Following a lengthy break, the FIM Motocross World Championship resumed on a circuit that is carved in a steep Czech hillside. Loket, a track that has played host to MXGP countless times, also marked Shaun Simpson’s return to MXGP, after recovering from his recent hand injury.
Rain played havoc with conditions as the MX2 qualifying race fired into life. A bad start unfortunately forced Sterry to fight through the field from the lower half of the top twenty, but he was quick to make progress. Two falls hampered his charge, however, and left him with the twenty-first gate pick for the main motos. Sterry was still confident entering race day though, as the start at Loket is relatively fair.
The rain had just started to ease off when the MXGP riders took to the circuit in anger for the first time, but the technical surface could still bite at any point. Simpson suffered from a mediocre start in the race, but was one of the few riders to make good progress and eventually salvaged an eleventh. That set ‘24’ up quite well for the following day.
MX2 Moto One
A superb start saw Sterry slot into second place early on in the first of two MX2 motos. Running the pace of the leader with ease, he held the spot for six laps and showed what he is really capable of at the highest level. A handful of battles ensued towards the end, but Sterry held on to take seventh and the best result of his relatively short career. He also had the third-fastest lap of the race.
MXGP Moto One
In his first MXGP moto since the British GP in June, Shaun Simpson suffered from a mediocre start and had to search for places to pass on the one-lined circuit. He really came alive in the second half and started to make up some of the ground that he lost in the opening laps, so progressed up to sixteenth and salvaged five points.
MX2 Moto Two
The rain returned for the second MX2 encounter, which meant that the start was more important than before. Adam Sterry got caught up in the middle of the pack and then a mistake saw him drop outside the top twenty, so he faced an uphill climb. ‘811’ overcame a variety of issues as the race progressed, but kept his cool and managed to break into the points by the time the race had ended. A seventeenth in that second moto gave him tenth overall on the day and also saw him move up to twenty-second in the championship.
MXGP Moto Two
A slightly-better start helped Shaun Simpson in the final MXGP moto, but he still found himself with a lot of work to do. He was not to be deterred, however, and started to pick off some of the riders that were ahead of him. As the race progressed he started to find his form culminating in a bar to bar battle with Paulin as the race drew to a close. Despite passing the Frenchman twice on the penultimate lap he was unable to make the place his own and had to settle for thirteenth in the moto and fifteenth overall. After adding thirteen more points to his championship total, he is now just twenty-three points down on a top-eight ranking in the championship.
Adam Sterry: “Some more progress this weekend! Times were good all weekend again, but some things didn’t go my way. Moto one was good and I ran second for nearly half the race, but in moto two I had a few problems with my neck brace and goggles. They were both freak incidents. We finished tenth overall, so will keep working and hopefully improve in Lommel.”
Shaun Simpson: “It was good to be back. It was really hard work for me, coming back after my hand injury. I have been riding a fair bit, but it has been nothing like this. I was probably more getting ready for Lommel, seeing as I rode good at that track last year and the sand is a lot more forgiving on my hand. The positives are that my hand is giving me no pain, which is a really good thing, but I have no power in it. I just need to get back to where I need to be.”
Team Manager, Steve Turner: “It was good to have both riders back on the line. Adam performed well and was rewarded with his best GP result. It was a shame that he couldn’t repeat it in the second race but that’s another part of the big challenge he faces at this level. As he races more the consistency will come and we’ll see him get even better results. Shaun found it tough going on his return to GP’s and his lack of race time showed at times. He fought hard all weekend and improved throughout. Another week on the bike will hopefully see him back in the top ten at the next round.”