Shaun opened his bid for the 2022 MX1 British Championship title with 2nd place against the odds at a chilly but bright Culham circuit in Oxfordshire last weekend and is now back on the road to more UK and Irish dates this month.
The sun shone but a cold wind blew across the loamy, open circuit of Culham for the launch of the 2022 British Championship and where SS24 KTM are among the leading contenders for championship success with a host of other former Grand Prix riders. Shaun lodged a decent runner-up result with a pair of 3rd positions in the two motos but was happy with the day’s work considering he’d been hit by a particularly sapping bout of Flu for over a week before travelling south from his Scottish base.
“I’ve never had anything like this in the last decade. It’s floored me, and therefore definitely puts a positive spin on the weekend,” Shaun said, safe in the knowledge that multiple Covid-19 tests meant he wasn’t dealing with a second bout of the virus. “Driving down to Culham I didn’t know how I’d be or how many minutes I’d last in the motos before feeling completely ‘spent’. I was out of breath loading the bikes into the back of the van! So, the goal was to do as well as I could. Last year at Culham for the start of the British Championship I came home with a 4th and a 13th which was very unsatisfying and somehow set the tone for the national series that season. The aim was to go as hard as possible, get two starts and get two solid finishes. Before I got sick then I would have been looking for wins.”
The fixture began in a decent fashion as the #24 KTM 450 SX-F, backed by Dyce Carriers, Gabriel Insulation, MODU Project Services and KTM UK, sat P1 in Qualification. “I was very surprised to get Pole Position but I felt awesome on the bike and it was a confidence booster,” he reflected. Despite heavy rain in the build-up to the meeting, race day was sunny. Shaun, on the weekend of his 34th birthday, was right in the mix.
“I just tightened up when I got into the lead in the first moto and dropped down to 3rd. I sorted myself out by the end of the race and caught back up to Tommy [Searle] and [Jake] Millward. I was sideways at the second start after making contact with somebody and 15th on the first lap was not ideal. I managed to make my way through and passed a lot of good guys for the championship. I got back to 3rd but Josh Gilbert and Tommy just had too much of a gap. So, I eased it in.”
“We’re trailing by ten points in the standings but there is still so much to play for. I really enjoyed the track but the low sun meant it was tricky to see the lines and ruts. Anyway, we got the job done. We’ll be at Fatcat [Doncaster] next for the MX Nationals and then to Ireland for their series, which we’re really looking forward to, before Foxhills for round two.”
Foxhills takes place on April 17th.
Photo by A. Conway.
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