Good speed from Shaun on his first ride since the crash and back injury at the Monster Energy MXGP of USA and the British Champion was close to finishing third in his MXGP Qualification Heat for Great Britain at a packed and noisy Ernee until backmarker trouble intervened.
Shaun kept AMA 450MX championship runner-up Justin Barcia on his back wheel for the second half of the moto played out on the compact, narrow and rutty circuit with a ‘wall’ of fans and noise filling the adjacent hillside. On the last lap a slower rider moved across at the same time Shaun took off for a double jump on his factory KTM and the pair collided, sending ‘10’ tumbling to the floor. With a sore left arm and knee – and damaged rear brake – Shaun managed to remount and complete the race in twelfth.
Team Great Britain had a hard day at the 69th edition of this event with a capacity that already touched 30,000 with more spectators expected to fill the venue tomorrow. Max Anstie also had a run-in with another rider that was far more spectacular and damaging. The Kawasaki rider was given medical treatment for a broken shoulder and the hopes of the squad for a podium finish was dealt a swift blow.
“After the frustration of the U.S. Grand Prix and then being unable to avoid that guy in the air I just want to get out and have two races tomorrow,” Shaun said. “Two top fives in both outings would be fantastic but after the last week I just want to finish the year on the bike and getting past that chequered flag. It hasn’t worked out for us today – again at the Nations – but all Dean and I can do is try and give a good account of ourselves tomorrow and try to enjoy it.”