Shaun did everything he needed to do today at Foxhills in Swindon for the eighth and final round of the 2016 Maxxis British Championship by winning both races. Two second places for Tommy Searle meant that ‘24’ missed out on a third consecutive national championship by just two points after sixteen motos throughout the domestic campaign.
Trailing Searle by a narrow margin Simpson was mindful of recent good performances at round seven of the series at Preston Docks and also forceful riding at the closing MXGP Grand Prix of the year last weekend at Glen Helen in California. The defending double number one went to the hard-pack needing a double triumph for maximum points and for misfortune to strike his British Motocross of Nations teammate to finish outside the top two.
Simpson was essentially mistake-free and peerless on one of his final outings on a 450SX-F on UK soil but watched Searle go 2-2 to end the campaign in second place.
“I came in with one thing in mind and I had to win both races and managed to do that,” the 28 year old said. “I felt pretty good physically after the trip back from America – which was a bit of a surprise – but I could to get out riding a few times and I think it paid dividends; I felt really good on the track. I was second, only 0.2 slower, in qualifying. I got a good start behind Graeme Irwin in the first moto and hounded him for two or three laps but was able to get past him and pull a gap – as much as I could at Foxhills where it is difficult to make up time. The track layout had changed and it was a little bit tighter but I enjoyed it and it was prepared well. So I won the first race with ease and Tommy got into second. The next race was very much the same.”
“I was into the lead by turn two and it seems Tommy was hounded by Tanel Leok and Irwin again. So the podium was myself, Tommy and Leok and I just came short on the championship by two points. It was slightly easier to take having won the last two rounds quite convincingly…but it would have been nice to do it. The MX2 series also went down to the wire and Steven Clarke had a bike problem in the first moto – which is what kinda we needed! It has been a tough year in terms of competition and overcoming my hand injury but I gave everything I had. Blaxhall [round six and tenth place overall] was a disaster and that’s where I lost it.”
Maggiora in Italy next weekend will be the scene of Simpson’s last major fixture of 2016 with the 70th running of the Motocross of Nations and his sixth representation for Team Great Britain.
“Today was good prep for next weekend but being fast and slick and with some nice ruts. I’m looking forward to that now. I’ll be working with Tommy rather than against him like we were this weekend. We’ll get Max [Anstie] onboard and hopefully do well enough to finally put Team GB on the box. It will be a nice piece of icing on the cake for my season.”
The Wilvo Virus Performance KTM team were able to toast an MX2 national crown for Adam Sterry at Foxhill.