Among the 15 factory runners in MXGP British Champion Shaun Simpson has been a constant nuisance, and the top privateer in Grand Prix is now attracting interest from brands like Kawasaki, KTM and Husqvarna.
As the OEMs get busy with contract offers for 2016 Simpson is apparently firmly in the frame with several teams for a variety of reasons but his ability to push for results at the forefront of MXGP on limited means is what has spiked curiosity in the paddock. Racing managers for the manufacturers are allegedly curious what the Scot can do with more race resources.
“It is really nice to get some calls and enquiries and it shows that we are doing the right job. I really feel I am starting to get near where I want to be in MXGP,” he said at last weekend’s Italian Grand Prix.
“Thanks to Roger Magee we were able to organise a set-up at the Hitachi Construction Machinery Revo KTM team that let’s us get on with racing but it has been a lot of work and hours to get the show on the road and sometimes we feel like we are just getting by. To be ‘factory’ I think is the goal of any rider pushing for the top of Grand Prix and I do dream about what I can do with that extra support.”
Simpson works with father and former racer Willie as mechanic. “My Dad obviously knows me better than anyone and between us we have made a GP and British Championship calendar work very well,” he said.
“But after these last two seasons I know he would like to take a step back and I’m also ready to move up a level. They say ‘you never stop learning’ and while I’ve developed some good habits – that means I can run as high as I can at GP – I do want to get more experience and really fulfil my potential.”
The 27 year old has been a slow-burn talent in Grand Prix and is still one of only two British riders to win in MXGP/MX1.
Simpson has been the second best KTM rider in MXGP for the last season and a half and was close to an impressive top five finish in the 2014 series until he crashed while trying to overtake Dean Ferris at the Grand Prix of Goias (Brazil) last September and briefly dislocated his shoulder.
He currently sits seventh in the standings, the same place he occupied at the end of the ’14 campaign and with a podium finish at the Grand Prix of Belgium.
His profile as Britain’s leading motocrosser has increased significantly not only due to his results but also initiatives like his Simpson Army Fan Club, frequent GoPro laps and a very active social media presence.
Simpson has also kept busy in 2015 with International race appearances in France and Belgium in between GP and British Championship dates. He has been a top six regular with seven finishes in the 18 motos to-date and points every round.