14th position overall for Shaun at the Grand Prix of Garda and the third and final round of MXGP in Arco di Trento as the series nears a climax.
Little changed for the last fixture of the Pietramurata triple header in MXGP as the SS24 KTM MXGP team attempted their third meeting in the space of week, except that the climate took a turn for the wintery. After the sunshine and blue skies of the ‘Trentino’ and ‘Pietramurata’ races the Grand Prix of Garda – round sixteen of eighteen – was cloudy and chilly.
Shaun, by now well versed with the narrow and stony hard soil of the course, set the 21st fastest lap in Timed Practice with his KTM 450 SX-F. Starting in the second half of the gate he knew the ‘getaways’ for the 30 minute and 2 lap motos on Sunday morning would be key, and hoped for faster launches compared to Wednesday.
Taking place an hour earlier due to the Daylight Saving Time, the races opened with the #24 motorcycle firmly mid-pack. Shaun battled to 14th while also enjoying the slightly softer and rough technicality of Pietramurata, compared to Wednesday’s speedy dustbowl. A bright top-ten start in the second moto led to 16th as he tried to hang onto the pace but the missing edge of stamina as a result of his recent hand injury started to bite. A 14-16 meant 14th overall, which was his highest ranking from the tough Trentino triple. Shaun is 18th in the world championship, despite missing two rounds.
“Better today although it’s frustrating not to be able to run a better pace in than second moto,” he said. “I’d say the track was better than it was mid-week but still wasn’t as soft and well-prepped as it had been for the first GP here on Sunday. It’s felt a bit like Groundhog Day here, so we’ll be glad to get away from Arco and move to Mantova. Just over a week left of the season and we want to get some decent results to wrap 2021.”
MXGP remains in Italy for the final double salvo. The series makes a short journey south to the sandy Tazio Nuvolari circuit – home to Team Great Britain’s podium finish at the 74th Motocross of Nations with Shaun as part of the three-man crew last month – for events on Sunday and then on Wednesday to end the campaign.
Photo thanks to Ray Archer