What a season of highs and lows for Shaun Simpson. From his epic win at the gnarly Indonesia GP in Pangkal Pinang to a promising weekend at the GP of Latvia turning sour after sustaining a broken hand.
Simpson started his 2017 FIM World Motocross Championship in steady fashion, 17th in the opening moto and 14th in the second gave him 16th overall in Qatar. Not where he would want to be but something to build on.
He took his chance at the following round, as rain lashed down on the Indonesian circuit, the resulting mud bath was perfect for #24 to show what he can do when the gnarliest conditions are thrown at him, taking the win in the only MXGP moto of the weekend.
Since the high of Pangkal Pinang he’s consistently been around the top 10-15 with 12th at Patagonia in Argentina, followed by 14th in the last of the early flyaways in Leon, Mexico.
Returning to Europe and the Trentino GP, Simpson once again threatened the top 10 with an 11th overall before slipping back with a 12-14 scorecard at the GP of Europe in Valkenswaard to give him 14th overall.
That was the last GP weekend he completed, breaking his hand at Kegums. “There were three rollers in Latvia, I went off track and hit a steel cable that was holding up a pole,” he told Dirt Bike Rider in an exclusive interview.
“I didn’t crash but it broke the middle metacarpal bone in my left hand. It wasn’t a straightforward break though, it was splintered like a piece of wood rather than being straight across, and it was fractured into two or three little parts so it wasn’t the easiest for the surgeon to fix.
“He managed to get a couple of screws in and get the plate right on top of the bone with the fixings at either end. He did a really good job, I was pretty impressed when he showed me the x-rays after the operation, it looked pretty good. He said without the operation it would take about three months to heal but with the plate, about four to five weeks and he was pretty much bang on. I went back after five weeks and there was bone calcifying around the plate on the x-ray. I was happy with that and he was delighted so we managed to get back on the bike straight away.”
That injury meant he would sit out three Grands Prix – Teutschenthal, Ernee and Orlyonok in Russia.
And just like luckless countryman, Tommy Searle – who had also been suffering through his own injury nightmare – we all thought simmo had put his injury troubles behind him last weekend.
Simpson felt in good shape coming into Ottobiano, as he revealed to us before the Qualifying Race. “I would say in the gym I’m probably fitter than before the injury. It was a lot of time to really focus on that but it’s easy to focus on it when you don’t have to focus on your riding.”
But more injury troubles were about to strike.
To be blunt, it was a disastrous return to Grand Prix racing for the popular Scot. He didn’t even get to complete the first turn of the MXGP of Lombardia Qualifying Race before a bike and rider pile up downed his Wilvo Yamaha machine – the resulting fall clearly had Simpson in pain, as he held his left arm.
Early fears of a significant injury were confirmed at the hospital with a break close to the elbow and a fracture above the left wrist.
Simpson then made the trip overnight to Belgium for surgery with Dr Claes on Sunday. There’s no news on how long Simpson will be away from the bike but we can say it’s going to be around two months before we see him racing at GPs.
That leaves Shaun aiming for Frauenfeld – Gachnang in Switzerland on August 13 but perhaps more realistically Uddevalla in Sweden on August 20. If that’s the case he has four Grands Prix to try and finish on a high.
Should Shaun aim for a quick return or take his time to get right with the Motocross of Nations on home soil at Matterley Basin just a month or so later? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter.
Like all the British fans, we wish Shaun a speedy recovery. Stay strong Simmo.
Check out the onboard footage of Simpson’s Ottobiano Qualifying crash