A day of contrasting feelings for Shaun at the Grand Prix of Czech Republic even if the results were the same across the board 6-6 for sixth overall.

The British Champion recovered well from a horrendous start in the first moto across a rough and slick hard-pack that was far more technical and more enjoyable for the Scot. He charged up to seventh and survived a skirmish with Todd Waters (the Australian crashing when the duo crossed lines over a jump) and gladly accepted sixth when Gautier Paulin fell out of a top three finish. The first moto frustrated SS24 more than anything.

“We had to change two or three things before the second moto but it made such a difference,” he explained and referencing a faster and more effective performance later in the day. “I felt like I had a consistent bike all the way through and could push from the get-go really. In the first moto I felt like I had a lot more in the tank to give but I couldn’t find ‘it: the lines, the grip, the feeling.”

Shaun rode well in the second dash of thirty minutes and two laps – setting laps equivalent to the pace and speed of leader and GP winner Romain Febvre – and only a late bobble in flow prevented relegation of Jeremy Van Horebeek and a top five classification.

“The second moto mirrored Saturday’s performance in being very strong, great lap-times but I don’t know why but in the last three laps I just went off the boil,” he said. “I missed a few lines and hit a few stones and it threw my rhythm. Van Horebeek had Strijbos ahead of him as a ‘carrot’ and Van Horebeek was my carrot but I didn’t really make it work for me. Overall: good. The track didn’t really suit me but I had a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to next week and this was almost one to get out of the way!”

Simpson, currently seventh in MXGP, will now face round fourteen in the Lommel sand for the Grand Prix of Belgium; a favourite haunt and scene of a podium finish in 2014.

“We got the sand setting dialled-in,” he explained. “We took our basic set-up from last year and worked on it a little bit. We’ve got the advantage of staying just around the corner from Lommel so we’ve done enough laps around there and other sand tracks in the area. The setting is on-point and now we’ll have a week of recovery and a bit of riding on Wednesday probably. Followed by some relaxation and hopefully some top results for the first real sand GP of the year.”

Photo by Ray Archer