Points were in grasp at Lommel and the sixth round of 2021 MXGP in Belgium but a technical problem left SS24 KTM MXGP with a first DNF of the campaign.
Shaun was one of just five active previous winners of the Grand Prix at Lommel since 2008 and the hardest, trickiest and most demanding racetrack on the calendar. The Scot appeared on the podium in 2014 and won the 2015 edition of the event and he returned to the sandy course for the first time since 2019 for the sixth appointment on the MXGP schedule.
Although the Grand Prix was run on its traditional slot of the first weekend of August the weather was temperate and cloudy and the first MXGP moto was afflicted by torrential rain from a passing storm.
Shaun started from 13th place and his best slot from Timed Practice yet this season. He wasn’t able to make the best getaway on the privately-run SS24 KTM 450 SX-F but worked his way up from outside the top fifteen to float around the outskirts of the top ten. By the chequered flag and after 15 chaotic laps that begun in brief sunshine but ended with a sodden site of sand, Shaun crossed the line in 13th.
For the second moto the veteran was searching for a more effective flow and around a surface that was significantly rougher. Shaun lost control of the front end and crashed on the first lap which put him outside the top thirty. He rapidly made ground to reach the points but his race bike engine started to ail and to pull over on the fifth lap.
“It would be easy to get glum about today but I’m in one-piece, my family is here and I’m already cheered up. We’re in good spirits and I cannot be too hard on myself or the team after today,” said Shaun, now 15th in the MXGP standings and as the rain continued to lash down late Sunday afternoon in Limburg. “There were some question marks over what we could have done today but the basics are that we made our best qualifying of the year today and I was 13th in the first moto – and I would have liked a top twelve or ten but – we’ll take those eight points. The second race could have been good as well but it didn’t work out for me.”
“I struggled with the flow and I didn’t feel that I got the best of myself or the bike,” he added. “But I think that was the consensus today. We’ll draw a line under it and hopefully the string of GPs we’ve had and some of the form I’ve found will pay off in the British Championship.”
MXGP moves to Kegums and the Grand Prix of Latvia next weekend but SS24 KTM MXGP will travel to the British Isles for round six of the British Motocross Championship at Blaxhall.
“The British Championship is important to the team, simply because it’s financially beneficial; being brutally honest,” Shaun said of the strategic decision forced by the clash of dates as a result of the Latvian Grand Prix being shifted. “I’m in a position where I can finish in the top three of the championship. I’m 3rd and still have a shot at the title. I’d like to scratch a fourth championship onto my career sheet. We have three rounds to go and I want to finish the British Championship on a high.”
Photo courtesy of Ray Archer