Double MXGP Grand Prix winner Shaun Simpson has not yet capped a memorable 2015 campaign and after hoping to ‘complete the set’ and remain unbeaten in the eighth and final round of the Maxxis British Championship at Fatcat this weekend has committed to fly the Union Jack at the Supercross Paris-Lille (formerly Bercy) on November 14-15.
“I gave it a lot more thought than I believed I ever would if the offer came to ride at Bercy – which it still is with the same organisation and idea just a different venue. I grew up going to Bercy and went half a dozen times as a kid and enjoyed watching all the Americans and top riders come out. I always believed I would ride it one day,” Simpson, who boasts experience of the British SX and Arenacross championship in the last decade.
The double UK champion – who is expected to announce his factory supported ride with another British KTM team in the coming days – is not a name associated with the indoor discipline but will travel to the second edition of the event at Lille optimistic of ‘holding his own’.
“I enjoy supercross,” he claims. “I built a track at my house when I was 13 and was riding it a lot on 85s and then every winter. I did Arenacross for many years up until 2011 when the series took a bit of a dip in the UK. A few years have passed and now I have been given the chance at Bercy. I am still 27-years-old and have been honing my technique for a while. I feel really comfortable on my factory KTM 450. We have numerous amounts of data from Ryan Dungey and Ken Roczen from 2014 so why not? I think I can go with a package that is going to work and have some fun and experience something new.”
Simpson is set to defend his Weston Beach Race crown a week after the fixture at the sandy FatCat circuit and then enter a phase of prep for the biggest supercross event in Europe. “I will set aside a good three-four weeks and will have a short break after Weston before really starting to ramp it up. I will try and do a lot of it at home [Scotland] but if that doesn’t work then I have an option to go to Spain and there are three or four good tracks there within an hour of where I can be based.”
After 18 Grands Prix, eight British rounds and international appearances in France and Belgium it was has been a frantic year for the athlete who is now fourth in the world.
Many of his MXGP peers will be on holiday and taking a break but Simpson claims he is set to carry on competing this winter before looking at 2016. “It depends on how you are mentally,” he revealed. “If you’ve had a hard year and struggling to come back from injuries and peaks-and-troughs then it can be good to take a break. My season climbed, peaked and then did not dip. The last couple of weeks in Glen Helen and the Nations were unlucky and the bruising I’ve had has been worse than anything since February! I feel full of energy and ready to take on this little challenge.”