Red Bull KTM factory rider Shaun Simpson struggled for the third Grand Prix in a row as his body finally succumbed to a mystery condition that has haunted the twenty-two year old for most of the last month. Simpson will return immediately to Belgium for further tests tomorrow in an attempt to discover the cause of the condition that has left him constantly drained and suffering from severe fatigue each time he rides his bike. Despite absolute rest during the week prior to the Swedish GP, the fever like symptons returned as the young Scot faded each time out and was frustrated as he showed great speed throughout the weekend.
"In truth I have probably made things worse by trying to ride whilst feeling like I do, but as a racer you just try to forget about it and all you want to do is to get out on the track and try and do your best. You expect to be tired after forty minutes of hard racing, but at the moment I can last for about fifteen to twenty minutes before I hit the wall. I have never felt like this before, so its difficult to say what is exactly wrong. Hopefully some more in depth blood tests tomorrow will point us in the right direction." Said a dejected Simpson.
The famous Uddevalla circuit with its rocky backdrop was unusually dry and very fast as Saturday's programme got underway. Having not ridden all week Shaun used free practice to feel his way back to speed, knowing that the track would become slower and rougher as the day wore on. Confirming his speed the KTM teamster held fifth spot in pre-qualiying practice with just two minutes to go, and eventually ended the session in a respectable eighth position.
A good start in Saturday afternoon's qualifying race saw Shaun slot into second place, a position he looked very comfortable in until half race distance. However as in recent weeks Simpson was unable to maintain his charge and slowly faded as the race went on, crossing the line in a slightly disappointing sixth spot after such a strong opening five laps. This was the first sign, that the twenty-two year old had a major task on his hands with two forty minute encounters ahead of him on Sunday.
"After Saturday, I knew Sunday was going to be a case of damage limitation, two top seven places was perhaps the best I could hope for, but that could be top ten or top five depending how things worked out. All I knew was to give myself any chance I needed to make two good starts, as it would be tough coming through the pack on a track where there were not so many lines." Explained Shaun.
After a short power nap, Simpson did exactly as he hoped and rounded the first turn of the opening turn with daylight between himself and the rest of the pack. Although his teenage team mate Herlings demoted him to second spot before the end of the first lap Shaun slotted behind him and looked in control on a track that had benefitted from heavy rain during the morning. Six laps in Simpson made his move and hit the front again, a position he held before being forced off the track by Frossard two laps later. Shaun did his best to recover from this racing incident and crossed the line in an energy sapping ninth place.
Totally exhausted, despite having slept for nearly an hour between races, Shaun knew he had little to give for the second moto, and this was clear to see as he quickly dropped from an initial fourth place to eighth after twenty minutes and then down to eleventh as the flag was waved on the final MX2 clash of the day. Simpson's two gutsy performances netted him tenth overall and leave him in sixth spot in the general standings with five GPs remaining.
"I am really frustrated, as after coming back from injury I have just got fully fit and got back up to speed and now this happens. It could not have come at a worse time as the schedule has been non-stop over the last few weeks. Thankfully we have now got three weeks off, so I am hoping we can get to the bottom of what is wrong, so I can be in good shape for Lommel." Shaun ended.