March 3, 2020
Photos by Eric Laurijssen
The rain fell, and the wind howled as the opening round of the 2020 FIM World Championship descended on the famous Matterley Basin circuit near Winchester and the MXGP of Great Britain.
Storm Jorge threatened the event, but with some good old British pluck and some hard work by the organisers, the meeting went ahead, although Saturdays qualifying races were scrapped.
The WMX and EMX125 classes had to contend with the worst of the conditions having to race on the Saturday in changing weather conditions and a super rutty track. Still, this didn't deter FXR Racing's German WMX racer Larissa Papenmeier who powered to a fourth position in her first moto, before going even better first thing on Sunday morning as she raised her game to finish moto number two in second to claim a fantastic second overall.
Our Norwegian EMX125 racer Haakon Osterhagon was also in the thick of the action qualifying from the 80 plus rider timed session to finish seventh in Saturday's moto. On Sunday he stepped it up with a holeshot and a strong fourthin moto two for a superb fourth position over the weekend.
Fresh from an excellent Hawkstone International SS24 Ktm's Shaun Simpson was in hot form coming into his home Grand Prix. The rougher the conditions, the better for the tough as teak Scotsman, but he was tagged by Jeffrey Herlings at the start of MXGP moto one forcing him into an off-track excursion. Working his way up from dead last he then had another fall eventually finishing 18th.
A good start in the second MXGP moto put Shaun up into the top ten finishing an eventual 11th for 11th overall.
"I was really happy with how I rode and how the bike felt in the second race, and we will take that onto the next one. I felt comfortable out there and if you asked me to do another 30 minutes around that track then not a problem. That's how I need to feel. If I am on edge and sketchy then I won't twist that throttle back, but right now I am good", said Shaun.
On the other end of the experience scale to Shaun was Rob Hooper Racing Yamaha's Teenager Taylor Hammal who was making his World Championship debut. Being locally based, he enjoyed a sizeable following at the event and although nervous he put in a great shift to finish 27th in the first MX2 moto. A crash while on the fringes of the top 20 in moto two saw him like Simpson have to come from the back of the pack, but he showed good speed to work his way up to 30th.
Simpson and Larissa will be heading to the Valkenswaard track in Holland this weekend for the second round of the World and European Motocross Championships, whilst Taylor and the Rob Hooper Racing team with wait a further week until the domestic British Championships kick off at Little Silver Moto Park in Devon UK on the 15th March. Here is a look at the full gallery from round one.