Shaun Simpson interview - Toughing it Out
Interview Tuesday 21th June 2011 By Geoff Meyer
MXlarge: Shaun, looking at your results from Spain it didn’t look that good for you.
Simpson: People look at 16-DNF and figure Shaun isn’t doing so well, and it’s frustrating for me to know I have the speed, but I am just not getting the results. I know everyone looks at the results and everyone looks at that and says what happened again.
MXlarge: What happened with Clement on the weekend? I noticed you had a clash in a corner; you don’t usually ride like that.
Simpson: It’s because of a couple of things really. I don’t want to get bad blood between us two, because we are normally not together in a race. In France he passed me, I mean he came up my inside and I gave him the line, because there was no point in trying to close the door, he already had the line, so I said ok, take it, but then out of the corner he just took me four or five metres outside the track. I mean my front wheel is touching his back wheel and I am struggling to stay up, I was like why do that. That really annoyed me. Nothing happened again until the first lap of qualification practice in Spain and as you know everyone goes looking around the track and looking for lines or whatever and I hear somebody revving coming up behind me, and on the same corner where I came up the inside of him he came in and gave me no room and totally bashed right into me, broke the can on my exhaust and just stupidly and looked at me like do you know who I am. It was the first lap of qualifying practice. I was just like there is no need for that. So in the race I see a gap and thought I am going to go for it and I probably didn’t go in hard enough and I should have taken the line, but I slipped off. I had been using the same like he had been using, but the lines came together and I went down. I don’t regret it at all, because at the end of the day whether you are Clement Desalle or a guy in 20th place I am just going out there to race. I am just there to race who is in front of me. If he thinks I am scared because he is leading the Championship and has the red plate then he can forget that, because I am not.
MXlarge: Is that even more difficult because you are obviously not fighting for the World Championship, but you have in the past in the MX2 class. He comes past you like do you know who I am, and it is obviously a lot of the guys from sixth to 15th get treated.
Simpson: I mean it does frustrate me a little, because my results apart from a good result in America haven’t been what they should be, then you get somebody like Frossard who also comes out of the MX2 class and he comes out in Bulgaria swinging and everyone is like he is good, so he automatically earns a lot of respect, and I haven’t earnt that respect yet, so everyone thinks, oh, Simpson, he is the new boy I can bully him a little bit. Once you start earning a little respect, like I did in 2007 and 2008 on the Kawasaki, you start being up there more often and they know you better and you earn their respect. I think most of the guys in the MX1 class know they can’t bully me, but Desalle he thinks he can just bully everyone.
MXlarge: Getting starts is what it is all about in a class as stacked as the MX1 class isn’t it?
Simpson: I mean no disrespect to Tanel Leok at all, but he and I have been battling all season long. He has gotten the better of me sometimes, but you just have to see on the weekend. He got second on the start in the weekend and he got second in the moto. I am not taking anything away from him, because he can battle and he is strong, but you can see with a start you can do something and I haven’t had any starts inside the top ten.
MXlarge: Racing outside the top ten, how difficult is it to get your rhythm going when it’s so wild in those opening laps?
Simpson: You try and get out of that rhythm, or try and make a pass, you have to follow the guy in front and it might be fine when you do get past him, but first you are getting pelted with stones and stuff. That is really what I am struggling at, is getting away with the front guys. I mean I have proven my speed is okay, because I have ridden top four in practice and top five in heat races. In Spain on the weekend I was battling for fifth and sixth with Rui and Desalle and was unlucky to do down.
MXlarge: I sometimes compare you and Rui Goncalves as similar types of riders. I mean Rui had his troubles last year with injuries and whatever, but he has picked it up and is on the edge of being a regular top five guy. Do you feel like you guys are similar?
Simpson: We are quiet similar, I wouldn’t say our riding styles are similar, but from where we came from sure we are similar. The one thing Rui is doing now what I am not is he is getting starts; he is always inside the top six in the starts. I don’t see him at the starts and I think that helps him. Bobryshev also, he is also getting good starts, they are always in front of me. I always say to people the most important part of the race is the first corner and first lap, you can make up the most time in that period of the race. In that first lap there have been times that Cairoli has been 15 seconds in front of me in the first lap when I am in 12th or 15th place. That is a lot of time to get back.
MXlarge: Last question with Billy coming back for the Grand Prix. That is obviously that Steve has said that he can come back and check his speed for a possible Motocross of Nations spot in team Great Britain. Do you have an opinion about that?
Simpson: To be honest it will be cool for him. He hasn’t raced here in a while and he hasn’t seen all of us for a while. I think it will be pretty cool to see him and ask him what he has been up to. I kind of miss having some British guys in the MX1 class at the GP’s, because at the moment I am the only one. I am flying the flag, but not really flying the flag. I will look forward to him coming back, and knowing Billy he will find the speed from somewhere and will be there about, but if he can hold it for two 40 minutes I am not sure, because they have shorter races in Australia. Billy will be ready, he isn’t stupid. Obviously I hope Steve picked me for the MXoN, but I have only showed him my speed, but not results and what I can do in the races.