The Wilvo Virus Performance KTM team battled adversity after travelling to Leon, Mexico, for the fifth fixture on the FIM Motocross World Championship calendar.
With a pair of runner-up positions in Mexico late last year, Shaun Simpson had high hopes going into the event, but some unfortunate issues out of his control stopped him from achieving the expected results.
A mediocre start in the MXGP Qualifying heat made life difficult for Simpson, as he had to work his way forward from the middle of the pack. After swapping positions with those around him on multiple occasions and advancing as high as eighth at the halfway mark, he finished 10th.
The result set him up reasonably well for the two motos on Sunday, as the start at Leon is quite fair in comparison to some of the other tracks.
Simpson found that after starting mid-pack in the first race he was right in the thick of a freight train, but #24 remained composed while battling it out with those around him.
He used his experience to move up two spots towards the end of the moto and an eighth place meant he was still one of only four riders to finish in the top 10 in every moto up until that point.
Simpson got off to a better start in the second MXGP moto, as he pushed forward in the early stages and made a move on eight-time world champion Tony Cairoli to take seventh.
After a few laps Simpson unfortunately crashed in one of the extremely rutted corners and as he attempted to retrieve his machine, he was hit by another rider at full speed. Battered and bruised, Simpson was unable to continue.
The work that he had already done in the day gave him four points, which helped garner 13th place overall. With five rounds complete, Simmo now sits eighth in the MXGP standings and just a couple of points behind seventh.
“It was tough. This track sort of lends itself to being a bit ropey and a bit sketchy,” said Simpson. “The ruts were really, really crusty and they had watered a few bits, so it was pretty sketchy. I went down on my own [in the second moto], got a bit disorientated as I was getting back up and as I turned to run back to my bike Lupino was fully committed to the corner and drilled right into me.
“Both wrists have taken quite a hit, my right bicep has got a haematoma on it and my right leg as well. I’m definitely thankful to be in one bit, that’s for sure.”
Team Manager, Steve Turner commented: “It was a tough weekend. The first race wasn’t so bad, but the second race was going really well. He had better lines and was moving forward, but crashed. Lupino was railing it around the berm and smashed straight into him as he was getting up. Both of them ended up in a heap and battered, but are okay – that is the main thing. When you first see all the medics going towards them, you fear the worst. We’ll be okay for next weekend, that’s for sure.”