Valence the LS Honda Racing squad stayed in France for a week of training and suspension testing. Capping off the French leg of their pre-season preparation Shaun Simpson and Ken De Dycker rode the Masters Motocross international race at Lacapelle-Marival today. The tight, hard-pack slippery track situated two hours south of Limoges provided the World Championship riders with the perfect setting to test their pace. De Dycker not only showed blistering speed, he won the second moto and grabbed his first podium of the season. MX1 rookie Simpson did not enjoy the best of days, yet the 22-year old bagged fourth place in the MX1 class.
After the rain on Saturday, most of the race meeting took place under bright and dry conditions. The crowd was immediately treated to a close battle between Desalle and De Dycker in the first moto. Both Belgian riders remained together until the end of the 20-minute race. But one mistake in the last lap robbed the LS Honda Racing rider of his chance of victory. Teammate Simpson was hit in the rear on the opening lap, he went over the berm and through the fence. Although Braveheart first tried to continue his way he was forced to pull out because of the damaged front end of his bike and broken front lever.
The second sprint of the day saw Keeno quickly moving into the lead and pulling away from the competition. Ken decided to check out the competition, ease the pace a little before hammering out impressive laps that were two seconds faster than anyone else. Needless to say De Dycker took his CRF450R to a dominant win over Desalle and Ramon! Simpson, who posted the third time in qualifying, rode a comfortable race to grab fourth.
With the low sun affecting visbility in the final moto, De Dycker needed some time to get in the groove. Once the former British champion felt comfortable he climbed up from fourth to second and started reeling in leader Desalle. Unfortunately KeenoÃ¢Â€Â™s challenge came to halt when a sudden bump caused a severe back pain. De Dycker couldnÃ¢Â€Â™t stand up any longer and called it a day. SimpsonÃ¢Â€Â™s final moto was similar to his second with the hard-charging Scot unable to find any rhythm or real pace. Thus Simpson had to settle for fourth place while Ramon was handed the overall, because after De Dycker pulled off leader Desalle DNFÃ¢Â€Â™d with a chain problem.
Ken De Dycker: “I am happy with my riding and with the progress we have made with the bike-setup. It was unfortunate that I couldnÃ¢Â€Â™t win the first race as well, but in terms of speed it was certainly a positive weekend. The day ended on a downer with the contraction in my back muscles. Still I think itÃ¢Â€Â™s nothing too serious, so hopefully I can put this behind me after visiting my physiotherapist. We will continue our suspension testing this week in Belgium.”
Shaun Simpson: Ã¢Â€ÂœI felt pretty good this morning, and after a few laps of free practice I felt confident enough to push quite hard when it came to the qualifying session. However any good feeling was soon gone as I was hit hard from behind. After the crash the bike never felt quite right and with no goggles I had no choice, but to pull in. From that point forward I never felt really at home for the rest of the day, and never re-found the speed I had in the morning. ItÃ¢Â€Â™s not been a great day, but I am not too upset and at least no lasting damage has been done. It was good practice, and thatÃ¢Â€Â™s the best way to look at it, as it got rough and nasty out there in places which is the first time I have ridden the bike in these type of conditions. Ã¢Â€Â
Moto 1: 1. ClÃƒÂ©ment Desalle, 2. Ken De Dycker (LS Honda Racing), 3. Tommy Searle, 4. JoÃƒÂ«l Roelants, 5. Arnaud Tonus, 6. Steve Ramon, 7. Matiss Karro, 8. Nicolas Aubin, 9. Loic Larrieu, 10. Jordi Tixier… 27. Shaun Simpson (LS Honda Racing)
Moto 2: 1. Ken De Dycker (LS Honda Racing), 2. ClÃƒÂ©ment Desalle, 3. Steve Ramon, 4. Shaun Simpson (LS Honda Racing), 5. Tommy Searle, 6. Arnaud Tonus, 7. Max Anstie, 8. Nicolas Aubin, 9. Matiss Karro, 10. Julien Bill
Moto 3: 1. Steve Ramon, 2. Tommy Searle, 3. Arnaud Tonus, 4. Shaun Simpson (LS Honda Racing), 5. JoÃƒÂ«l Roelants, 6. Matiss Karro, 7. Julien Bill, 8. Nicolas Aubin, 9. LoÃƒÂ¯c Larrieu, 10. Kevin Fors DNF Ken De Dycker (LS Honda Racing)
Overall MX1: 1. Steve Ramon, 2. ClÃƒÂ©ment Desalle, 3. Ken De Dycker (LS Honda Racing), 4. Shaun Simpson (LS Honda Racing)
NEXT: While De Dycker will enjoy a weekend off Shaun Simpson will start his British Championship campaign next weekend at Little Silver in Exeter, South England.