Ninth position overall for Shaun through the holes and ruts of Kegums and the Grand Prix of Latvia for round six of eighteen in MXGP. Some set-up issues and moments of adversity such as hitting the gate and slipping off in the first moto meant for a difficult day.

Eighth position in Qualification on Saturday already created a few headaches. Shaun was looking to refine the handling of his Wilvo Virus Performance KTM in terms of suspension and feeling to cope with the loose, sandy soil but hard base littered with bumps and crevices. Good weather conditions greeted MXGP’s return to Europe after a trek through the Americas but raceday turned out to be a ‘cloudy’ affair for the British Champion.

“Yesterday was pretty good even if I didn’t get the result in the Qualification race that I felt I could have; eighth was still OK and I felt I had something to give today. We struggled with set-up both days basically.”

The launch to the first thirty minute and two lap moto was horrid. “I hit the gate along with a couple of others and made it tough on myself from the beginning,” the 28 year old recounts. “I fell off on the second lap and was right back outside the first thirty. I managed to come through to fourteenth despite my pace not being amazing or not feeling that great on the bike. I was disappointed with that one, not so much because of the result but the way I was feeling.”

“We changed the shock for the second moto and straight away I felt better for getting out of the gate and making the laps,” he says.

Shaun ran on the fringes of the top six and with some unpredictable scenes such as eventual GP winner Tim Gajser crashing, Kevin Strijbos breaking down and riders fluctuating with their race rhythm. “I didn’t have great pace in the beginning but knew could hold on and get into the race and that happened after about twenty minutes! I picked up a couple of the guys and Gajser came through and he was truckin’. I had something in the bag for [Max] Nagl in the last laps but the clutch starting slipping and I couldn’t push hard in the last three laps. Bobryshev ended up getting me just before the finish. I was disappointed again not to finish sixth in that second one. It was a brighter end to the weekend but frustrating we didn’t get two good results because the top six was possible today.”

14-7 led to 9 for the day but the 21 points helped the Scot rise a spot in the MXGP standings and can now look ahead to the German Grand Prix at Teutschenthal next weekend. “I’m back up to seventh in the championship so it was not a disaster of a weekend but I am definitely looking to some more testing and riding this week before Germany,” he commented. “I have a lot more to give but I just need to get more comfortable on the bike. It seems to be a bit of a common theme between the KTM guys at the moment and a lot of testing is going on. We can improve and get back near the top five where we should be.”

Photo by Ray Archer