Shaun Simpson on Blaxhall: Rough and smooth!

A moto win and a missed chance for Shaun at round six of eight in the ACU national series in Suffolk as the MX1 title still remains in grasp.

4th overall at Blaxhall and a weekend where the re-arranged Grand Prix of Latvia meant that SS24 KTM MXGP had to choose between world championship and domestic championship duty and the chances of being able to capture a third premier class title was too enticing for Shaun. The team stayed in the UK.

Pole Position, 9th place in the first moto after two crashes and a battling ‘reply’ with a second moto victory meant Shaun skirted the edge of the final podium. “A day of two halves,” he summarised. “Blaxhall is not one of my favourite tracks on the calendar because I’ve never had much luck there and that continued! I think my last win was back in 2015 and there have been a few other mishaps.”

“The track had been prepared well and I was on Pole in qualifying by some margin, so that was a good start,” he described. A small fall while pursuing leader Harri Kullas on the opening lap meant that the Scot had to find his way through the entire British pack. “I started a charge where I made my way past everyone and got back up to 2nd behind Kullas again but then had some brain fade and went into fairyland on the last lap,” he said.

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The mistake and second spill led to a banged wrist, ribs and the former GP winner was briefly winded.

“It was quite a big one and I ended up 9th because I was on the ground catching my breath for a wee while,” he commented. “A total disaster actually. I felt pretty beaten-up between the races and down-hearted as well that I’d thrown away a win, but I took some painkillers, manned-up and went to the second start where it was again Kullas and me. I pressurised him for a while until he made a small misjudgement with fifteen minutes to go, so I got by him just before the rain came down and washed out the last four laps. We missed the podium by one point.”

Shaun’s next race will involve an International in Belgium this weekend and the penultimate British date somewhat closer to home in Duns, Scotland at the end of the month. The ‘local’ circuit remain the team’s last realistic shout of obtaining maximum points and sliding nearer to the top of the standings. Duns is followed by a potential MXGP double-header in Turkey, providing the country can be removed from the UK’s ‘red list’ of travel locations.

“Overall, we’re enjoying the small ‘wins’ or gains at the moment even if the championship is looking a bit tough,” Shaun said, in recognition of a tough recovery from injury in 2020 that saw minimal race appearances. “It’s still within reach though as we’re 26 points back. It’s not mathematically gone although I know I’ve let some good chances escape. We won’t stop trying.”

Words: SS24

Pic: Ray Archer