An all-new circuit, Frauenfeld-Gachnang, played host to the first MXGP of Switzerland in almost 16 years this past weekend, but Adam Sterry was unfortunately not present. Sterry had to allow the severe burns that he sustained a week ago time to heal, so Shaun Simpson was the sole rider beneath the Wilvo Virus Performance KTM awning.
Simpson rocketed out of the gate in the MXGP qualifying heat and started inside of the top three, but was then held up in turn two when another rider bobbled. A handful of small falls hindered Simpson along the way in the 20-minute moto, but he charged right through to the very end and eventually crossed the line in 16th. His pace indicated that he was deserving of much more as his fastest lap time was quicker than the rider in fifth.
A mediocre start hindered Simpson in the first of two MXGP encounters, but he put his head down and immediately got to work. After swapping positions with those around him, including a brief tussle with the current series leader, Tim Gajser, Simpson eventually crossed the line in 13th to collect eight valuable points. Proving that his hand injury is in the past, Simpson set his best time of the race on the final lap, gained a position and was two seconds faster than anyone else at that point in the moto.
Simpson got a better jump out of the gate in the second MXGP encounter, so was inside of the top 10 immediately and able to showcase the pace he had towards the end of moto one. A handful of battles ensued as the race progressed, but Simpson ended up eighth and 11th overall on the day. The 21 points gained on the weekend saw him inch closer to a top-10 ranking in the championship, as just two points separate him from Kevin Strijbos.
“I think it was all in the first lap,” said Simpson. “My start did not seem to be any better in the second moto but I avoided the carnage compared to the first. It was nice to get back in the top 10 in that second one. It felt better to end the weekend on a better result and I should have had two top 10s, but I haven’t been doing too much practice on this type of ‘going’.”
Team boss, Steve Turner, commented: “This turned out to be a very good event, the organisation was excellent, the racing was good and it was great to see a big, enthusiastic crowd packed into the tight arena. Shaun performed well and improved as the weekend went on. The first race he wasn’t aggressive enough on the first lap and lost a few places which proved difficult to get back but in the second he was very strong early on which set him up for a strong race and a great result.”