Red Bull KTM factory rider Shaun Simpson brought his competitive year to an end with a final outing at the Interntaional Beach Cross held at Berck-Sur-Mer, France. The seaside resort midway between Calais and Dieppe on the Northern French coast attracted a class entry, with even the sand master himself Stefan Everts making a rare racing appearance.
Simpson who had led last weekend’s Weston Super Mare Beach Race before it was brought to a premature halt due to a serious start straight incident, reverted back to his more familiar MX2 mount for this week’s sandy clash. Showing that he was very much back in tune with the smaller bike and at no disadvantage against the 450s, Shaun topped Saturday’s qualifying overall and was a clear five seconds quicker than any other in his class.
The deep white sand awaited the hundred plus line up in each of the category’s, as Sunday brought a much drier and brighter day compared to twenty four hours earlier. The twenty-one year old Scot, who has missed most of the season due to a nasty leg injury, was very much back on the pace, as he gated in third position before hitting the front around half race distance. However Shaun’s delight was to be short lived, with his factory machine grinding to a halt in the heavy conditions, before the chequered flag had been dropped on the first twenty minute plus one lap encounter.
Simpson’s day went from bad to worse as his start gate only partially dropped at the start of the second moto. The young Scot was left stranded as the hundred strong field disappeared into the distance. Having wrestled his bike free of the gate, Shaun then set about the daunting task of ploughing his way through the pack. Only two small crashes spoilt what otherwise was an incredible recovery, with Simpson crossing the line in an almost impossible third spot.
The day’s racing was brought to a close with a combined MX1 vs MX2 battle, with the best riders from each class brought together for a final thirty minute plus one lap showdown. To ensure a fair fight, the MX2 riders were given a forty second head start before the MX1 contenders were unleashed.
Simpson did his best to create as big a lead as possible, and put himself out in front on a track that was now showing the signs of a packed day of racing. Shaun managed to hold this position until half race distance, when he was out powered by his Red Bull KTM factory Team Manager Stefan Everts. Even against the bigger capacity bikes and sand specialists such as Steve Ramon and Marc De Reuver, Scotland’s leading MX rider showed his own speed in the deep and rough conditions by taking his second third place of the day.
Covered in sand, Simpson raised a smile as he stated. “It’s been a great day, with a bit more luck I could have finished the year off with a really good result. Anyway, I have enjoyed the racing and have shown just how quick I can be on a 250 even in the deep sand. We have got a couple of days testing this week, and then that will be it in terms of serious riding until early next year.”
“I am looking forward to a short break, before starting my winter training programme, so that I can start 2010 in the best shape possible.” Shaun ended.
For all the latest news about Shaun, please visit his official website at www.shaunsimpson.com