On the eve of what’s bound to be a wild season-opening weekend in Belfast’s SSE Arena, the 2023 Arenacross Tour heads straight to Aberdeen in Scotland where the brand-new 15,000-seat P&J Live will host rounds three and four of the championship over the weekend of the 28th and 29th of January.
Aberdeen is Scotland’s third largest city and is famous for many things, it’s known throughout the world as the Granite City because so many of the local buildings are built out of the locally-quarried stone blocks, it’s also home to Scotland’s oldest bridge, a massive amount of whiskey distilleries and many of the world’s finest golf courses. And did you also know that Aberdeen is also considered to be the luckiest place in the UK to buy a lottery ticket with over 40 millionaires coming from the area? Perhaps you should make a purchase while you’re in the area for the Arenacross.
One man who’ll be desperate for a little of that luck to come his way will be the one rider that’s carrying the hopes of a whole nation on his shoulders as the only Scot in the Arenacross Pro class line-up – Gabriel KTM’s Shaun Simpson.
The 34-year-old from Fife has had a stunning career in the sport, winning world championship races around the globe as well as several national titles (and not just in the UK). However, throughout it all, he’s rarely had the opportunity to race in events as prestigious as Arenacross on home soil in Scotland – a handful of times at best – and so this will be a great opportunity both for him and his many followers.
“In my whole career there have been very few opportunities to race in Scotland at events of this level,” confirms Shaun. “So, racing in Aberdeen will be really cool. Aberdeen is only an hour and a bit up the road for me and is where a few of my personal sponsors and some family friends are from. I think there will be a great atmosphere.”
Of course, Simpson is signed up for more than just his local round and will be one of 24 professional British riders looking to win this year’s championship – the first to be recognised by the ACU as an official British Championship.
“It’s really cool that the ACU has seen how important Arenacross is to the sport and given it recognition as an official British Championship. The series promoter has gone all out to attract the top British riders and there’s good prize money at each round. Having two rounds in Aberdeen is a bonus and I definitely didn’t want to pass that opportunity up so I committed to the whole championship.”
Although Simpson is a three-time British champion and winner of four Grands Prix in the premier MXGP class, he has limited indoor experience and other than a few one-off indoor appearances where he’s acquitted himself well has to go back a few years since he raced a full indoor championship but nevertheless is excited to get going.
“To be honest I am really looking forward to it,” he admits. “It’s not something I’ve done for a wee while, but it is something I have done in the past. Okay, it’s only been one-off events here and there and I’ve not done a full indoor series since I was on a 125cc two-stroke in the early noughties, but it will be a great experience to give it a go, see how it is and relive my youth a little bit.”
A believer of the five Ps strategy – Plan, Ploy, Pattern, Position and Perspective or Preparation Prevents P*ss Poor Performance if you prefer – Shaun already has his game plan figured out. “The formula for success is to stay safe in practice and set a good time, get a good gate pick for the heats, get a good start in them and stay out of trouble and then do the same again in the Main Event.”
It sounds easy when you put it like that, but Shaun is fully aware of just how intense the competition will be once the gate drops. “I know it will be tight and that any one of five or six guys will have a shot of winning on any individual night which will keep it interesting for the riders and very exciting for the fans.”
Does Simpson put himself on that list of potential winners? He sure does… “I’d definitely like to think that I could win at least one or two races and if not then I’d like to be on the podiums at the very least,” he admits. “If I can do that and stay consistent, then I think taking the title is very possible.”
Frequently Asked Questions
- How can I buy a VIP View Bar Upgrade?
You can purchase a VIP View Bar Upgrade to selected events here. It includes early access, fast-track entry, complimentary drink on arrival and access to the View Bar before, during and post-show.
- How can I purchase tickets for a concert at P&J Live?
P&J Live do not sell tickets directly.
- How do I register for access to venue presale?
For certain events, venue presale tickets might be on offer. This means you'll be access tickets before they go on general sale.
To gain access to our exclusive venue presale, sign up to our newsletterhere and we will send you an email with the presale link for tickets go on general sale!
- How can I book a table at 195 Bar & Grill?
Our 195 Bar & Grill offers a unique dining experience before selected shows at P&J Live. You can check availability and book a table here.
- Will I be able to purchase food at P&J Live?
There is a wide range of food and beverage options available to purchase for concerts and events, including catering outlets offering a variety of hot food options.
Please note - it is against venue policy to allow patrons to bring in their own food and drink to the venue. At P&J live it is our aim to be completely cashless, all of our bars, kiosks and restaurants accept card payments, this is more efficient, safe and ensures a speedy transaction. There are therefore no cash machines on the TECA site.
- Is there parking available at P&J Live?
Yes, there is parking available on-site at P&J Live.
There are various ways to pay for your parking at P&J Live
On site payment machines: We accept both cash and card payments on site, pay on exit is required by entering your vehicle registration at any one of our machines located in the car parks. Please note payment machines only take coins and not notes.
APCOA Connect App: Up to 24 hour after you have left the venue, you can pay for your parking on the APCOA Connect App. Once you have downloaded the app, use location code 6680 for the Sub-T Car Park (underground) and location code 2356 for the Surface Car Park.
You can also pay for parking via the APCOA website here, click which car park you parked in and then you will be able to pay for parking.
- Can I pay by cash within P&J Live?
At P&J Live it is our aim to be completely cashless, all of our bars, kiosks and restaurants accept card and contactless payments. This is more efficient, safe and ensures a speedy transaction.
There are no cash machines on the TECA sites.
- What bus can take me to P&J Live?
Regular buses will be coming in and out of the complex daily for public use. Details on bus routes and operators are still in discussion and any updates will be posted on the getting here page of the website.
Currently, the Stagecoach Bluebird Jet Service 727 runs regularly from Aberdeen City Centre to Aberdeen Airport, stopping in the TECA site.