Shaun Simpson on the Coronavirus situation and testing times

Shaun Simpson has started his own team this year – the SS24 KTM team and has showed great speed at the opening two rounds of the MXGP World Championship. However, due to the Coronavirus outbreak, people’s health are now the priority and as a result there won’t be any MXGP until at least June.

This is something new for all the riders and pretty much everyone involved in the sport not racing in April or May so it’s testing times and knowing what to do. We caught up with Simpson to get his thoughts on how the break might effect him as well as the sport.

On the break in the MXGP calendar.. 

It’s testing times for the Motocross community and pretty much everyone in the world at the moment.  Regarding the break, things will obviously change. My programme will 100% be changed. Normally we would be in among back to back race weekends with the British Championship and MXGP. Currently I should be in Argentina or at least on my way there. Coronavirus has taken it’s toll on everyone really and the UK seems to be a couple of weeks behind Italy with regard to lock down, social distancing and things like that. It looks like we are going to be facing that in the coming days. I would say at the moment to be honest I am just lying low trying to avoid social contact with people, I’m not feeling 100% myself, I’m not saying it’s Coronavirus by any stretch but I don’t feel like I’m running on all cylinders. For everyone safety as well as my own, I think I’m going to hide out at home for a few days to see how things get on. With riding, it’s definitely stopped at the moment, I haven’t been on the bike for a few days and training has went back a faze or two. We are keeping things ticking over at the moment and we will see what will happen. At the moment it’s looking like we aren’t going to be racing for a couple of months at least with the GP’s. They are hoping to run the British Championship at Foxhill but I can see that getting moved as well.

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On having a plan B, C and D..

It’s very strange to be at this point of the year and not riding but we just have to roll with it and come to some sort of B plan as well as a C and D plan. We are mindful that the season is going to be long and longer than usual going into November. It’s obviously something we haven’t been used to at all. I’ve rode in October and November for select races but for the season to go on that far, it’s something we are all going to have to manage. At the moment it’s just the unknown, we really can’t plan right now. We can’t plan when to peak for, when to be back riding. We aren’t 100% sure because these goal posts have been changed over the last few days. I think what we need to do is keep things going and see what happens with regards the first race back. Hopefully that’s sooner rather than later but obviously everyone’s safety is of utmost importance and we will be back racing when we can.

Pic: Infront/MXGP

On how much of a hit the Coronavirus situation could be to the Motocross community.. 

How much of a hit will this be to the Motocross community? I have no idea, running my own team you could say I’m in a better or a worse situation than some of the other lads who are getting a contract from a team and getting paid monthly. I think they might run into situation’s where they might not be getting paid because they aren’t racing. It’s going to be a strange one. I’m just hoping my personal sponsors (I haven’t talked with them so far), are still on-board and we are ready to go racing as and when that might happen. There’s a lot of question marks over contracts, renewals, 2021 and when that will kick off – if it’s the same time it’s going to give us absolutely no time to get ready for next year so burnout could become a major factor. It’s going to be interesting to see who can do the most work in this off mid season break (whatever you want to call it) and see who can come back in good shape.

At the moment I was feeling like I was in a good spot and I’ve got no real reason to panic or start reinventing the bike testing. I’m feeling quite comfortable with what’s going on there so I just need to be physically in shape and we can use this time to our advantage to be organised for when the races do start again. The unknown of it all is going to get to everyone but as always I’m sure we’ll all get over this and it’ll be something we talk about in the future. This hasn’t happened in my generation anyway so it’s something we are all going to have to roll with and see what happens.

Article: Andy McKinstry

Main pic: Nigel McKinstry