Shaun completed a positive pre-season warm-up period today by celebrating two moto wins and overall victory at the LaCapelle Marival International in France. One week after toasting a decent third place finish ahead of numerous factory Grand Prix peers at Valence, Shaun, backed by father and mechanic Willie out of the Hitachi Construction Machinery Revo KTM UK crew, tussled with Steven Frossard and other GP names like Dylan Ferrandis at the sodden circuit north of Toulouse.
SS24 was clearly a pace-setter from a damp practice session but the rains stopped and the track continued to dry for the motos. The racing surface eventually provided grippy and ideal terrain and Simpson exceled on the rough dirt. He claimed the first moto from Motocross of Nations winner Frossard and riders like Davide Guarneri, Pauls Jonass, Xavier Boog and Valentin Guillod.
He started well in the second and controlled the rest of the field and only missed out on a perfect 1-1-1 scorecard through a small crash in the final sprint that dropped him to second place. The top step of the rostrum completed a thorough and successful ‘dialling-in’ sequence of race meetings only days before flying out to Doha for the Grand Prix of Qatar and the first round of eighteen in the FIM Motocross World Championship on February 28th.
“I said last week it was good to have that podium feeling in Valence and this was just a step on from that. You cannot beat winning anywhere and against anyone,” the 26 year old British Champion said. “We were a bit fearful of the weather when we arrived but the track took the rain well and it was sweet for the motos; right on point with some nice ruts. It is just one week before Qatar and none of us wanted to take any risks but I felt good out there and it turned out to be an ideal run before we head to the desert. Can’t wait for the season to start for real now.”
Simpson only fought with Frossard in the first moto as his potential British Championship rival pulled out of the event with an injured knee. “We touched in the first moto and I just clipped him on the left side. It was nothing big and I heard that he was unsure of his right knee before coming here.”
LaCapelle was also costly for Frossard’s team-mate, Jake Nicholls, who apparently landed heavily from a jump and broke two bones in his wrist and headed for immediate surgery in France.
Shaun now returns back to his base in Belgium and starts to prepare for the flight east from Brussels on Wednesday.