Shaun Simpson has signed with a British-based team, joining forces with RFX KTM for 2019.
Joining Simpson at RFX KTM will be Joel Rizzi, Nathan Dixon and Ben Clark.
“It’s great to have Shaun join the team for 2019,” said RFX Managing Director, Paul Irwin in a press release. “I have known and worked with Shaun many times throughout his career he is a true professional and a credit to have him aboard the team, I look forward to seeing 2019 unfold and fight for championships.”
Simpson has missed a number of rounds with injury across the two seasons he has been with the Wilvo Yamaha squad in what has been a difficult period for his MXGP career. In his debut year for the team he finished 17th in the points and followed that up with a 15th this year.
It certainly hasn’t been all bad and we have recently seen a return to form. His highlight with the team came in 2017 where he won a gnarly MXGP round at the Grand Prix of Indonesia – the last time a British rider won a GP. It’s also worth noting that he is the only rider to provide a Grand Prix win for Wilvo Yamaha during that time.
“I’m really pleased on joining RFX KTM for the 2019 season, it’s great to be back with a UK-based team,” said Simpson. “It’s been an unlucky couple of seasons with injury but to get back onto a KTM and have people around me that are willing to work and get the job done is really motivating.
“It’s nice to have a team solely built around me, the main focus, the main rider. Nathan, Joel and Ben seem like really nice guys they are all going to be making steps in the right direction on and if I can help them at any step of the way then that’s going to be great for me, for them and the team.
“It’s nice to know I still have people that believe in me as much as I believe in myself. I feel like I’m a slow burner and with the right crew, the right bike and good people around me creating a good atmosphere I think we can do amazing things and the best is still to come.
“Also a big thank you for KTM for stepping up and helping us, I know they already have a lot of teams out there but for them to believe in me and the team I truly believe that we’ll be a force to be reckoned with.”
The 30-year-old Scot will work under the stewardship of team manager Richard Dye. “Having spent several years working with the Italian JK team and Yamaha, it is now time for a change,” said Dye. “Not just the annual rider-swap, but a big shakeup in order to move forward. It is a pleasure for me to sign a contract with the KTM factory and with direct help and support from both KTM and WP, this will add fuel to the RFX KTM Racing global ambition.
“We don’t just want to compete and make up numbers… We need to be contenders at each level at which we race. I look forward to working hard with KTM, Shaun and the whole team and bringing home results.”
It’s not the first time Simmo has ridden KTM – three years ago he had his most successful campaign in MXGP while on a Wilvo Virus KTM, earning a top four in the standings with two Grand Prix wins in an 18-round season.
It will also be a return to the British Motocross Championship for Simpson for the first time since 2016. Simmo memorably went head-to-head with fellow Brit Tommy Searle in the ’16 season with Searle just narrowly stopping Simpson from claiming a third-straight MX1 championship title.
Joining Shaun will be the young talented rider Joel Rizzi who joins the team after a championship winning 2018 season. The Welshman will ride the 125 SX in the European Championship and the Michelin MX Nationals British Championship when back home on
Nathan Dixon will also join the team and after winter training on the new KTM SX-F 350 he will decide which class he wants to compete in.
Nathan had a strong rookie season in the UK MX1 class and he may also join Shaun in the MX1 class in the UK but revert to a 250 to gain some EMX250 experience.
The final member of the team will be talented 17-year-old Ben Clark who will race the SX-F 250 in two British championships.