As you probably heard by now, 15-time AMA MX/SX Champion Ricky Carmichael has tapped the Paris-Bercy Supercross in November as his last motorcycle race of 2007--and possibly forever. Bercy has long been considered Europe's premier supercross race, yet Carmichael only raced in one time, very early in his professional career. So how did the organizers get the GOAT to change his mind after all of these years and come back to the race? Xavier Auduoard, one of the event's founders, explains here:
This will be Bercy's 25th anniversary and it means a lot to us. This event is the oldest, most important SX outside of America. It has its own legacy.
All the great have won here, from the inaugural duo of O'Mara and Bailey to RJ, Wardy, JMB, MC, DV, etc. Two formidable racers are missing on the list though: Ricky Carmichael and James Stewart. Obviously, this was the last time we had a chance to get Ricky and we are very, very happy that it will indeed happen! Ricky has been coming as a teenager to Bercy a couple of times and raced once in the 250 class on a KX (a mechanical-induced crash left him with a broken collarbone unfortunately). He knows how excited this place gets and how much fun the event is overall. He has consistently said in past interviews that there were some things he'd like to do when he is over with the championships and always mentioned Bercy. So, from time to time, I would remind it to him but, of course, this season, it was the first and the last time that it was possible.
With his car racing deal, it did not look too good though. In fact, early this season, he said no to Eric (Peronnard) but we figured he was still very mentally involved with his last "half" challenges in SX/MX and decided to try again later. When we did, Ricky was going through his outdoor streak and was obviously at the peak of his confidence. We also told him we'd be willing to open the format to "bring-what-you-want" and that has made a big difference too. Adapting to a 250F would have been an extra load of work and we knew he did not need that. From there, Ricky accepted our proposal right away, he just asked Roger for support and The Man graciously agreed, so on we were!
This is the most thrilling news for Bercy in years, we are very excited, very proud and very grateful to Ricky, Roger and Suzuki. Ricky just got voted "Greatest MX racer of All Times" by our readers at Moto Verte Magazine, he gave the fans a great show at Ernée (MXDN) two years ago and that will be the last chance for those fans to see "RC4" in front of their own eyes, and it will happen on their fetish Bercy stadium! This is a big, really big honor for Bercy. Actually, we are expecting fans from all over Europe for this last tribute to the GOAT !
Not only Ricky will participate to this great 25th edition, but he will inaugurate an all-new format. We'll still have a "Nations"-oriented line-up, with 4 selected riders from the U.S., 4 from the Rest of the World and 4 from France, + the top 4 racers out of the French SX Tour. These 16 riders will compete in 3 motos. The first and last will be the usual 15-lap motos; the middle moto will consist on two 3-laps, 8 riders sprints (the last four riders being out), followed by two 2-laps, 4 riders sprints (the last two riders out), followed by one 4 riders, 2-lap sprint (the last two riders out), followed by the final "man-on-man", 2-lap sprint. This tournament will count for points (although less than the other motos), the final moto deciding who wins each night. Of course, the King of Bercy will be the best overall rider out of the three nights; Bercy will also feature the SX Tour, an 85cc race and top-notch FMX, as usual.
Who is coming with RC?
We'll have three spots for U.S. riders to share's Ricky's last challenge and there is so much talent out there that it will be difficult to choose! With no World SX in December and the open format, Bercy is a good chance for everyone to try himself for the big January deadline on his own bike. We believe the 250F's fit Bercy's size the best and will invite riders regardless of the size bike they race. Ideally, it would be great to have RC surrounded by his friends/teammates and it would be a perfect opportunity to introduce Ryan Dungey to our fans (and have the O'Show, the original King of Bercy, in the house!). Obviously, Ben Townley could be a great leader for Team ROTW as well . The King of Kings at Bercy is DV12 and he will be a Team Suzuki member by Bercy. Christophe Pourcel is the reigning King.; Andrew Short and Grant Langston are former Kings, still charging. We have enjoyed very good support from teams such as American Honda, Factory Connection, KTM, Yamaha, YOT, etc, in the past and look forward to invite some of their riders to present the greatest Bercy SX in years! We will approach these riders-Teams and are planning to complete the line-up by Glen Helen or MXDN.