Monday Conversation: Christophe Pourcel

November 13, 2006 1:50pm

Bercy is the most important and most spectacular supercross in France. French riders come here knowing all eyes are on them, and they really hang it out here. Christophe Pourcel had the speed and the least-costly mistakes in three nights of pushing it.
     Pourcel is, of course, attracting a lot of media attention, since he already had the MX2 World Championship this year, and Bercy is a great victory to add to that. With the Bercy pressroom under construction, the press conference was traded for “see ya at the hotel” and we made Christophe’s list of people to stop and talk to. Christophe and his friend Maxime Martin were spotted late at night, wandering the halls, Christophe talking to all the interested reporters and still limping due to his ankle.

Racer X: Christophe, first of all, congratulations on winning the King of Bercy. How does that feel?


Christophe Pourcel: Thanks. This race for me was practice to get ready for racing in the U.S. I didn’t plan to win, but I am very happy.

So is this really the most significant supercross in France, and for you?
Yes, Bercy is the most important race in France for supercross. We have all the public here. All the fans are here supporting the French riders. It is important to be there and to win. It is the biggest supercross race in France, yes.

Some of the American riders, most here for the first time, commented that they felt welcome by the fans too. What is it about the French fans?
The French fans are for everybody. Sure, they prefer the French because they are French, but they like everybody. If the rider is nice and rides well, they support him. It’s no problem. It’s a good atmosphere with the chainsaw [laughs].

What happened in the main event on the first night?
Josh Grant was too fast in the whoops [laughs]! He crashed a lot. He tried too hard.

Was it an easy main event for you when you won the first night?
I don’t remember my main event. Yeah, the race was easy because so many riders crashed. It was just Brayton and me that stayed up.

From the first day in the first practice, everyone seemed to have trouble in the whoops in the beginning. How did you handle that?
The first whoops were small and close together, then they got large. I preferred to not crash. I am not here for that. I preferred to be careful. I had a new bike with a new engine and new suspension. I just tried to get a good setting for the night racing. The first night, they were difficult to do.

What happened to you in the main on the second night? You started with a second-place start behind Grant, and you guys went back and forth a little bit.
Yeah, he crashed and I passed him. He came back.

What about that pass he made in the turn before the finish, where made you stop for a moment?
That was nothing. He just got in front of me. I was a little surprised because I was taking the outside, so you can pass if you are faster. I am not here to get hurt.

On the last night, what happened? Did you hurt your ankle?
I fell at the start and someone hit my ankle. After that I was still excited about the possibility to be King of Bercy. I wanted to win this last main event, so I did my best to make it to the front. I got hurt in the middle of the main event and I was fifth already, and I just needed to maintain that position.

So you needed fifth and you knew?
No, I didn’t really want to know which place I would need to finish to be King of Bercy.

Okay, if we can check on some things that were making the Internet, like what about this thing with you beating the other guys when you visited the Kawasaki test track in California?
I just got that question in the last interview, with Matt.

Oh, great, the guy writing for the Racer X magazine story [Matt Allard].
You know, on the internet you can read a lot of rumors, and sometimes they are bad. I was on the same laps times with Ryan Villopoto. You can see a lot on the internet, but everything on the internet was not true. I was about the same lap times.

You know the next important question with this plan for you to ride the first three West Region Amp’d Mobile Supercross races and then go back to get ready for the GPs: what if you’re winning?
I will see after it happens. My goal is just to ride the first three and find good settings for 2008 with Pro Circuit. If I can win, I win, but that is not my goal. I am not going there to get hurt or be crazy.

Did any of the American riders do better than you expected?
No. Well, before, I saw Jason Lawrence in practice at Competitive Edge and he was not very fast. But yesterday, he finished third and was good in the whoops. He will be a good rider for next year I think.

So do you have some plans to celebrate winning King of Bercy? Go out and buy a car or something?
No. Even if I was not King of Bercy I would buy my car [laughs].

Even though people are going to compare you to the other great French riders—and JMB comes up—you want to stay away from that, I hear.
Hey, everyone asks this question. Okay, sure, I would like have a career like his with all the championships. But Christophe is not Jean-Michel. I haven’t even since videos, and even though he is a famous French rider, I haven’t seen it. So I wasn’t able to see and think, I want to ride like that. It’s not like that.

Are there any riders you did see that influenced your riding?
Not especially.

You seem to ride aggressive and on the edge and you’re still very good at not crashing. How you do maintain a speed when you’re pushing it?
For example, for this race, I was at like 90 percent. I would prefer it to have good control and ride the track better.