4-13 in the two races at Culham for the first round of the 2021 ACU British Championship represented a step back into the ‘known’ for Shaun after almost a year.
A nine-month hiatus from competition caused by both injury and the pandemic meant that Shaun was relieved to get the SS24 KTM MXGP wheels rolling at Culham for the reawakened national series in the UK but also had to deal with the inevitable accompanying rustiness.
Under new direction, the British Championship suffered from some haphazard organisational elements, but the Oxfordshire circuit was in decent trim for the long-awaited rebirth of motocross in the UK. Shaun got down to business in qualification with the 3rd fastest lap on the KTM 450 SX-F.
“The track was in perfect condition after the rain on Friday night,” he said. “The conditions were great and it was ripped and ready to go. Qualifying went well and I was 3rd to the line which was a good pick. I missed the start a bit on the first one. I got behind Tommy [Searle] and then let him slip away a bit and wasn’t too happy with the set-up.”
Accepting 4th position the Scot had higher hopes for the second moto but things went awry.
“We made a few changes to the bike and I started well and was into 3rd place right-away,” he recounts. “I felt like making a move but then started having an issue with the rear brake and crashed at bottom of one of the hills. The handlebars were twisted and I couldn’t get the bike to start. We managed 13th by the end but overall it was not the way I envisaged getting back to racing and not the results I was after…even if it has been a long time.”
Simpson’s previous competitive outing had been an aborted attempt at the Grand Prix of Latvia in July 2020. Culham was the first step back on the path to finding his level, even if he will need to regain ground in the championship standings to have hopes of a fourth British crown. “I feel like we have work to do. We need to catch up some ground in the points. It’s always good to go home after a decent result but then also motivating to go back and look at the drawing board again and find solutions to improve.”
Round two of the championship takes place at Lyng in Norfolk on May 23rd.
Photo thanks to Rob Simpson