British Champion Shaun Simpson is apparently close to tying up a further year with the Hitachi Machinery Construction UK KTM team that will see MXGP’s top satellite racer stay on the 450SX-F, and wear the number one plate in orange on home turf in 2015.

Simpson’s efforts this season, where he scored points in all but two of the 34 Grand Prix motos and was holding fifth position in the standings until a brief shoulder dislocation at the penultimate round, means that he established his profile as Britain’s leading rider in the class.

He celebrated a podium finish at Lommel for the Grand Prix of Belgium and allegedly was in line for a factory supported slot with Yamaha or Kawasaki until Romain Febvre accepted an early contract offer to go blue while the Ryan Villopoto saga for KRT was finally resolved with the American coming to MXGP.


The 26-year-old made his breakthrough after three Grand Prix seasons as a teenager with Roger Magee’s KTM team in 2008 where he landed his (and the team’s) first GP trophies and grasped his first British title in the MX2 category.

Re-joining Magee’s outfit for 2014 was again a career highpoint for a rider who had previously struggled to find the right squad and equipment since moving to MXGP/MX1 in 2011, initially with Honda and then stints with Yamaha and TM. “We’re almost done with a deal and the best thing about it is keeping some stability and an environment that I know can work positively for me,” Simpson says.

“The season didn’t end so well but the truth is that we have to look past the disappointments in Brazil and at the Nations and think ‘well, we did a pretty good job’. Roger knows a couple of adjustments in which we can hone the way we go racing and he’s always been good to talk with that. Considering how the package worked in 2014 I see no reason why we cannot have a similar year and push for better.”

After taking part in the Weston Beach Race this weekend, Simpson will travel to the UK’s International Dirt Bike Show at Stoneleigh at the end of the month before taking a short break in Thailand with girlfriend Rachael. He has already started a mild training schedule but will crank up the intensity with specialist Step 1 Fitness’ Kev Maguire during November.

“I’ve been working with Kev for 18 months and he completely overhauled my regime and pushed me up to a level of fitness that I did not know was achievable,” he says of one of his key strengths. “I knew it was working because I didn’t tire throughout the season and that was with Grand Prix, British Championship and some races in Belgium and Holland thrown in. He knows the sport, listens to me on a day-to-day basis and tailors a plan specifically to me.”

Simpson aims to test in December and then continue training, possibly with a stint in the south of Spain to escape some of the harsher conditions of northern Europe, during the depths of winter. The 2013 Benelux Grand Prix winner uses a base in Belgium during the season and is expected to be away from home in January when the motocross calendar begins to stir into life with the first pre-season internationals. The first Grand Prix of 18 in 2015 will take place at Losail in Qatar on Saturday, February 28.