was back in 1998 that Stefan Everts was last beaten in a world
championship (he was injured in preseason races 1999 and 2000 and
missed those titles). It was a time when a young charger by the name of
Sebastien Tortelli arrived on the 250cc scene and produced his own
magical season, beating Everts for the championship in the final race
of the final round of the series. The Grand Prix of Greece will go down
in history as one of the most exciting races in the long history of the
sport, a race where Tortelli stopped the three-year winning streak by
Everts (who had won the World 250cc championship in 1995, 1996, and
1997). Tortelli would move to America and race the AMA Supercross and
Motocross series, and while he was gone, Everts would add titles in
2001, '02, '03, '04, and '05, making him the most successful rider in
the history of the sport.
Last weekend, though, Everts got his own back a little on the flying
Frenchman, as he scored the overall victory at the Grand Prix of
Flanders. Everts and Tortelli swapped moto wins, both going 1-2,
although the fact Everts won the second moto gave him victory. Stefan
was not surprised by Tortelli's speed in the opening moto of the
opening round of the MX1 series, held in Zolder, Belgium, last weekend.
Third place went to Jan de Groot Kawasaki rider Tanel Leok.
be honest, I was not surprised by his speed,” Everts said. “I was not
riding well, making a lot of mistakes. He was fast, but he was not
riding that well. I still had the feeling that I could beat him, and I
was just riding really bad. I was not really worried. Many people talk
[that Tortelli can beat him again]. I know what the truth is, and the
rest is flying around, we wait and see what the truth is. For sure, I
don't want another season like 1998 where it was just me and Tortelli.
I think for the championship, it's not good. Last year we had good
races, me or [Mickael] Pichon or Ben [Townley], or [Josh] Coppins were
winning. This year, if it stays like this, where Tortelli and I lapped
many of the field, it will be a pity. I don't think it will stay the
same. I think those other guys are not so fit and Zolder was really a
tough circuit. You really had to work hard on the weekend and the
younger guys need to be fitter, but on easier circuits, they will be
For Everts, the emotion of his last season on the road (Everts will
retire at the end of the season) does not make him lose concentration
on the job at hand, and he also knows that many people are supporting
him and watching his every move.
"No emotions from me yet,” he says. “I think I will have moments
throughout the season. You can't tell yourself to stop with emotions -
it will come or it will not come. I know I am just keeping the same
attitude I always have and concentrating on my racing."
MX2-class action from Zolder
Everts, a new personal sponsor, Intur Sports, is also something to be
excited about. Having the L&M tobacco company for so many years as
his personal sponsor was good for Everts and the sport of motocross,
but his new sponsor is also getting involved and might just hang around
once Everts is gone.
"It's a personal sponsor and a team sponsor,” he explains. “It is not
as big as L&M, but it is still a nice sponsor to have. It's good to
have as a team sponsor, and they are talking about sponsoring the team
in the future, after I stop. I am pretty excited about how it all
looks. Also, the new sponsor logo is exciting and it looks clean. I
picked up a Belgian newspaper today and saw the pictures and was really
happy with how it all looked."
Tyla Rattray would win the MX2 class after picking up a minor injury in
his Saturday qualification race. The Champ KTM rider also rode with a
broken front brake in his opening moto but still managed to salvage the
victory with 3-1 results. Second in the MX2 was Dutchman Marc de Reuver
(also of the Champ KTM team) and third place went to Kenneth Gundersen
on a Yamaha.
Results: Zolder, Belgium