The MX1 race was for sure the best of the season, as the fans had to wait the last lap of the second race to know the name of the winner! This GP was a Honda riders affair, as Mickael Pichon and Joshua Coppins were on another planet this week-end. After he grabbed his fifth pole position of the season earlier, Pichon had a great start in the opening moto and passed promptly leader Cedric Melotte to get his second heat win of the season, less than one month after his heavy crash in Germany. Coming back to second but unable to threaten Pichon, Coppins had the support of the crowd on his British based Honda and was back on the podium after some disappointing results in the last rounds.
Third in this moto Steve Ramon got the holeshot in the following race, but Pichon passed him in the second lap. Pichon was leading the race while Coppins was pushing hard to recover after a bad start; only fifth at the end of the first lap, Josh passed Smets and Strijbos in the opening stages. Ramon offered him the second spot when he crashed in the whoops section, and this time Coppins was able to challenge his former team-mate. Josh made a strong move at half race, but Pichon never gave up despite his shoulder injury. The fans were cheering the duo, Pichon charged twice to take back the lead but finally made a mistake in the last lap so the Kiwi won his first ever Grand Prix. It was a great day for Josh, who had a couple of second positions but never won a Grand Prix since his arrival on the GP’s in 1995; he is the fourth New-Zealander to win a GP, after Darryl King, Shayne King and Ben Townley. Consistent Everts was next to Coppins and Pichon on the podium, followed by surprising Tanel Leok fourth on his 250 Suzuki; the Estonian kid got the best result of the season on a two-stroke and is now eight in the standings, not so far from factory riders Smets and Strijbos who had another disappointing week-end with a couple of crashes. Runner-up Cedric Melotte took a strong sixth position in the first race despite his back injury, but a crash in the second race forced him to retire. The MX2 Grand Prix was this time less exciting than the MX1, as Ben Townley was once more too fast for his rivals and seems now to be “the boss” of the class. With two good starts the KTM rider was only challenged in the opening laps by his main rival Stephen Sword, who took both holeshot. But Sword had a small crash in the first race, and was probably too stressed with all this fans cheering him.
He finished both races in third behind Townley and Tyla Rattray; the South African kid produced two impressive rides on his two stroke KTM and put in both races some pressure on his team-mate. With some strongest starts, Rattray could probably challenged his old-time friend… Mickael Maschio finished in fourth, but the most impressive performance of the week-end came from Japanese Akira Narita fifth of the Grand Prix. Wild card, Narita was during the entire event in front of the action; second in his qualifying race on saturday, he started both races in the top three and challenged Townley for the lead in the first part of each motos. Finally ninth in the first race, he got a strong fourth position in the next one and confirmed the Japanese interest for the World Championship. Among the regular GP contenders Antonio Carioly was the most unlucky, as the Italian kid missed the qualification for this spectacular event when his rear wheel got blocked by a plastic fence! Next week the FIM MX World Championship will be back for the French Grand Prix on the famous track of Saint Jean d’Angely, home of the 2000 Motocross des Nations.
For more info and results check the official web site of the FIM Motocross World Championships: www.motocrossMX1.com