The MXGP campaign may have finished last weekend in California with Glen Helen hosting the 18th and final round of the 2016 series but for Wilvo Virus Performance KTM’s Shaun Simpson two decisive fixtures remain on the racing calendar.
The 28-year-old heads to former Grand Prix venue Foxhill in Swindon this weekend trailing Tommy Searle by just eight points in the 2016 British Championship and with some work to do in order to keep his number one plate for the third year in a row. Simpson will then ally with his rival to represent Team GBR at the Motocross of Nations (the sixth time for the Scot) at Maggiora a week later.
“The pressure is still on but one way of looking at it is that next week I just have to go and win two motos – there is nothing more I need to do,” commented Simpson after some strong riding to finish 10th at the Monster Energy Grand Prix of USA and confirm the same ranking in the championship despite missing three rounds with a broken right hand. #24 was again the top British rider in the premier class.
“I will go with the same mentality I went to Foxhill with last year and let the other guys do their business and we’ll see how we end up. I know that I am strong, and mentally I will be right there. It is a case of doing my job and seeing where I finish. I want to make it three titles in a row and I kinda feel like it was my championship to lose. Blaxhall [round six] was a decisive factor in that; I lost so many points due to the red flag. If I could come back and win it then it’d mean a lot to me.”
Simpson must then think to the Nations and try to erase the memories of two difficult editions. In 2014 a broken chain ruined a thorough British bid to make the podium and 12 months ago he was landed on at Ernee during the qualification race and suffered a sore wrist. Max Anstie’s dramatic accident on Saturday counted the Brits out of contention again. “We have unfinished business there and not just for myself but for the whole team GB,” he said. “I hope we can all be 100 per cent fit and going there last year off an injury was not ideal. I hope we can be solid, bring in some nice results and hopefully have a shot at the podium.”