Shaun came, saw, kicked up roost and conquered the Grand Prix of Belgium today. In a weekend of firsts – overall position, Pole Position and a maiden 1-1 scorecard – the Scot ruled MXGP at the hardest and toughest track on the calendar.

It was a milestone achievement after eleven years in Grand Prix. The 27 year old steered his 450SX-F to a first moto win by pulling away from Romain Febvre and then Gautier Paulin and repeated the feat in front of 24,200 fans (with many Brits in the crowd) by stalking Paulin and overtaking the factory HRC rider at mid-race distance in the second sprint.

There were moments of drama however. Shaun did not complete a lap of morning warm-up due to an engine problem that sent his Hitachi Construction Machinery Revo KTM crew – and father/mechanic Willie – into a busy stretch of checks and troubleshooting. Then with three laps remaining in the second race and with a clear lead Shaun landed awkwardly from the hefty quad jump (he was one of just two people to consistently do the leap) and crashed. He remounted quickly and was able to ride at good speed again to the finish despite the closer proximity of Paulin.

The perfect 50 point tally was a landmark in the Scot’s career but the haul also helped push him into sixth position in the world championship standings and with his eye on the top five as he now prepares for his wild-card outing at Unadilla, NY for the tenth round of twelve in the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Nationals next weekend.

Round fifteen of eighteen in MXGP will be at Mantova in Italy on August 22nd-23rd.

On the win…

This has been a long time coming. I got close back in 2009 in the sand in Valkenswaard and I burned out in the second moto. I had a small injury before and it cost me a lot. I think about that day when it should have been perfect…and I don’t get them very often. I wanted to grab this opportunity with both hands. There was no way I was going to let it slip today. The first moto went to plan. The second one – I maybe wasn’t the fastest guy out there but I definitely planned it well – I knew I could last the distance. What wasn’t in the script was the crash; I just landed in some soft sand and high-sided. I don’t think I have ever got off the ground and on the bike so quickly. I did the last two laps with my peak in front of my goggles so I felt like a right goon but managed to get it done.

On the Lommel sand…

This one probably takes the biscuit and is the roughest I have seen Lommel. They had prepared the sand by raising the level of the track and it meant it was a lot softer than when we train and practice here. I would call this ‘real’ motocross; plenty of bumps and places to pass. Guys tiring out, guys going fast, sprint laps, on-and-off and it is not something we see too often. Most of the time we are within fractions of a second of each other. I think it is such a great contrast to what we are used to and totally enjoyable for me.

On his rivals…

Romain was fast in both races and Gautier surprised me a little bit. He wasn’t on it so much yesterday but today he pulled a few things out of the bag. I’ve seen these guys practicing here so I know they have done their homework too and it is not a surprise to see them next to me and it is a pleasure to be between them.

On doing the quad…

The quad jump was harder this year but as the race developed it was actually easier to do it because you were landing where everybody wasn’t and you could double-double out. I think it was worth a second and a half a lap; at least that’s how it looked to me. After I crashed I just kept on doing it.

On what this means for the AMA…

Going to Unadilla next week is something that a lot of people seem excited about. There is no way to make a long journey better than with a good result on your back.

On Willie saving the day…

The old boy works his socks off. There is nobody here that tightens a bolt more than him. He is quite cool and calm on the outside but I definitely stressed him out this weekend. We had a bit of a problem after the qualification race and he went back to the workshop and stripped the engine and finished at about 1am. I was well in my bed by then. Something then happened this morning that shouldn’t have. I wasn’t stressed, he was but we got it fixed and we got the job done. I have to give him a big pat on the back because this is his win as much as it is mine.

Photo by JP Acevedo