LS Honda Racing are ready to finish the 2011 motocross season in style at Mont-Saint Guibert where the final round of the Lotto Trophy will take place with Brit Shaun Simpson on the threshold of the title in the highly-regarded Belgian Open MX championship.
He currently leads the series with a 53-point advantage over Italian Davide Guarneri. Ken De Dycker, who makes his comeback in Mont-Saint Guibert after sustaining a neck injury at the GP of Limburg in Lommel, is third trailing his team-mate by 63 points. With 75 points up for grabs Shaun needs to score 23 points to be crowned champion.
It would be Simpson’s first accolade in the MX1 class, the popular British rider having already claimed the British MX2 title in 2008.
For LS Honda Racing the title with Shaun Simpson would mean a third consecutive national title after Davide Guarneri’s Italian MX1 championship in 2010 and Clément Desalle’s domestic success in 2009. While Woody feels at home in the Low Countries where he has lived during the season since 2007, we wanted to know how much Belgian there is in the fast Scot!
You are living in Overpelt now but you also lived in Holland one year. Do you notice the difference between Dutch people and Belgian people?
SS: “Obviously, the language is a little bit different, especially with the accent and also with how people behave. Dutch people are definitely louder and more direct! I can’t say I prefer one more than the other but I had fun in Belgium as well as in Holland and made friends everywhere.”
Okay, let’s test your knowledge about Belgium. What’s the capital city?
Correct! How many official languages are being used in Belgium?
SS: “There’s two for sure, Dutch and French. Do they speak German in some parts? Is Flemish a separate language or is it a dialect?”
There’s three languages – Dutch, French and German. Flemish is just a dialect, like Scottish in Great Britain I guess. When was Belgium founded?
SS: “I have no clue, I am not good at history. Don’t ask me about the first king, I don’t even know who was the first British king was!”
What other sports besides motocross is Belgium famous for?
SS: “For sure cycling, road cycling and cyclocross. Other than that, is ice hockey big? I know Ken [De Dycker] likes that. I’m really a two-wheel guy myself.”
Tennis, judo, athletics and billiards are also pretty strong. Can you name five Belgian bands or music acts?
SS: “I’m not good with music I am afraid. I know that Werchter is a big festival and I went there a few times but I can’t remember any bands, sorry! I hardly know British bands. Man this is hard work your quiz!”
Okay, something easy. Who’s your favourite Belgian babe?
SS: “Belgian babe? I don’t watch a lot of TV so I’m not familiar with the names but for sure you have some nice girls in Belgium!”
What’s your favourite Belgian dish?
SS: “I like witloof, I’m not even sure we have that back home! Fries are also nice and frikandel special.”
Can you name two Belgian comic book characters?
SS: “Beats me, I’m not into comics – not even the American ones. I have to admit I’m pretty boring!”
The smurfs are Belgian and you will definitely find out about Tintin when the Steven Spielberg film is launched at the end of the year. Do Scottish people and Flemish people have something in common?
SS: “A few of the dialect words are actually similar! That’s strange when you hear it. In 2009 I was working with Hugo America, a physical trainer from Limburg. He often said some words that I had heard before in Scottish. Apart from that, the landscape is very different. In Scotland we have hills, here it is very flat. The weather is about the same, it’s s**t in Scotland and it’s s**t here! But the people are quite laidback both in Belgium and in Scotland.”
In Belgium we have very strong regional identities and the Scots seem to have a distinct identity from the English. Is this an issue with the selection of the British Motocross des Nations team? I’m not saying this was the reason why you were not picked for Saint Jean d’Angely, I just want your thoughts on this…
SS: “I don’t know, if you’re British and you’re eligible that’s all that matters. The best three guys should be picked. If they’re all Scottish, only one, two or no Scottish doesn’t matter! It would be nice to have a Scottish team though and I think we should be doing really well. Maybe we would beat the British or the English team! Most of the top British riders of the last seasons were Scottish anyway – Stephen Sword, Billy MacKenzie, me, Dean Wilson… But I don’t think it’s ever going to happen.”