A first top three moto finish of the season was the highlight of the Grand Prix of Sweden for Shaun but a tricky second moto and ride to tenth place ruined any chance of a maiden overall podium of the year at Uddevalla.
Bad starts, a ridiculously over-watered hard-pack track and some high temperatures were some of the adversity that the Scot had to deal with on Sunday. His first race run to third place though was a stellar result from MXGP’s leading privateer and meant he was the first classified rider from the mighty KTM racing wing. Shaun gated poorly but miraculously forced his way up to fifth on the first lap and then overtook Dean Ferris and profited from Evgeny Bobryshev’s crash to settle into third. He was hassled by Todd Waters and Gautier Paulin in the last two laps but notched his best classification of the year so far.
Shrewd manoeuvres at the start of the second moto were few and far between as he had his goggles filled in with muddy water (and had to dump all his tear-offs), lost traction on one corner and almost crashed, would later actually hit the dirt and suffered with a malfunctioning rear brake! The 27 year old was fortunate to make it to tenth and is now seventh in the series and 34 points behind Clement Desalle after eleven of eighteen rounds and with the Grand Prix of Latvia up next.
“To look at the positives of the weekend it was great to see that I could make a bad start work to my advantage with a couple of moves on the first lap,” he said. “I rode well and passed Todd [Waters] and Paulin and a few other big hitters. It was always a goal to get around Dean Ferris and when Bobryshev went down that meant I was into third. It was like a milestone to hit this year with a moto top three and it set me up nicely for the podium or a good top five overall…but the second moto did not go to plan for a variety of reasons. I don’t want to make excuses but I will complain about the track again! Zero preparation and too much watering. It was all about the starts and hardly any riders were coming through. We are just finding ‘freight-train’ racing at the moment and it is quite frustrating as a rider. I think it was uncharacteristic of the club to do that. Overall it was nice to run up front and thirty points from the day is another good haul. I’m looking at Van Horebeek and Strijbos gaining momentum in the championship but I also gained ground on Desalle and could soon be up to sixth. It’s all-good. I feel like I am on the fringe of the podium and have been a few times in the last few races. I’m pushing for that and I want to make sure I definitely get one.”
Photo by Ray Archer