32,600 spectators watched British Champion Shaun Simpson abuse the Valkenswaard sand in the Netherlands for the Grand Prix of Europe and round five of eighteen in the 2015 MXGP FIM Motocross World Championship yesterday as the Scot posted results of fifth and sixth to classify fifth overall. The Hitachi Construction Machinery Revo KTM rider bagged 31 points over a damp and changeable weekend south of Eindhoven and has moved up to eighth in the standings of the premier class.
Shaun was the best KTM rider on the day and contributed directly to the manufacturer’s tally in the Constructors Championship. ‘24’ was third fastest on Saturday in both practice sessions and then almost took the same slot in the Qualification Heat until a ‘highside’ crash dumped him down to sixth.
While his charge after Clement Desalle in the first moto on Sunday almost dragged him into the top four at the chequered flag and he tracked Romain Febvre in the second race, it was the 27 year old’s mediocre starts that prevented an shot at a third podium result in the category. The Dutch sand was also a head-scratcher. Three European support classes helped batter the terrain into a plethora of hard bumps and ruts. A technical layout found Shaun in his element as he reduced a six second deficit to Desalle in a matter of two laps but maintenance work had smoothed away too many of the demanding sections in the second outing. Nevertheless Valkenswaard was still Simpson’s best outing of the grand Prix campaign to-date and fixtures in Spain, Great Britain (Matterley Basin, Winchester on May 24th) and France lie ahead in May.
“The goal this weekend was to come away with thirty points and we got thirty-one and our first top five of the year, which we did,” he said. “We were also the first KTM in both motos. Not that Cairoli was on his A-game at all in the second moto but to keep him behind me and even pull away from him around here is no mean task. Overall I’m pretty satisfied.”
Up next is the third round of the Maxxis British Championship at Canada Heights in Swanley, Kent. Simpson is currently undefeated on UK soil.
Shaun will have a small interview in the coming edition of Trials and Motocross News about the Grand Prix and a feature on his racing kit is due to drop in online magazine www.ontrackoffroad.com tomorrow.
Photo by Ray Archer