Shaun Simpson update – time to get going!
How many times have we told others and ourselves “strange times”? It’s also been a scary few months, so I hope everybody reading these few lines have been able to stay healthy and have not had their lives turned upside down too much.
As a professional racer and a sportsman the pandemic and the big ‘pause’ that came our way was pretty unprecedented. I mean, we deal with injuries all the time in motocross but we are always working towards some sort of timetable of recovery or an optimistic schedule of when we can return to something that is our job and passion. It was the case for so many people but our general lifestyle stopped so quickly in March.
We had a regular start to the year with the pre-season internationals and the first two Grands Prix but then the British Championship opener was cancelled and so was the trip to Argentina, so we headed home as the lockdowns began. It was hard to accept that everyone was just stuck at home and not riding.I was sending a few messages to other guys because I was genuinely curious as to whether some were still training or able to ride wherever they were. I quickly decided to have three-four weeks off and then begin work again because it was clear that the world championship was in a state of limbo that was not to disappear quickly. Riding again in the last few weeks is something that I really needed. It felt like there was quite a big hole in my life.
Above all It is really nice now to have an end goal of when we’ll be racing again. We haven’t had that ‘secure’ date to work towards for a few months and it was weird. It was tough to be training, practicing and riding without any target for competition. As it stands MXGP will be fourteen dates with a couple of new things to deal with: triple headers in Latvia and Belgium – I’m not one to complain about a bit of sand! – reversed tracks, restricted paddocks and a one-day format. I’m a fan of the new schedule. I think it cuts out a lot of the bull***t. Saturday’s don’t mean much. It’s only for a gatepick, and putting on a show for the crowd that are there.
It’s part of the job of course but I think the racing-side of things such as set-up and qualifying position can be done Sunday morning. 2020 has been so different already that’s its actually curious that we are able to experiment with the calendar. I think having three GPs at one venue will be fun. The atmosphere will be missing, especially if crowds are under 1000 people, but it will also be exciting and you’ll need to bring your A-game instantly on those Sundays and Wednesdays; there won’t be any warming-up on a Saturday.
In the past I’ve been quite good in qualification races on a Saturday and not as good on a Sunday. It could suit me.
We definitely need to get the three-and-a-half month period done without any injuries. Consistency will still mean a solid championship position. The venues are pretty safe and well-known; all within Europe except for Argentina. The other one that will be a bit tricky is Turkey and we’re trying to decide if we’ll drive or freight the bikes for that ones we might have a British Championship to get back. As we put this newsletter together we are still waiting for confirmation on the British dates. It would be great to get those races going again. COVID-19 doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere so I just hope we can be smart and deal with it the best we can so we can get back to doing what we enjoy.
Right now I’m definitely looking forward to getting in the van and heading up to Latvia to get set-up for what will be over a week at Kegums which will be weird! It’s definitely the word of the year so far.
Words: Shaun Simpson
Lead mage: Ray Archer