Ben Townley got in France his third GP success of the season, and won both heats for the second time in a row after Italy. Starting the first race in the top ten the New Zealander came second behind Stefan Everts in the fourteenth circulation, and then close the gap on the World Championship leader. Suffering from the heat Everts was unable to resist when Townley pushed and did an attempt in the nineteenth lap, and the Kiwi got 25 points followed by Everts, Joshua Coppins and Mickael Pichon. The second race was easier for Townley who grabbed the holeshot and led the entire moto. Second at the beginning of the race Everts crashed pretty hard and had to stop to the pits with a damaged fork and handle bar; coming back twenty eighth in the race he will finish seventh after a strong and regular race. With a third and a second position Joshua Coppins got the second place overall, and stands up alongside Townley and Pichon on the podium. For his last race before his knee operation Pichon did two strong races, but without any training in the last two weeks he suffered more than his rivals on this demanding track. Steve Ramon and Joel Smets collided in the second heat and lost many points; after of the race Joel Smets got a penalty of one minute as he ended the heat with a damaged and noisy exhaust pipe.
David Philippaerts won in France his first heat and his first Grand Prix, only one month after his first appearance on the 250 four stroke KTM! With a good start in the opening race the Italian rider was able to lead the race in the fourth circulation and then went to an easy win. Twisting his knee during the qualifications Alessio Chiodi finished second but couldn’t battle with his countryman, while Andrew McFarlane crashed twice and injured his right arm. Fourth in this race and coming back to the GP’s after a shoulder injury, Frenchman Anthony Boissière won the second race and got his first GP podium. He passed early leader Carl Nunn in the third lap and then pushed hard to win the moto, supported by the French crowd. He was virtual GP winner until the nineteenth lap, but a crash of Mackenzie offered the third place and the overall win to Philippaerts who had a bad start and came back from twenty to third behind Boissière and Nunn. Stephen Sword injured his hand on Saturday and retired early in the first race, while Cedric Melotte retired also after a crash in the opening heat. McFarlane and Chiodi both injured this weekend are now leading the series, followed by Cairoli who will be back next week in Sweden.
Ben Townley: “This has been a great weekend for KTM as they also won in the road racing and we won both the MX1 and MX2 classes here in St Jean. I’m happy at the moment that my level has improved enough to win. I now need to fight to try and get second off of Josh in the championship. At the moment I’m taking it race by race and it’s going really well at the mment. In the last few weeks we have made a lot of improvement on the bike after Japan. If we can keep going like this there is no reason why I can’t fight for second in the championship and even Stefan might make some mistakes. I want to thank team who has been working so hard week in and week out and when we have a result like this it makes it even better to work harder for the coming weeks and keep up the results. The track lay out of was great and the changes that they made were also really good. Even though we had some rain the track guys did a sufficient amount of work to make sure there were some passing lines – I think they did a great job.”
David Philippaerts: “I cannot believe this. The first heat was very good but in the second race I started badly and was hit by a few riders. I pushed hard to make up the positions but it was very difficult and at the end I almost collapsed because yesterday I was suffering with the flu. It has been a great Grand Prix considering that I was sick. I am finding my speed now with the 250 and everything is coming together.”
Next event: Grand Prix of Sweden (Uddevalla) on July 3rd-4th
Information and results on www.motocrossmx1.com, the official website of the Motocross World Championships
Info Mediapress, photo copyright Ray Archer