Geographical beauty was wrapped in chilly conditions and the prospect of a hard, slippery Neuquen circuit for the Grand Prix of Patagonia Argentina and MXGP round four, and Shaun emerged from a trying day in South America with eighth overall
MXGP packed its bags for another continent hop and the fourth fixture of eighteen drew the FIM Motocross World Championship back to the scenic confines of Neuquen and the sandy, hard-based layout near Villa de Angostura. “We came into this weekend after a couple of ‘off’ weeks based around my physical condition and what I had after Thailand,” said Shaun, providing a bit of background on his approach to the meeting.
Once recovered from the long journey to the depths of Patagonia the Wilvo Virus Performance KTM man had to get to grips with the racing surface – that was again densely surrounded by a passionate crowd – and the British Champ struggled slightly to eighth in qualification on Saturday that set a tone for race day. “I did not really gel with the track straight away; it was a lot harder than it was last year and didn’t rough up as quickly as it did before,” he commented. “We ran with a hard-pack tyre all day on Saturday and only changed to the scoop profile in the morning.”
With sun popping through cloudy skies on Sunday Shaun set about recording a 8-9 scorecard in the two motos. The first involved a recovery from a mediocre start while the second saw ‘24’ as high as third and then ready to claim a satisfying sixth place until an error gave him a taste of the strange volcanic soil and trashed another Fly Racing shirt! “I knew it would be a hard day’s graft and just knuckled down,” he recollected. “I got a few good, solid points on the board and kept consistent. The second race was a lot better and I felt good in sixth place and the track was riding really nice until I made a stupid mistake and hit a false neutral. I hit a marshal point and went over the bars. It should have been an easy sixth spot with four or five laps to go. I managed to get back up and salvage ninth but it was disappointing.”
Eighth overall means seventh in the MXGP championship standings but with a long calendar of trips and racing ahead. Shaun, his fiancée Rachel and the team’s next journey will be to the Leon circuit for the Grand Prix of Mexico next weekend; a site where the Scot grabbed a podium finish last year. “I’m reasonably satisfied considering that I didn’t really like the track this weekend,” he summarised. “I’m now looking forward to next week as it’s a place I’m familiar with and had a good weekend in 2015.”