Motocross

The champ!

The champ!

BRITAIN HAS a new world trials champion or, to be more accurate, another world trials champion. BRITAIN HAS a new world trials champion or, to be more accurate, another world trials champion. Shaun Morris, one of the sport’s fastest-rising stars, joined Dougie Lampkin as one of the kings of the feet-up game when he lifted the World Junior Cup after a sensational season that saw him win eight out of 16 rounds and never finish off the podium.
Born in Preston, Lancashire, on August 1 1983, Shaun started his career on a Yamaha TY80 in local trials and went on to score a full house of D, C, B and A Class schoolboy titles. Then, keen for a bit more punishment, he jumped directly into the British championship series shortly before his 17th birthday.
Last season this baptism of fire began to pay off and he took fifth in the British championship – and he’s looking good to go one better this year.
In ’03 he’s been battling to try and beat Sam Connor which is one of his goals for this season. "You have to set yourself targets, people that you would realistically like to beat. With Sam being the one in front of me in the British championship that’s where my sights are set. It’s something for me to aim for and something to try and achieve.
"And I’ll be competing in the last round of the world championship in the adult section. I desperately want to score some points there but I know mainly it will be a massive experience and a new challenge for me."
Shaun’s been super-consistent in the junior cup – a championship designed to ease under 21-year-olds into trials at the highest level – taking double wins in Luxembourg, Japan and Spain as well as single day wins in Italy and France. He’s been pushed hard all year by Polish rider Tadeusz Blazusiak and Frenchman Jerome Bethune but Shaun’s shown he’s got that all-important ability to soak up pressure. And all three are Gas Gas-mounted so the results are purely down to rider ability.
"It’s been a great year for me. My main aim was to win the junior cup and I was confident that if I remained consistent and stayed on the podium it could be done. It’s been a tough year and although I won it fairly easily it’s been a hard feat to achieve – now I have to keep pushing myself forward. I’ve had many good moments this year, the best had to be taking the title. It’s a great feeling and I hope in future there’ll be more to add to it.
"My favourite trial had to be Japan, it was really hard and it rained heavily all weekend but I managed to win on both days. The sections were extremely technical and very wet and slippery but fantastically constructed. The scores for all of us were pretty high but that’s the way it should be.
"A win shouldn’t have to be decided on time or the amount of cleans, the harder the trial the better it is as it gives you a chance to make slight mistakes and still be able to rectify them. I’d say Dougie Lampkin has been unlucky this year with what’s happened – there have been a few occasions where he has lost out on the win due to a time difference after equalling Fuji on fives and threes etc. It’s unfair to decide on time as it could’ve been that he was held up while queuing for a section which is the case at most world rounds."
Shaun will be competing at every world round in ’04 and, in keeping with his down-to-earth nature, has set himself realistic targets. "I’m aiming for a top-15 finish in as many rounds as possible next year. If I can be near in each round then I’ll be happy. It would be awesome if I was picked for the TDN in 2004 – it wasn’t even something I thought about at the beginning of this season.
"I still have a lot to learn and hopefully I’ll be riding for someone who’ll thoroughly back me in my world championship campaign. Again, it’s another big step up for me from riding in the junior class but I know in time I’ll pick up the necessary skills to compete at a higher level."
It’s at this higher level that Shaun will go head-to-head with riders like current world champ Dougie Lampkin. "What he’s achieved is unbelievable, to ride the way he has for the last seven years is a true credit to him. He’s worked hard to get where he has and although it’s been tougher for him this year it looks like he’ll scoop another title to add to his collection.
"Fujinami has certainly pushed him harder than ever this year yet has still not managed to get the better of him in the overall championship standings. I think this year has been Doug’s hardest and if the Spanish hadn’t been banned from certain rounds I believe it would’ve been even tougher for him.
"But Doug works so well under pressure that you can never rule him out. He’s been at the top of his game now for so long and I know he won’t let that slip very easily. His will to win is greater than anyone else’s and I believe this is what motivates him so much."
But before he gets his ’04 campaign up and running, Shaun’s got a busy few months ahead of him. "I’m looking forward to riding at the last world round in Madrid and I also have a British round in Ireland to compete in before that. The club there always put on a good show and a very tough trial – hopefully I’ll be able to pull a good result out of the bag.
"Once that’s all finished I’ll start training for the Scott Trial in October, I think it’s a trial that every rider looks forward to as anything can happen there. It’s a test of ability – both mentally and physically – and it really does take it all out of you. After that I’ll be riding in the arena displays at the NEC and the Expo shows. I’ve done a few arena demos before but nothing like this so it should be interesting to see how I get on.
"All-in-all it’s been a very good year and I hope things will improve and get better in 2004. I’m looking forward to the new challenges and hope I can further myself and achieve my goals."
By Carly Rathmell