KTM UK’s Shaun Simpson took an astonishing overall victory at Brampton at the penultimate round of the Maxxis British Motocross Championships on Sunday.
Simpson had surgery on a partial fracture of his collarbone after a crash at last weekend’s Czech Motocross Grand Prix and was expected to struggle, with the decision to actually ride not even being made until noon on Saturday, but instead it was championship rival Stephen Sword who seemed to struggle in the deep Cumbrian sand.
Simpson led from the start of moto one, but a mishap early on relegated him to fourth behind Zach Osbourne, Sword and Neville Bradshaw, but Simpson immediately set about charging back through the field, and was right with the leading pair of Osbourne with a couple of laps left.
Simpson managed to get by Sword but was unable to pass Osbourne’s U-Tag Yamaha as the American took his first British Championship moto victory although it was very, very close - the leading trio were less than a second and a half apart by the time the chequered flag flew.
Simpson led again from the start of race two, but this time a fired-up Sword seemed determined to do something about it, moving up past Osbourne and Bradshaw and slowly closing in on the leader.
But just when it seemed the crowd might be treated to another grandstand finish, the Molson Kawasaki veteran dropped it and took what seemed an age to get going, dropping back to sixth and seemingly unable to regain his former pace.
So Simpson brought it home for an epic victory in front of Martin Barr and Neville Bradshaw, with Osbourne and Bradshaw’s DB Racing Honda joining him on the podium - Simpson keeps hold of the championship leader’s red plate with one round left, and heads to Hawkstone points fifteen points to the good. Barring disasters, it seems likely Simpson will there be crowned a deserved British MX2 champion.
The MX1 class saw the unlikely spectacle of an off-form Billy Mackenzie - the reigning British Champion, unbeaten domestically thus far, was still very clearly suffering the effects of his massive crash at last weekend’s Czech Grand Prix and was in disaster recovery mode, riding just to earn a handful of points instead of crushing the opposition as he so often has done this year. Ray Rowson was the man who led them out of the gate for moto one with Tom Church second, but Brad Anderson was having none of that, the North-Easterner charging through into the lead within a handful of laps. It wasn’t to last long, however, as Ando suffered a big crash on lap five, handing Rowson the lead back with the rest of the pack seemingly unable to do anything about it. With Mackenzie slipping slowly down the pack to sixth and Anderson unable to show his early pace, it was Noble who decided to make a go of it, moving up from fifth to second and slowly creeping up on the PAR youngster, but Rowson was there on merit and never looked truly threatened, crossing the line almost five seconds to the good ahead of Noble and TC. Billy Mac came out on the gas for moto two, gating behind the fast-starting Rowson and making his way into the lead on lap two, but it wasn’t the Billy Mac of old - Noble put on a charge from third that took him into the lead on lap six as both Mackenzie and Rowson tumbled their way down the field. For Mackenzie, a remount in sixth was as good as his second moto was going to get, whilst Rowson yo-you’d up and down the standings for the rest of the day. Behind Noble, Gordan Crockard got out of the gate well and rode through the chaos to show signs of closing in for the win, but Noble had it all under control, crossing the line with five seconds in hand. Mark Jones took an excellent third, ahead of a close-fought battle between Anderson and Wayne Smith, with Jones’s consistent 4-3 finishes putting him second on the podium behind Noble - Rowson’s day after his superb win in the opener was ultimately a little disappointing, but he still went home third overall. Billy Mac heads to the final round with almost forty points in hand, but it’s looking tasty in the battle for the number two plate - just five points separate Noble and Anderson with two motos of racing left in the championship.