It was a cautious weekend at the compact circuit of Valence, south of Lyon, with the tail end of winter bringing in the rain and some chilly conditions. Hitachi Construction Machinery Revo KTM UK’s British Champion clocked a time in the top ten on Saturday (eighth) but started brightly and completed two smart and pacey motos to finish fourth and third and walk the third step of the podium. Again Shaun was up against factory riders from Suzuki, Kawasaki, Honda and Husqvarna and rode steadfastly for his first trophy of the year just behind winner Clement Desalle and Xavier Boog.

“Smiles all round really and it is good to get that podium feeling early in the year and against some good riders,” said Simpson who defeated Suzuki’s Kevin Strijbos, winner of the Hawkstone Park International last week, amongst others. “My times were a little bit off on Saturday but the races were about survival and minimising mistakes. We’ll head straight back to our base in Belgium now to finish crating the bike for the first GP in Qatar and then have a last ‘warm-up’ in France again next weekend.”

Simpson’s next outing will be at LaCapelle Marival this week before leaving to Doha from Brussels the following Wednesday; the Grand Prix of Qatar is the first round of eighteen in the 2015 MXGP FIM Motocross World Championship.

Valence International results: 1. Clement Desalle, Suzuki. 2. Xavier Boog, Kawasaki. 3. Shaun Simpson, KTM. 4. Kevin Strijbos, Suzuki. 5. Gautier Paulin, Honda. 6. Steven Frossard, KTM.