Sun, big attendance, good organisation and nice racing for the second week-end in a row – after a brilliant British event – gives some good feeling to the FIM Motocross World Championship contenders and supporters who attend the French GP in Saint Jean d’Angely.
Two men dominated the MX1 Grand Prix: Stefan Everts and Mickael Pichon. Joshua Coppins got the holeshot in the first race and led it during six laps, before being passed by Everts in a fast downhill. Pichon was following the world champ’s assault, and came second but couldn’t challenge him for the heat win. In the second race Everts got the holeshot but Pichon was right behind him, and the race promised to be exciting. But unluckily Pichon got a stone in his front brake and was forced to retire in the second lap. “It’s really frustrating for me, as I had the right speed this time. On this fast track with many downhill it’s impossible to race without a front brake, and I’m so disappointed” said the French hero. Nobody was able to follow Evert’s rhythm, and with another double win Stefan increased his leadership. Winner of the previous event Coppins was again a strong contender with a third and a second position, while Ramon took the last place on the podium with a fifth and a fourth place. Melotte would have been on the podium if a stone didn’t damaged his rear brake pedal and forced him to retire in the second heat, and without an early crash in the first race Demaria who finished third in the other one could have reach this podium for his unique MX1 appearance of the season. Single factory Suzuki rider, Kevin Strijbos was unlucky with a DNF in the first race (crash at the start) and a poor start in the second one.
The MX2 races were once more intense, especially the first one with a nice battle between Ben Townley and Antonio Cairoli. The young Italian talent got the holeshot and led half of he race, before Townley passed him. But Cairoli never gave up and surprised Townley, who couldn’t relax before the finish line. Sword finished third, followed by Italian’s Federici and Chiodi and French’s Pourcel, Maschio and Boissière. Chiodi, another Italian on a 250 four stroke Yamaha got the second holeshot and led three laps, but Maschio passed him in the fourth lap. Coming back from fifteen to ninth in the opening race, Tyla Rattray was the strongest rider in this heat and took the lead at mid race. It was sufficient to win the event as Townley and Sword retired after a crash; Maschio, Chiodi and Federici finished the Grand Prix with the same number of points and were settled by their result in the second race.
Stefan Everts. “I always had a good feeling with the French Grand Prix, and especially here in St Jean. Yesterday I was feeling really relax and was happy with the bike, today was good also. In the first race Josh was pushing really hard but I could stay with him and on some places I was quicker. When I took the lead I pushed during a couple of laps and that was enough to secure the win. I got the holeshot in the second race, I made some mistakes but unfortunately for him Mickael retired with a technical problem. It seems that many riders were not so lucky this year, I think I’m the only one who had no problems yet”.
Joshua Coppins. “I’m satisfied with my podium, especially as this week-end I couldn’t ride so good and keep the same rhythm as Stefan and Mickael. I made a couple of mistakes and took a stone in my face during the races, so second was the best possible result today. In the first race I got the holeshot and pushed really hard in the first five laps, but then had some problems to breathe normally. I lost my rhythm when Stefan passed me, and when I found it again later he was gone”.
Steve Ramon. “Yesterday the track was really dry and I could put some fast laps, but today it was changed due to the watering. I was not satisfied with my ride but fortunately I took many points in each race and that’s good for me as I finished only one moto in the previous two races”.
Tyla Rattray. “ In the first race I had a poor start and was may be only fifteen in the first corner. They put a lot of water on the track and it was difficult to pass, the track was slippery. I had a better start in the second race, and manage to pass all my rivals in the sandy part of the track. In the last five minutes I was pretty tired, but I wanted to win and stay focused on my lines”.
Mickael Maschio. “I’m of course really happy to be on the podium in front of my fans, friends and sponsors. The team and the mechanic’s are working really hard to develop the bike, but unfortunately we have some problems with the engine. I had troubles in the first race and we change both the fork and the engine before the second race; it was a kind of bet, and luckily it was the good decision. I’m a little bit disappointed anyway, as I could have won the GP without this problems”.
Alessio Chiodi. “I’m really happy as I was really closed to the GP victory, and that’s my first podium since Valkenswaard. The bike worked really good at both start, I’ve a good feeling with it since last year. I hope to repeat this performance next week at home”.