HM Plant KTM UK are delighted to announce that Shaun Simpson and Mel Pocock have inked contracts this week to spearhead the comprehensive British team in their 2014 campaign that will consist of a renewed assault on the MXGP and MX2 classes of the FIM Motocross World Championship and the MX1/MX2 divisions of the Maxxis British Championship.
Simpson (25 years old from Fife) and Pocock (21, from Eastbourne) bring national and European championship pedigree to the squad and are both part of the small elite group of British riders within Grand Prix racing at the highest level. Pocock was crowned 2012 European number one and was a constant menace in the top ten of the MX2 category this past summer. Simpson has British and Belgium titles to his name and in September became only the second rider from the UK to win a premier class Grand Prix; the last ever round of the MX1 series before it converts to ‘MXGP’ in 2014.
For Simpson in particular his reunion with Team Principal Roger Magee will mean a return to the combo that helped the popular Scot learn his trade at Grand Prix from 2005 to 2008. That last term was a breakthrough for both the rider and the team as first FIM World Championship podium trophies arrived and the MX2 British Championship was secured at the final meeting at Hawkstone Park.
Pocock will face his first season with the KTM 250SX-F but has over two years of Grand Prix experience and of course that emphatic 2012 European campaign where he won six from seven rounds. Pocock pushed outgoing HM Plant KTM UK racer Elliot Banks Browne down to the last moto of the 2012 British Championship and has been given the all-clear by medical experts after a knee injury towards the end of 2013 was initially feared to require surgery.
The team is further bolstered with representation in the same EMX2 European Championship – the last ultra competitive step to Grand Prix – by Ben Watson, James Cottrell and James Dunn, steering 250SX-F motorcycles as they continue their career development and the team maintain their position as a leading filter of British motocross talent. The trio will also chase Pocock on the national MX2 stage. At a junior level Magee’s outfit will assist Curtis Trimble with 85SX technology and – last but not least – the continuing support to Natalia Kane in her quest for the FIM Women’s World Championship will once more be in place with the Irishwoman celebrating her first Grand Prix victory this year and set to be a forceful contender in 2014.
“I guess you could say that this is a return ‘home’,” said Simpson. “Roger and I have been speaking over the last few years and have always kept in close contact. He was one of the first to come and congratulate me in Lierop. The circumstances to become part of HM Plant KTM UK again came together in a decent way for 2014 and I’m excited to be back. It will be interesting to ride the KTM again and with some elements under our control, such as the suspension set-up and tuning, I know we can make a competitive package. The premier class has been a bit of an adventure for me so far but I showed at the end of last season that some confidence and a refined set-up are all the tools you need and I reckon we’ll have that sorted together with Roger and everyone else in the team. I’ll also be back in the British Championship and that will be a challenge. I’ve already won the MX2 title so now I have another firm goal for next year by looking towards MX1. Roll on 2014.”
“This is a new adventure in my career, ” offered Pocock moments after signing the agreement that will bring him into ‘orange’. “I looking forward to that family environment that I believe I’ll find with this team, and will have that sensation of being ‘looked after’ when it comes to setting up the bike and being able to focus on getting the best results that I can. I’m just keen to get started now.”
“After winning both British Championships and taking our first MX1 GP podiums in 2012, last season was a bit of a let-down, at least in Grands Prix, and it was hard to put a finger on why,” reflected Magee. “I think with Shaun and Mel onboard for 2014 we have two proven athletes at the top level and I believe we will be equipped for a very decent season. A return to what we enjoyed in 2012. It means we will again be in contention for the MX1 and MX2 titles in the UK and with a real chance of creating some more surprises in the FIM Motocross World Championship. To be able to attract two racers of this calibre – as well as Ben and both James’ – to the squad is thanks to the continued support of our sponsors and partners. I was also like to thank Elliott for the last two seasons; those British Championships on the 250SX-F will not be quickly forgotten by us or KTM.”
Title sponsors HM Plant will once more place their distinctive logos on the main plastics of the 450and 250SX-F machines that will see action through a broad spread of weekends starting in February and running until October of 2014. The South Tyneside company have been part of the KTM UK operation since 2010.
“We are very pleased that Shaun Simpson is returning to ride for the team in MX1, having previously won the MX2 British Championship with Roger and now also is a GP winner,” commented Andy Baker from HM Plant. “Combined with Mel Pocock for MX2 who will be new to the team but has been a worthy adversary in previous MX2 Championship campaigns and a European Champion in 2012, 2014 should be another good year for HM Plant KTM UK.”
For 2014 extra backing will be provided by performance enhancing software and hardware products company Revo. “We are delighted to have signed a deal with Roger Magee and the HM Plant KTM UK team supporting their MX2 program from our new facility,” said Mark Yates, CTO. “We hope this will be the start of a long and fruitful relationship and are very much looking forward to assisting in the development of their 2014 World and British assault both technically and logistically. Revo (SRG Group) are a global company in the automotive aftermarket with a dealer network through more than 34 countries. Our COO James Leng believes this to be an excellent marketing opportunity producing brand awareness through a more varied audience via the FIM World Championship, whilst also allowing our distributors in those countries, the chance to experience such an addictive sport!”