SAINT JEAN D’ANGELY, 10 June 2007 - On this seventh Sunday of FIM World Motocross racing the heat increased, making the circuit Du Puy de Poursay a sweltering one.
It was a tough day for the World Championship riders and for the 28000 spectators, who forgot about the burning sun by watching four extremely battled moto’s.
Joshua Coppins came back to victory in the MX1 class, but he was beaten by an impressive Steve Ramon in the final moto, with the Belgian clinching his second MX1 moto victory of the career.
In the MX2 class, another Yamaha rider dominated both races. Tony Cairoli made up for an unexpected second place in Japan, and came back to victory on rival Christophe Pourcel’s ground.
The MX1 class took no prisoners today, and only the ones who did no mistakes made it to the victory. Both Yamaha Motocross’ Josh Coppins and Suzuki’s Steve Ramon won a moto, but the overall was topped by Coppins, who came back to victory after two consecutive stops.
Ramon finished second, as the podium was completed by KTM Red Bull’s David Philippaerts, who is currently the only debutant having been on the podium more than once –three times in total.
Kawasaki Racing’s boys Billy Mackenzie and Tanel Leok rounded off the top five, making this round a nice goodbye to their team manager Jan de Groot –one minute of silence in Jan’s memory preceded the start of the MX2 first moto.
With a perfect start, Josh Coppins jumped from seventh on the gate to the lead of the pack, followed by Mike Brown and Billy Mackenzie.
Coppins pulled away with the lead and by the time David Philippaerts secured the second place, the Kiwi already had the victory under his belt. The Italian had a decent start, and by the end of lap one he was sixth. He moved up in the standings with consistency, to finally challenge and pass Mac.
The Scott dropped down to a final fifth place, after he was passed also by Steve Ramon and Sebastien Pourcel.
Ramon kept the crowd focussed on a dogfight for fourth between him and Brown, but he did not make to arrive on Philippaerts’ back wheel, settling down for third.
Pourcel rounded off the top ten at the end of the opening lap, but rode a solid moto to finish fourth.
Tanel Leok did not exploit his pole, and ended with an eighth place because of a bad start.
An injured Kevin Strijbos decided to race the opening moto, finishing twenty-first, but he did not take part in the final moto because of too much pain. He is currently doubtful for Bulgaria next week.
Billy Mac and Josh Coppins fought for the lead at the first turn, with Mac overtaking the Kiwi. Coppins was passed by Pourcel too, and settled in third place for the first three laps.
Ramon had a decent start, and cruised in fourth until he felt ready to attack the top three. Sebastien Pourcel was his first victim, but the Frenchman had been already passed by Coppins, who increased his pace to snatch the lead from Mackenzie.
Ramon followed the Kiwi, working his way up to second, and then battling tooth and nail with Coppins. The two came very close in several occasions, but Steve Ramon’s trajectories were more successful than Coppins’ ones, and the Belgian could overtake Coppins at lap 15.
Once Steve started to pull away with the lead, Coppins tried to follow but finally settled for second place, achieving another Grand Prix victory.
Tanel Leok was third, making up for another poor start. He and Mackenzie kept David Philippaerts in a Kawasaki sandwich for three laps, then Leok moved past both the Italian and his team mate, making it to third.
Mackenzie was safe from Philippaerts, and grasped a fourth place ahead of the rival.
Sebastien Pourcel finished ninth, after he tangled up with Ramon and crashed, while fighting for sixth place.
Yamaha de Carli’s Antonio Cairoli finished first on the podium thanks to two back to back heat victories, and dominated a French Grand Prix for the second consecutive year. Home rider Christophe Pourcel of GPKR was happy with second, defending his runner up spot in the Championship, and KTM Red Bull’s Tyla Rattray completed the podium at the end of a consistent week end.
Honda Martin’s Pascal Leuret was consistent too but finished fourth, ahead of countryman Nicolas Aubin.
Tony Cairoli took no prisoners, and skipped through the rivals to guide them into the first corner. The Sicilian showed an amazing pace, putting together a 20 second advantage over runner up Christophe Pourcel.
The Frenchman got blocked after the start, ending the opening lap outside of the top five. While Cairoli was pulling away with the lead, Pourcel had a hard time making up ground. He moved up to second by half race distance, then he cruised behind a distant Cairoli.
Pascal Leuret had a good beginning of the moto, arriving until the runner up spot, but he dropped down to an eventual fourth.
Tommy Searle made to enter the top five after a difficult start; he worked his way up from eleventh to fifth.
MX2 GRAND PRIX RACE 2
Once again a flamboyant Cairoli took the holeshot and lead until the chequered flag, but this time he felt much more pressure from rival Christophe Pourcel, who tried his best to win a French GP for the first time in his career.
He had to surrender to Cairoli, finishing second ahead of Tyla Rattray. Once again the South African had a solid moto, but struggled to find his rhythm in the opening laps.
Tyla defended his third place from a very motivated Pascal Leuret, who ended fourth. Frenchmen were fast on their home track, as also Nicolas Aubin –fifth- showed by keeping a strong Tommy Searle behind in sixth.
Josh Coppins heads out of France with a MX1 red plate in his luggage; he actually never lost it since the opening Grand Prix, but he faces a new runner up now, Steve Ramon, who passed team mate Strijbos in the points standings. There are 90 points between the two. David Philippaerts moved up to fourth, thanks to another podium result, as Seb Pourcel dropped down to fifth. Ken de Dycker is currently tenth, because he rode injured today in France.
In the MX2 class, Antonio Cairoli is still on top of the standings. Christophe Pourcel made up no points on the Italian, and is now 70 points behind. Tyla Rattray consolidated his third place, as Pascal Leuret moved back up to fourth, ahead of Tommy Searle. Home rider Nicolas Aubin moved up to seventh.
The season continues with round eight to be held next weekend at Sevlievo, Bulgaria, which was the track winner of the Best Organizer Award last year.
The TV schedule of the FIM Motocross Grand Prix of France is the following.
EUROSPORT 2: Sunday June 10, MX1 Race 1 at 14:30 CET
SPORT ITALIA: Sunday June 10, MX1 Race 1 at 17:00 and Race 2 at 18:00 CET
EUROSPORT WORLD: Monday June 11, MX2 class N/A (check http://www.eurosport.com)
AMERICA ONE: second Tuesday after the GP, MX2 Race 2 and MX1 Race 2, N/A (check http://www.americaone.com)
GAORA: MX2 Race 1 and Race 2, MX1 Race 1 and Race 2, N/A (check http://www.gaora.co.jp)
Information and results on www.motocrossMX1.com, the official website of the FIM Motocross World Championships.