The Grand Prix of Latvia, held in Kegums only 40km south east of the capital of Riga, will mark the last in an intense period of three back-to-back races. The event is also the last one before the short summer break and after the atmospheric German GP the LS Honda riders and their GP colleagues are once again set to be met by an enthusiastic crowd. The Latvian race also holds some nostalgic value for the Belgian Honda squad because Kegums was the scene for their very first moto win, just two years ago.
Although the soil seems sandy the Kegums track actually has a very fine loamy surface. Kegums is quite flat, yet it offers some technical challenges with lots of jumps and it’s a fast, physical track that will get rougher over the weekend. While the Latvian GP is still a recent addition to the GP calendar – this weekend will be it’s third year running – it’s gradually becoming more and more of a traditional stop on the MX1 world championship tour.
LS Honda’s British rider Shaun Simpson experienced a mixed weekend in Germany last week. Shaun confirmed his blistering speed on Saturday but he’s hungrier than ever to deliver a similarly strong performance on race day.
“My speed is good so I know I just need that little extra to score those two top 10 finishes I am aiming for,” says Shaun. “In terms of the track I don’t really know what to expect. The layout in Kegums looks pretty cool, there’s some nice jumps and it’s just a bit different than the other tracks. Last year I struggled to gel with the place, in some spots it’s fast and slippery. Getting some good lines and of course a good start will be crucial this weekend.”
For Ken De Dycker Kegums is certainly a track that favours his qualities. Ken produced his best result in Latvia in 2009 when he grabbed the pole in qualifying and finished fifth overall.
“I like Kegums,” says Big Ken. “As a rider you just know it’s one of these tracks were you can have fun – you have lots of jumps but it gets pretty rough and bumpy as well. I made sure I had plenty of rest this week so I should be all fresh and ready to go! In Teutschenthal getting that good start was a bit harder than before because it was so tight – hopefully I can find my way through on that tight right-hander this weekend. I have said it before but if I can get with the front-runners early on it’s definitely a different kind of race for me.”