Supermoto Championships. Lew and Kayleigh had the luxury of a week's holiday admiring the sights and sounds of Malaysia before the race prep started in earnest. Ever willing to try anything new the guys tucked into all manner of exotic local dishes and made plenty of new friends in the process. The Shah Alam track was outside the National stadium in the car park which was much faster than any previous Asian race and the easy access for the public saw a crowd of 20,000+ line the makeshift circuit.
It was good to meet up with plenty of race friends both old and new and needless to say a few Tiger beers were consumed after the races and plenty of the crew were 'helped' into the huge ice box in the paddock to cool down. The Kiwi crew seemed only to keen to see a few Pommies face the ice chest challenge which certainly did cool you down after a hot race weekend.
You can read elsewhere on this site about the nitty-gritty of the race weekend but thankfully Lewis managed to finish the races unhurt but in a disappointing 5th place overall. However since returning home just in time for Christmas there has been a flurry of race team offers for 2017 and although this is very flattering the amount of cash required to compete at the very highest level may well have a bearing on Lewis' final choice of team and championship. Supermoto isn't anywhere near as expensive as road racing but equipment, travel, accommodation and of course tyres see the cost of competing the sport at the top level more than the average working man can handle. So the search goes on for a generous race fan to get involved with supporting Lewis' world-wide supermoto racing. Obviously if additional funding could be sourced S1 and S2 would be on the cards and we expect to be able to make a full 2017 season announcement very soon.
The close season for Lewis is fairly short so through the early months of the year it’s always good news when product support is confirmed and we are pleased to announce the following companies have agreed to sponsor Lewis for his 2017 season.
FTR were the first to offer support and have extensively reworked Lewis' Ohlins suspension in readiness for a pre-season shake down session.
Cti knee braces need no introduction and are recognised as the World leaders in these vital pieces of equipment, Lewis' custom braces arrived before Christmas and are the first item to be packed into his gear bag.
Forcefield armoured protection will again be supplying the very best in the way of body armour for Lewis' race suits and back protection.
Just1 helmets were pleased with how 2016 panned out and will continue to supply Lewis with these super light race helmets once more.
Vibram and The Boot Repair Co will continue to keep Lewis' race boots and soles in first class condition for 2017.
SM Products are superbly engineered special parts for TMs and are supplying Lewis with custom billet engine covers etc. for his TMs.
Venhill have also agreed to provide full product support for Lewis' TM450-SMX race bikes with their excellent control cables and hoses.
LR Designs are Lewis' oldest sponsors and once again will supply the custom Duratex seat covers.
obp Motorsports are happy with their first season with Lewis as product ambassador and will provide pit equipment and machining services.
Keeping Lewis and the crew smart in the paddock, Charge Clothing and Buff Wear are continuing their sponsorship for the new season.
Many thanks to the companies and individuals above for their generous support. We will be announcing further sponsors and the full plans for the season shortly.
6th January 2017
Tough Time in Asia
Lewis' 2016 came to a close the week before Christmas at the final round of the FIM Asia Supermoto final in Shah Alam, Malaysia. The full race report can be seen elsewhere on the site but needless to say despite being injured and missing Fridays free practice sessions he was also riding an old stock SXF 450 with no slipper clutch. Lewis still put on a masterclass performance which unfortunately didn't reflect in his overall 5th position on the podium. The oppressive heat and rough tarmac track were obviously the same for all his rivals but the massive disparity in machinery was evident as most of his nearest rivals were aboard the latest fully kitted 2017 Supermoto bikes. This didn't show on track as Lewis was fastest in the qualifying session, took the hole-shot and pulled away in front until brake failure spoiled the fun. If this was enough bad luck for one day in race two he looked comfortable in the wheel tracks of the leader and was looking as though he'd sweep past any moment and then the gear-shifter snapped clean off leaving the bike in third gear. Digging deep he adapted his style and moved back up through the pack to finish an impressive 4th at the flag.
Hopefully Lewis will be returning to Asia to compete in the whole 2017 series aboard a competitive Kenny Motorworks machine in September. However before then Lewis has been lucky enough to have a choice of racing in several championships in Europe. Once the 'pros and cons' of each offer has been checked over a deal will be announced before the end of the month and it will be all systems go in the lead up to the start of the season. Needless to say where ever he will be racing it will be with 100% commitment from Lewis and his crowd pleasing style.
Keep an eye out on this page for news as it happens and also check out CRT Supermoto page on Facebook. Lewis, his CRT team mates and sponsors all wish you a safe and a very Happy New Year.
10th November 2016
What’s the difference between British and French Supermoto Championships?
With the 2016 season almost over I've had plenty of people ask me about the differences between the French and British Championships. It’s difficult to say which are the main differences but obviously the level of competition is way higher in France and this goes across all the classes. Please note that these comparisons are mainly for the Elite class in the UK and the S1 Prestige class in France. So in no particular order I'll try and list the relevant points.
Licence & Club Membership
In the UK it’s much cheaper to get a licence, £100 will get you club membership and an ACU licence, in France club membership is £12 and the FFM licence is £215, your mechanics/helpers will also need a licence to be insured on the track/pit areas which costs £44 each. All of this can be done on-line, only riders holding an FFM licence can compete in the French Championships.
UK is generally £200 for each weekend with Cadwell being £135, the FFM entry fees are £90 for the weekend and at most circuits you can practice on the Friday for around £50. Unlike the British Championship where you can drop 2 rounds in France they all count to the championship points.
Easy this one, UK = £0.00 and in France prize money of 3000 euro at each meeting. This is paid to the top 5 in each race so you can have a bad race and still get some euros. The S2 class also has a prize fund of 1250 euro per meeting.
UK pre-race scrutineering is pretty simple and noise testing may be at only the first meeting of the year. In France, riders clothing and the bikes have a separate inspector but the biggest difference is that all bikes are noise tested to FIM limits at all race meetings. The bikes and exhausts are all sealed and marked to avoid any tampering. This is strictly controlled at all times.
With many UK tracks being shared with Drakarts (cars) the off-road sections are mainly simple affairs and with 3 Sisters circuit used several times and most meetings held in the North of the country its logistically a Northern sport with no real dirt sections of note. The French tracks are all world class S1 standard circuits, some being purpose built supermoto tracks with the very best off-road sections and with good paddock camping facilities including bike wash areas.
The paddock is a busy place with plenty of team semi-trucks/awning complexes etc. for the 300+ riders. Retail trade stalls support the paddock with tyres/parts/food etc. as well as catering for the public. French tracks are mainly in the centre of the country with a few exceptions.
At some UK meetings (Cadwell, 3 Sisters) several 100 spectators come through the gates whereas in France it’s usually several 1000 with the best attended meeting having 30000 fans over the weekend. The top riders are treated like stars and have to attend the organisers’ autograph sessions where 100s of eager fans meet their heroes.
In the UK, unfortunately the Elite class is suffering with not only lack of entries but also (with a few exceptions) a lack of top level competitors. The Clubman/Novice classes on the other hand seem to be well supported and this section is growing in numbers, however with clubman making up a large number of the Elite grid at some meetings this isn't ideal for all of the riders. The French Championship has a top S1 Prestige grid full of top class racers and championship winners from other disciplines, plus of course 5 x Thomas Chareye needs no introduction and with Team France dominating the Supermoto of Nations since its inception it’s no surprise that you need to be a skilful rider to even make the top 10. In S2 (250) the top 5-6 riders are former S1 and European Championship racers and are easily capable of running in S1 Prestige. The racing in the class is frantic and also includes a Junior 12-15 yrs class on 125 2-stroke machines which also adds interest. The Clubman classes are full and the riders have to qualify for the 4 x 30 race groups after 10 minutes of qualifying all riders except the top 12 are pulled off the track so the fastest battle it out for pole. The Luq1 Cup is for 450CRFs with limited mods allowed and this class benefits from the Luq1 team's support and logistics. In 2017 the S4 Junior class will return with the youngsters racing 85 and 150cc bikes on full size wheels.
British Championship Elite race day is usually 15 minute practice/qualifying session and 3 x 15 minute races repeated on day two. Compared with the French S1 Championship race weekend is as follows. Friday is usually tarmac only practice day but not at all tracks. Day one, 2 x 25 minute practice sessions, 1 x 30 minute qualifying session which counts for championship points. Day two, 10-15 minute warm up, 2 x 20 minute + 1 lap races. The race programme is stuck too religiously and if you should be in the holding area at a certain time you DO need to be there or you could face penalties.
With neither championship enjoying TV coverage it’s down to the individual teams to produce YouTube footage and in this respects the French Luq1 team are in a class of their own with their slick and professional post-race productions. Despite recent efforts to boost the publicity for the British Championships it’s still an uphill battle getting the word out. In France each local club running the race meetings use posters, radio and even TV to promote the meetings which has the desired effect of bring paying public to spectate at the races.
Obviously competing in France requires good forward planning and also logistics so flights, rental cars etc. all add up over the season. Fuel costs are around the same in France but motorway tolls can really add up if you take a van/truck. When Lew was racing at a typical UK race the logistics for a race weekend would be around £150 for fuel, £200 food & accommodation plus £200 for race entry fees. It’s easily possible to get two of you to France for the weekend for the same price especially as we now sleep in the RAW race truck. Tyres are around the same cost in both countries but with the £-euro exchange rate being what it is this (and the rest of the costs involved) may go either way. The FFM licence maybe more expensive than the ACU but this includes your insurance for the season which allows the entry fees to be less than half the price they are in the UK.
This is the best racing decision Lewis and myself have made. He is competing week-in week-out with the undisputed best racers in the world on some of the very best tracks and in front of large knowledgeable crowds. It’s easy to see the sport in France is on the up and it enjoys a much larger profile here than in most countries. No doubt about it for a British rider racing in the FFM series it’s pretty tough. First of all you have to physically get to the track and even with the benefits of cheap flights it’s a case of plenty of early starts and very late evenings just to get there and back. Then it’s trying to figure out the French system and the way of them doing things their way which is difficult without a master of the language. But the hardest part is of course competing against this top level of rider with a huge depth of field on tracks you have never seen before and for 20+minute races in usually hot conditions.
Needless to say the food is a cut above the usual British burger bar and with the large gaps between S1 sessions it’s much more relaxed especially around lunch times, so after a season racing in France we have been accepted into the community and really feel part of an amazing spectacle. We would like to thank Raw Motorsport's Steve Pasco for making this all happen and we hope to be doing the same again in 2017.
20th June 2016
Another great weekend racing in the French S1 Prestige championship for Lewis and Raw Motorsports at the Clement Ferrand Expo. Large crowds, fast and furious racing on this temporary circuit and Lewis made several set up changes to the bike during Saturday's practice and qualifying sessions but with the top 8 positions spilt by fractions and Lewis in 6th on the grid it was always going to be a tough couple of 25 minute races. Luckily the promised rain held off for race day and during the morning warm-up session Lewis made the most of some unusual changes to his TM450-SMX to post 3rd fastest time. Lunch time and no rest for Lew as he spent time signing posters for fans but soon it was time for the real action.
Race one, the lights went out and Lewis made the most of his new bike settings to launch past the riders in front and was running in a fantastic 2nd place behind supermoto legend Sylvian Bidart. With 3 riders snapping at his heels and hard passes being made by all riders in the chasing pack it was inevitable that there would be tears before the flag. A hard move pushed Lewis wide but he reacted quickly and cut back on the inside and with neither rider prepared to give way both crashed to the ground. 10th place was a disappointing result for such a mammoth effort. However race 2 saw another good start and whilst in 4th spot Lewis saw a small gap and tried to pass the rider in front.
Unluckily for Lew he came off worse and another crash saw him trapped under his bike. Urged on by onlookers he fired up his TM and set off on a mission to pass as many riders as possible and this determination paid off with a climb from mid pack to 6th position this was all with an injured ankle. Not the ideal set of results but the British rider has shown his French rivals he has the speed and guts to run with the best of them. Hopefully with the night time race at Magny Cours just over 2 weeks away Lewis will be 100% fit and ready to resume his French challenge. Many thanks to sponsors, supporters and new found fans for their help and support.
8th June 2016
Round Two Mirecourt & Round Three Loheac
Lewis made his FFM debut at round two and Mirecourt was a good place to start as he'd been here a few weeks previously for the official practice so at least he knew his was around the tarmac sections. The off-road though was a different story compared to the tame stuff back home and the high standard of the competitors (in all classes) means that the dirt really splits good riders from the great riders. Practice and qualifying went well and Lewis lined up 5th on the grid behind multi French champion Sylvian Bidart. Overnight rain meant that the off-road section was cut out as it was considered dangerous. Race one, and after a trip onto the grass at turn one Lewis got stuck in and made his moves to finish an impressive 4th place this was backed up by a 5th in race two so he finished 5th overall and in the prize money. Before the season kicked off Lewis said that his goal for the 2016 season was to finish regular top five with a podium before the end of the season, so with the first round in the bag he's started on the right foot.
Loheac is another popular French track and a new venue for Lewis. The track is situated 20 minutes from Rennes airport so Loic picked Lew and Dave up which saved on rental car costs. France is deep into a national fuel refinery strike but luckily all the team made it although Steve did run out of fuel in race two but that’s another story. Friday afternoon was free practice with no off-road and with temperatures in the mid to high 20s it was good to get some dry laps in on this sweeping circuit. During official practice Lewis used worn out tyres which, although saved money didn't give a chance to set up the suspension for the all-important qualifying. So a disappointing by his standards 7th on the grid was the result but with 4 x World Champ Thomas Chareye and his team mate at Loheac it wasn't too bad considering it a new track for Lew. In race one the action was hot even if the temperature had cooled off by then. At the front Chareye, Bidart and Fath battled it out with Lewis is the chasing pack. Following some hard challenges and a tough race Lewis took the flag in fifth position. Another change of tyres for the second race and Lewis was hoping for a similar result but despite some fast laps and good racing with Decarbooter he was pipped on the line and finished seventh. Still this gave Lewis another top five overall so once again another great result.
The RAW Motorsport truck was a busy place this weekend with plenty of team, family, friends and fans milling about. Saturday's team meal was cooked by Thierry who is a cordon'bleu chef and the amazing food just kept coming….course after course along with dozens of different cheeses washed down by wine.
It was Jordan's birthday so 2 cakes with plenty of candles appeared and so did the Luq1 guys who brought their own branded champagne along for the party.
Lewis once again was interviewed on the grid and didn't do himself any harm with the local fans by saying "that he considers this the best championship in the world and is here to gain experience from these top riders and improve his riding". After the racing was finished we gave the team a hand to strip down the awning and pack the truck but the excitement didn't end there. Checking in at the airport Lewis had misplaced his passport so a quick call to the guys in the truck and the day was saved as it was found in the bedroom.
Finally some good news came through from Malaysia with the dates of the FIM Asia Championship announced with the opener in Newcastle, NSW. Kenny Motorworks are trying to get a deal together that will see Lewis at all four Asia rounds which finishes in KL just before Christmas.
6th May 2016
Ups and Downs at the French Championship
Round One Bresse April 17th 2016
Following on from the testing in Spain and France Lewis had some terrible luck shortly before the opening round of the French Championships at Bresse. He was rushed into A&E complaining of severe abdominal pains and was immediately diagnosed with acute appendicitis and was taken down to theatre for emergency surgery. Luckily the procedure and immediate recovery all went well and Lewis was home within three days. However this meant he would miss joining his Raw Motorsports team mates in the Bresse paddock for round one. Dave, Lee and Ryan made the trip to round one with Lewis recovering at home and they got a good feel of how the French championship runs and also just how fast the riders are across all the classes.
The Challenger class (National) has 4 groups of 34 riders who all have to qualify for their respective groups and the A and B’s speed is very impressive but the real shock was the S2 (250) class in which many of the top riders have the speed to comfortably race in S1 Prestige. Their lap times showing that big bhp isn't necessary for a fast lap time especially on the super long dirt sections. The 250 riders are a mix of experienced former international European Championship racers and youngsters on highly strung 125 strokers. The Luq1 Cup is a one make CRF championship with all the riders running stock motors which also makes for tight racing. However it’s the big boys in S1 Prestige that impress most of all. The sheer speed and riding ability of these top runners is a joy to see. Plenty of top names old and new on a great mix of machinery (including several 2 strokes) from all the manufacturers and of course with several world champions on the grid this isn't a class for the faint hearted. Obviously with Lewis out of action and sat at home the guys made themselves useful in the Raw Motorsports race truck awning helping out Eddy (Challenger) and Steve Pasco (S1), Jordan Labbe (S2) and legend Xavier Bellaphron who is making a comeback to the top level following a break from the sport.
It was interesting to see how the French series compares to others and its pretty much as we hoped, it’s on a totally different level and the standards are unbelievably high with a paddock rammed with big teams with big trucks. The organisation is top notch although speaking more than a handful of French phrases would no doubt make things easier for us Brits. Despite the shocking weather conditions over the Bresse weekend the racing was fast and furious and Lew's crew got a hands on feel of how things work in the French Championships. Hopefully for round two at Juvaincourt Lewis would be fit enough to make his French debut. Adrien Chareye was one of many who asked Lewis was and wished him a speedy recovery.
4th April 2016
It’s been a hectic time at CRT with bike preparation, finalising sponsorship deals and pre-season training. Needless to say despite all the planning nothing goes 100% to plan and with equipment delays and talks with sponsors still going ahead the team's annual pre-season training Aragon training camp was more of a rush than usual. Lewis' 2016 Raw Motorsports TM450-SMX has been fitted with the innovative twin front disc conversion and this stunning looking engineering promised to not only stop the bike harder but also to improve the handling as well. The twin four-piston callipers clamp onto 240mm floating discs which requires new feet on the fork bottoms as well as a stronger axle and mounts, plus of course the new billet Cobra hubs. To complete the conversion Alpina's tubeless conversion is fitted to a 16 inch Excel rim and the FTR Ohlins forks are held by a set of Cobra triple clamps. Also new was the Adige slipper clutch which comes complete with a selection of spring preload spacers plus new plates and ready to fit.
So with the bikes ready and safely on their way to Spain the Aragon tests proved to be another worthwhile trip for the CRT boys. Craig needed more off-road practice and so he took his TM250-MX bike with him as well which proved to be invaluable for training. Edgars was running his newest bike and spent time running in and setting up the suspension. Lewis on the other hand spent the early sessions making changes and adjustments to the new clutch until he was happy, but it was the simply incredible performance from the latest Cobra upgrades that he has most pleased with. The new twin discs offer massive stopping power but with the all-important feel at the lever of the Cobra upgraded master cylinder. He was soon making the most of the latest mods and right on the pace on both the fast flowing karting track and also the tricky S1 circuit.
So after a few adjustments early on day one it was just a case of banging in the laps, changing rubber and having a good time at this fantastic facility. The apartments and new restaurant was a great place to chill out at the end of the day's riding and the icing on the cake was a behind the scenes guided tour of the Motorland Aragon complex followed by a 'free-for-all' kart session which saw more than a few spins into the gravel. Ryan Atkins recorded the trip on video and he produced a cool moment of the trip which is now on YouTube. On the return to the UK Lewis' bike and kit was dropped off with Steve Pasco at Raw Motorsports in France. Steve will be looking after all the logistics for Lewis to compete in the S1 Prestige championship this year. Edgars and Craigs' TMs were returned to Riga where Motodroms will be looking after the bikes for the riders whilst competing in the Latvian and Baltic championships.
Check out the Ryan Atkins CRT Supermoto promo-video from the UK & Aragon tests http://youtu.be/sIVZCT7ha8g
With Edgars and Craig's bikes in the safe hands of Motodroms being readied for the Baltic Championships Lewis set off on a road trip to Mirecourt in France to meet up with his bike and his RAW Motorsports team mates. The 2 day test session was deemed to be with the near 1200 mile round trip because round two of the French Championships is at this circuit. Steve Pasco was joined by S2 racer Jordan Labbe at a great little holiday apartments about 20 minutes from the circuit. The top 3 contenders for the S1 French title weren't at Mirecourt which classed with the opening round of the World championships but the well organised event offered practice on Saturday with qualifying on Sunday finished off by two 20 minute races. In dry conditions Lewis soon got the measure of the circuit and it only took a couple of sessions to almost get on lap record pace. This was his first ride here and on a very cold track with old tyres, so obviously it was a happy camp on Saturday evening.
Lewis also showed his talents by cooking a pasta meal for the team as the guys wound down at the apartment. Early on Sunday the weather was damp and cold and at the track it was announced that the races would be cancelled but the free practice sessions would go ahead instead. Steve and Jordan both went out and also crashed several times in the tricky conditions, Lewis decided rather than burn up some new wet tyres he's sit it output it was then announced that qualifying was the next session. So without any wet practice Lewis joined Steve and Jordan on the wet tarmac for qualifying. Steve was running a good early pace and Jordan was showing he was one of the quicker S2 bikes, meanwhile Lewis was feeling his way around the circuit for grip. With the local riders setting the pace Lewis picked up the pace and moved into the top 3 and the following lap went straight to the top of the leader board by a comfortable margin. So much so he decided to come in early rather than wear out his wet tyres. Unfortunately this pole position didn't amount to anything as it was confirmed the races weren't to go ahead after all. Still it was valuable training and Lewis completed his Mirecourt test by once more setting the fastest times in damp and patchy drying conditions. All of which bodes well for the first race of the French championship at La Bresse.
5th January 2016
2015 and Another Busy Year Racing
It’s been a hectic season once more and needless to say 2015 has had its fair share of highs and lows. Looking back to the early British Championship races it was great to have the whole CRT team together at Three Sisters and also great to see Lewis on the podium but this was countered by a couple of major engine failures whilst in the running for race wins. With hindsight this almost certainly cost him the 450 Elite title but the date clash of round 7 with the Supermoto of Nations in Italy didn't help matters. The fact that both of Lewis' closest rivals for the championship elected to stay in the UK rather than race for Team Great Britain also proved to be a deciding factor. However regular pole positions, wins and podiums over the 2015 British season proved that he had what it takes and he was leading the championship until the point he pulled on a Team GB bib in Italy. Lewis' dad and CRT team manager Dave was asked to step up and take over the Team GB manager’s role at the very last minute and managed to save the day alongside Andrew Smith father of Jay. Another CRT racer Edgars also represented his country, Latvia at the Supermoto of Nations and other overseas trips have seen Lewis and Edgars head for the other side of the planet to race in the FIM Asia Championships in Kuala Lumpur and Penang.
Ed managed a best of top 10 in Penang whilst Lewis had some heated battles with the eventual championship leader Trakern. Although it was not possible to score any championship points Lewis took his Kenny Motorworks KTM SXF to race wins at both events in a grid full of professional racers and also took the top step of the podium in front of some large crowds. Kenny and Justin from Kenny Motorworks have really made the boys welcome and at the moment it’s planned for Lewis to race one of his own bikes in the 2016 FIM Asia Championship which is going to stretch resources but it’s going to be worth the effort. Lewis also took a second and third place in the Australian Championship on the Newcastle (NSW) foreshore circuit. This was mainly thanks to Kiwi Bryan Rankin and Aussie Aaron Watson who made the whole trip possible and it’s hoped that Australia will host a round of the FIM Asia championship this coming season.
CRT team mates were all reunited in the Baltic championships at Riga, Madona and Aravete where thanks to Dzinters help at Motodroms, Lewis once again took the top steps of the podium on a stock, brand new 2015 TM450 supplied by Motodroms. The tracks in this part of Europe are truly amazing and without a doubt some of the very best in the world and this combined with cheap entry fees etc. make this a must do race destination for any rider looking for a great time on a budget.
So with the old year gone and the new season ahead it’s sure to be another busy time for the CRT lads. Edgars, Craig and Kev under the Motodroms banner will once again be racing on the Latvian and Baltic Championships with Lewis joining them for the big summer races at Riga, Madona and Aravete. However Lewis' main focus will be directed on the tough French Championship under the Normandy based Raw Motorsports team awning and also the FIM Asia Championships racing a Kenny Motorworks bike which hopefully will be a TM450-SMX. With this in mind there's going to be even more traveling for CRT during 2016 so keep an eye on this website plus CRT Supermoto
page on Facebook for the news and photos as it happens.
31st December 2015
Lewis Cornish's 2015 Season:
Chosen to represent Team Great Britain as number 1 rider (5th time selected for team) at the Supermoto of Nations, Jesolo, Italy. 6th pos.
Baltic Supermoto Championship, Riga, Madona, and Aravete
Overall race winner
British Supermoto Championship 450, Elite third place overall
6 x podium positions with 6 wins
Australian Championship third place overall
FIM Asia Supermoto Championship
Rounds 1, 5 & 6 winner (no points scoring for non-Asian riders)
Plans for 2016 are confirmed as the following:
French S1 Prestige Championship
FIM Asia Championship
Baltic Championship (selected rounds)
Supermoto of Nations (if selected)
plus any additional International races
1st July 2015
It’s been hectic times for Lewis with some highs and lows at the British Championships. Mechanical issues have seen two DnFs during the first three rounds, which didn't help his championship ambitions. The long drive north to Crail in Fife is always a hike, but this fantastic venue is just reward.
Lewis once again battled with Matt for victory, but a transmission failure in race three saw an end to any hopes of another podium. Back home for a couple of days rest before the long haul to the Far East and the opening round of the FIM Asia Supermoto Championships, aboard a Kenny Motorworks supplied KTM. Despite the extremely hot and humid conditions and riding an unfamiliar machine, Lewis dominated the event against some professional competition. With first place in the bag and the post-race party still very much a recent memory, the next stop was Sydney to race in the Australian Championship at the Newcastle Street Circuit.
Jet lag and another strange machine with no practice meant he was up against it once more. At least the climate was much more agreeable and despite all the difficulties, Lewis put his Crushtek KTM onto the podium once more. As if three weeks racing across the globe wasn't enough, a few days later Lewis took his TM450 to the top step of the British S1 450 Elite podium at Rednal Raceway.
Once again things didn't go smoothly with Tom (Tom's M/Cs) and Dave hurriedly changed damaged exhaust systems and the clutch. Thankfully it seems like the recent run of bad luck has eased with Lewis' up to second in the championship with five rounds still to go.
Malaysia is certainly an amazing place with some equally amazing people and Kenny Lee together with Justin See are trying hard to get a deal together to allow Lewis to race in the rest of the FIM Asia Championship aboard one of his own TM450s. It’s not going to be easy juggling long hauls flights and races with regular work at home, but it’s an opportunity simply too good to miss.
Meanwhile in Latvia, Lewis' team mates are keen to keep up their challenge in the Baltic and Latvian Championships and Lewis will be joining them for the premier event of the Baltic season in early August. A big thanks to Bryan and Rochelle Rankin for their support and help with the Australian trip, Kenny and Justin for the Malaysia trip and also Dzinters in Riga for his technical help and support.
29th March 2015
It was a great to get back to Aragon with the team but a shame Mikey couldn't make it as he really needed to get some time on his new bike. We stayed at the usual place which is a sleepy village about 15 minutes from the track. Most of the guys had been here several times before but Kev was making his first trip to this awesome test facility with two tracks within a 100 meters of each other. Getting dialled in with the new FTR suspension and testing some new brakes and clutches we also did some extensive tyre testing sessions against the clock. A top Italian Moto 2 rider was in the next pit garage on a TM450 and on the tarmac only international Kart track he was a good benchmark. Lew was using old tyres from last season and was lapping quicker than he'd ever done before and needless to say he was comfortably the quickest rider on both tracks. This was helped by Pete Clifford helping to set the suspension settings, he was there testing with his BSB team and both sets of riders enjoyed a homemade paella organised by a local rider.
The Kart track was used mainly for testing suspension and tyre settings whereas the S1 circuit was just fun time, although to everyone's amusement Big Ed almost looped out on the tarmac table-top for the second year in a row. Craig was clearly getting quicker and quicker as he got to grips with his recently acquired S1 spec TM450, in fact he even impressed Dave who doesn't give praise lightly. Ryan Atkins came along to digitally record the action on his Nikon, thanks to him the press releases, website and Facebook pages can all be regularly updated. After four days riding, the last night was a chance to wind down but the only restaurant in the village was closed so this meant a 10 minute drive into town. With the 7-seater people carrier full, the drive into town didn't exactly go to plan because within 200 meters of leaving the apartment the car left the road and flipped over onto its roof. Luckily everyone was belted up and no real injuries except to the car which was a write off. Thanks to Juan (who we rent the apartment from) everything was organised to put the car back on its wheels and taken away by a recovery truck. So this year's Aragon trip ended in unexpected drama but it succeeded in getting the bikes and riders dialled in before the start of the 2015 season at Three Sisters on Easter Sunday.
21st January 2015
Malaysia IMF Supermoto - Part Three
Saturday race day was going to be pretty hectic especially seeing as Malaysia were playing Thailand in the finals of the Asia Cup and they were kicking off in the Bukit Jalil stadium in the evening. The IMF show brought in some large crowds and unsurprisingly most of the visitors came either by train or by Honda 110 Cub and the huge parking spaces were jammed packed with thousands of these little bikes. As the crowds poured in and the bikes went out on track Dave and then Lewis helped with the event commentary, this was despite having no knowledge of the local riders but IMF official Glen helped fill in the details as Chris took the race one win. The riders all rode through into the arena and lined up to be presented to the King of Malaysia and after 50 minutes kept waiting it was a tough delay for those riders who were racing.
A brief walk past and greeting from the King and it was time for cool down and drink in one of the air conditioned hospitality units. Later on Lewis and Dave had a one to one meeting with his Excellency the Sultan of Johor, King of Malaysia and the CRT duo presented him with a large signed print as the discussion centred on bike racing, fast cars, the delights of Malaysia and also South England where the King has a residence where he keeps his McLaren MP4 garaged. Back in the pits Chris Hodgson's bike's motor had failed just as he crossed the finish line and so it was certain that he would have to sit out the final race and miss out on the prize money. CRT came to the rescue with the offer of Lewis' recently refurbished TM450-SMX for the final race and Chris being the talent that he is took to his borrowed CRT bike like a 'duck to water' and from the back row he caught up with the leader and took the overall win. Edgars had a great ride to take 6th overall and only a single point behind a podium place. It was a very hectic post-race evening as Dave, local bike mechanic Lim and Gerrard all worked hard to get both TMs stripped down and packed into the air-freight crate. This was followed by BBQ party hosted by effervescent Kenny Lee who really knows how to entertain. Needless to say it was a great way to wind down after the previous hectic week's action. Plenty of good food and beer were consumed and as Sunday evening drifted into Monday morning the fun didn't stop.
Kenny made sure we had a great last day in Malaysia as he drove us in his pick-up through the crowded freeway through KL and out the other side. Climbing up into the jungle the countryside was simply stunning and a total contrast to the crowded modern city of Kuala Lumpur and its always in view Petronas Twin Towers. We stopped in a small town and enjoyed a traditional meal which was the last amazing Malaysian food we tasted in a week full of completely varied and tasty meals. After lunch Kenny drove up through the back roads to a jungle clearing where a swollen waterfall thundered down through the rocks and trees into a torrent of a river. Needless to say Edgars and Dave were soon swimming in the fast flowing water as Lewis and Kenny sunbathed on the sandy banks. Ed climbed the waterfall and insisted that Dave join him and somewhat reluctantly he climbed up the slippery rocks to join him for a can of Tiger Beer in this awesome setting. Back on the road Kenny explained that this mountain jungle road was where he comes on his supermoto bike at weekends for a blast with his mates and we've never seen anything like it. The endless left, right turns, hairpins and sweeping curves continued to climb into the clouds and eventually on the final 20 minutes it was a one way track. This without a shadow of doubt just has to be the best motard road on the planet, the climb eventually summits at Fraser's Hill village which was built by the British so they could leave the heat of KL for a refreshing cooler climate and the whole place very much reminded us of home. It wasn't much of a surprise to discover that it is in fact nick-named Little England and even the damp and misty weather seemed like the UK in winter.
Before long we set off to the international airport for out Malaysia Airlines flight back to Amsterdam. Saying our goodbyes to Kenny we promised to make a return to KL and invited him to the UK for a race and maybe the TT. The long haul flight to Schipol airport was delayed so the CRT race vacation finished off by spending a day in the city of Amsterdam and some extremely last minute Christmas shopping.
To sum up our trip would be difficult in a few words. The people all made us feel so welcome and couldn't do enough to ensure we had everything we needed, the hectic pace of KL is at odds with the laid back warmth of the Malaysian people. All races and religions mix and match in a real melting pot of diversity to ensure its never a dull moment, we tasted some amazing food of all types and had a great time at the track, in the bar or in the jungle. It certainly was a trip none of us will forget.
CRT Supermoto would like to thank the following people in no particular order:
Addy Ng Teck Hou
Wah Hwa Lim
Mohd Glenn Abdullah
Dato' Eric Loo
And of course his Excellency the Sultan of Johor, King of Malaysia Y.A.M Tunku Idris
Many thanks to all the fantastic people we met in Malaysia, we hope to see you again soon!
7th January 2015
Malaysia IMF Supermoto - Part Two
A bit of sightseeing, shopping and sampling the huge choice of food before visiting the Bukit Jalil national stadium to check out the track was on the cards. The IMF motorcycle event was based in the huge car park of the impressive looking stadium which was built for the Commonwealth Games in 1998. The dirt section featured a huge table top jump built on a sea container and a wooden banked 'wall of death' berm before a whoop section took the riders back onto the tarmac. The CRT boys together with Jay, Chris Hodgson and Leigh Fields spent a couple of days altering the track lay out and the results was a spectacular course with a fast sweeping straight that showed 'backing in' cornering at several key points. Ed and the others went out for some early practice laps but Lew just had to put his foot up on a bag of ice and watch the fun. The treatment on the injured ankle seemed to be going well as the swelling went down and thanks to Chris loaning a larger boot Lewis did manage to get a few laps in. Obviously he was in a considerable amount of pain but he did feel as though with another 24 hours rest he just may be able to compete.
The local riders were all keen to chat and check over our bikes. With no TMs imported into this part of the word the CRT bikes always drew a large crowd of interested riders and fans. All curiously asking question about the design and performance of these full S1 spec machines. Cassandra, Karen, Addy Gerald and Lydia were all looking after the UK (and Latvian) visitors and made us very welcome. Nothing was too much trouble for them and we were taken to all manner of different eating places where we sampled several types of Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Malay dishes. In fact we made a point of trying everything and to our surprise even Lew liked most of it. Malaysia is a real melting pot of different cultures and religions all getting on fine and mixing their traditions which included Christmas. In our Muslim owned hotel the Christmas tree, snowman and decorations were a strange taste of home despite the 30+ degree temperatures and 80% + humidity. One thing that we didn't really get our heads around was the truly horrendous traffic at most hours of the day but grid locked just about everywhere during peak times. The locals talked distances in time rather than miles (KM) which is always a bad sign of congestion but at least we felt at home driving on the left.
Friday was practice day and once again Lewis sat out the early sessions until he couldn't resist getting kitted up and joining the track action. From the outside it looked as though he was doing fine even if he wasn't giving it his usual 101%. Ed, Jay and Chris all looked fast and so did plenty of the local riders. Kenny Lee and his mate Justin introduced themselves and helped bleeding the hydraulics on Lew's clutch. It all went wrong though as Lew slipped at walking pace coming off the dirt section and his injured foot was dragged backwards under the bike. This was another trip to the medics and once they carried out an examination said that he wasn't fit to race the following day. Desperately disappointed we all knew it was the correct decision so Lew's bike was cleaned up and put on display in the fan cooled CRT awning. Ed had a spin on the Enduro X track where Emily Davies was entered but said it was way too physical in these temperatures.
29th December 2014
Malaysia IMF Supermoto - Part One
Packing up the bikes to airfreight for the IMF in Malaysia was a bigger problem than we first thought. We'd got a couple of Honda CRF crates from Lee Rudd and they looked ideal for the job, a thin pressed steel floor with a stand and foot peg mounts holding the bike secure with a dexion cage over the top. The idea was to put the bike inside with tools, spares riding kit etc and then shrink wrap in plastic for the flight. However this plan went wrong when a mail from KL said that somehow he had to get 2 bikes in a single bike box…
Dave and Ed spent until 04.00am during a work day getting the TMs stripped and packed into the modified crate. Another morning spent with 3 sheets of ply and the bikes were ready to be picked up. It was a relief to see the crate loaded on the truck and on their way to KL thanks to MAS Kargo and now all we needed were our tickets and thankfully we could fly from Norwich-Amsterdam-Kuala Lumpur so no need to put up with Heathrow hassle. All was going well until the day before the flights when Lewis tweaked his ankle whilst training and this was proven to be fractured. With a week to go before Lew needed to ride the trip was still on but the likelihood of him racing was very slim.
When confirmation came though and the booking agent had missed off the first leg (Norwich-Amsterdam) so we had to find our own way to AMS-Schiphol. This wasn't easy at the last minute and the few flights that had seats got us into Schipol too late for the KL flight. It looked like we would have to drive across to Holland but luckily EasyJet came to the rescue from Stansted. A long haul to KL and we were all eager to get off the packed plane and we were met by some 30 degree + heat and smiling Chinese chap who introduced himself as Addy. He looked after us in the first days we were in KL and checking into the hotel we soon realised we were surrounded by multi lane highways so transport was the key. Luckily ex-pat Aussie Colin came to our aid by loaning us his mini-van which thankfully was air-conditioned. Colin was the man behind getting us on this trip and he did everything he could to make our trip a good one and also trying everything he could to get Lew all manner of treatment on his ankle including acupuncture, Chinese herbal remedies and sports physio etc. KL is very spread out and built up, down town is dominated by the Petronas Twin Towers which really are an impressive engineering land mark. Colin gave us free reign at his place and a pool party with some rowdy air hostesses did some damage which we felt terrible about.
The bike crate arrived the same day as Jay Smith and we stripped the bikes out of the crates and into the van to take to Colin's to build the bikes up. The temperature was OK but the relentless humidity really was draining. It was good to get the bikes into Colin's air-conditioned workshop and Tiger Beer helped pass the time whilst Lew relaxed by the pool.
22nd November 2014
Cadwell Park and the final round of the 2014 British Championships. CRT were out in force with Mikey Parsons joining the crew in the paddock aboard one of Lew's TM450-SMX bikes he raced in the last seasons Australian Championships. Lewis had loaned Mikey this bike at the previous round after his own bike was damaged in a crash. Needless to say a rider of Mikey's talents didn't take long too get to grips with the borrowed bike and he took it victory. This was all that was needed for him to purchase this machine from CRT and as he joined Lewis, Edgars, Craig and Kev under the awnings it was a flurry of activity as sprockets were changed and changed again in a bid to get the gearing right for the ultra fast Cadwell tarmac only circuit.
The 450 Elite championship had already been decided at the previous round but Lewis had a point to prove and prove it he did by taking the overall win on Saturday and the top step on the podium. This secured him third place in the 450 (S1) Elite championship and over a meal in the pub that evening, spirits were high for the following day's racing. Mikey had his nose in front in the Open National class and despite not having the best of qualifiers he took his new TM450 to a couple of straight forward wins to give him a well deserved National title. Edgars and Craig were sharing a bike due to one machine having a damaged casing.
Lewis qualified on the front row and took the race one win from Matt Winstanley thanks to some awesome overtakes on the fastest corner of the track. It all went wrong in race two (which was red flagged 3 times until the unsafe tyre chicane was removed) as Chris Hodgson made a mistake and took Lewis down with him. Matt had crashed out already and retired so the Open Elite championship was still very much up for grabs.
Chris quickly rejoined the race but Lew was 3/4 of a lap down by the time he's straighten his bike out and rejoined the tarmac. With a seemingly impossible task ahead of him he got he head down and tore up the Cadwell tarmac to lap over 1.2 seconds a lap faster than the eventual winner. This pace saw Lew catch the tail-enders and tear through the pack but 9th at the flag was a disappointing result. The final race was a mere 8 lap dash as the day light was disappearing fast. Lew had his best start of the weekend and rode around most of the riders ahead of him around the flat out 120mph, uphill Coppice corner and then another rider nudged him onto the grass at almost maximum speed but he somehow managed to keep on the bike. Rejoining the tarmac near the back of the pack Lewis had only a a few short laps to make his mark but he was tangled up in another rider's error which had him off the track yet again. Despite once again setting the fastest laps (0.5 faster than the winner) it wasn't enough to make the podium and he narrowly missed out on third in the Open Elite standings.
It was an undeserved end to the season, in spite of Lewis being the quickest at Cadwell, through no fault of his own he'd been taken out time and time again by other rider's errors which had eventually cost him the championship. That's racing though, when its good, its fantastic, when its not it can be very cruel indeed.
Still, Lewis (despite a couple of hospital stays) and CRT Supermoto have had some great results and achievements in 2014 and the future is looking even better for next season.
Clearly all Lewis is missing to be the next British Champion is Lady Luck not turning against him so often and thanks to some awesome bikes and generous sponsors he has proved his speed and competitiveness. His team mates maybe haven't been as on the pace as they wanted but now with all the guys on the same S1 spec machines its clear that all eyes will be on CRT in 2015. Now its a short break before Lewis and Edgars crate up their bikes to be airfreighted to Kuala Lumpur for an International event.
12th November 2014
CRT was well represented at the Supermoto of Nations at Cremona. Lew riding for Team Great Britain for the 4th time and Edgars chosen as Team manager for Team Latvia. Team GB got off to a bad start with Chris Hodgson crashing after only 3 laps of practice and damaging his knees. Lew was running 6th in the qualifying race when a stone lodged in the chain which broke the gearbox output shaft bearing. A swap to the standard spare bike and it was soon clear that at this level a stock bike simply wasn't quick enough as he was repeatedly passed on the straights. The highlight for Lew was having locked bars with former World champ Bernd Hiemer neither would back off as they were hard on the gas leaning on each other. Lew had to give way as he was on he loose stuff but it was quite a sight. Matt Winstanley was penalised a minute for failing the noise test and that summed up a poor SMoN for Team GB. Edgar's boys didn't qualify for the finals so they had a worse time of it than we did with a 9th final placing.
Back to the British Championships at 3 Sisters and luckily we picked up 3 new bikes for Lew, Ed and Craig just in time for this event. After a difficult day on saturday Lew decided it was time to ride the new bike untested as the more standard spare bike seemed not to be as competitive as the full S1 version. Ed and Craig loved the full TMRacing 'Factory' spec bikes and the amazing level of handing from the ultra stiff chassis. Lewis was rewarded by setting pole position and taking the first 2 race wins but it went wrong for him in race 3 when he high sided in the wet conditions which resulted in an ambulance ride and an overnight in the Salford Trauma Unit.
Luckily the injuries weren't as bad as first feared but if that wasn't enough pain for one week on the Thursday he caught his finger on his MTB brake disc which almost severed the tip. Another visit to A&E and a whole heap of discomfort wasn't the ideal lead up to the final race at Cadwell Park.