Bench Racing Ammo: Bercy SX History

November 20, 2007 3:03pm | by:
With Chad Reed’s dominant performance over three nights at the Bercy Supercross still in our minds, we thought we would take a look at how the winners there—the Kings of Bercy—have fared the following season in AMA Supercross. (We also thought we’d test you on your knowledge of Roman Numerals….)

In one of those strange quirks in the history books of motocross, the first and second Bercy SX races took place in 1984. The first went off in the Spring, with Team Honda’s David Bailey taking the overall win, while his best friend and teammate Johnny O’Mara would take top honors at Bercy II in the Fall of ’84.

Unfortunately, neither would have very good years in 1985 in AMA Supercross. Johnny O’ would finish fifth, and Bailey would struggle with injuries for seventh. The top points earners were: 1.) Jeff Ward; 2.) Broc Glover (just two points behind); 3.) Ron Lechien (another four points behind); 4.) Rick Johnson.

In Bercy III, O’Mara again took the win aboard his factory Honda, and he rode to a strong third in ’86 in AMA Supercross behind teammates Johnson and Bailey.

Bercy IV went off in the Winter of 1986, and the winner was once again David Bailey. Sadly, it would prove to be the last major win of his career, as a practice crash at Lake Huron in January meant the end of his career.

Ricky Johnson finally got the top spot at Bercy V, which took place in November ’87, then the ’88 SX tour, taking the title over Kawasaki’s Lechien and Ward. It was Ward who took Bercy VI, but then he struggled to score fifth in the ’89 series.

Jean-Michel Bayle.

Johnson was back on top for Bercy VII, which took place in the fall of ’89 after he came back from the broken wrist that cost him the ’89 AMA title. Unfortunately, he would injure the wrist again in 1990 at Daytona—this time pretty much ending his career.

Bercy VIII saw the rise of French hero Jean-Michel Bayle to the top of the podium, and he kept it going in AMA Supercross ’91, taking that title by a large margin over Damon Bradshaw. Bayle also took Bercy XIV, but by the start of the ’92 series his mind was already on moving over to road racing. He won three races but let Jeff Stanton take the title after a fierce battle with Damon Bradshaw.

Stanton cemented his place atop SX with the Bercy X win in ’92, then struggled to third in the ’93 AMA tour as the Jeremy McGrath era began. MC would win Bercy XI in ’93 and Bercy XIII in ’95, then follow with the AMA SX title; the Bercy XII winner—Mike LaRocco—finished sixth in the ’95 AMA championship after a wrist injury.

In 1996, Ryan Hughes left Bercy XIV wearing the crown, but then he hurt himself a few times in AMA SX and could only muster tenth. The winner of the ’97 AMA #1 plate was Jeff Emig, and he also took Bercy XV that year. Then he absolutely disappeared from the top of the results in 1998, slipping out of the top ten on the #1 Kawasaki KX250 in one of SX history’s all-time meltdowns.

Larry Ward was the King of Bercy XVI in 1998, then finished a solid fifth in the ’99 AMA Supercross standings, winning his hometown Seattle race along the way.

The French fans were treated to another homegrown champion in 1999 when David Vuillemin, from Marseilles, took the XVIIth race crown from the American visitors, then followed them back to the States and beat everyone but McGrath in the 2000 AMA Series. Vuillemin also won Bercy XVIII and XIX, then finished 8th on the AMA tour in ’01 and was the runner-up to Ricky Carmichael (who never won the Bercy crown) in ’02, suffering a separated shoulder along the way in a mid-week photo shoot that left him watching Daytona.

Vuillemin is the man in Bercy.

By 2002, the race format was changed to a MX2 format, and KTM-mounted Grant Langston took the Bercy XX crown. But Langston had all kinds of problems in AMA Supercross in 2003 and failed to make much of an impression—his best finish was a ninth at San Francisco.

Vuillemin showed up on a YZ250F in the fall of 2003 for Bercy XXI and laid claim to the all-time King of Bercy honors with yet another win. He went on to finish a solid fourth in 2004 in AMA Supercross.

Andrew Short would win the next two Bercy races (XXII and XXIII) and then went home and finished third in 2005 in the West Region, winning the Houston round; in 2006, he ended up second in the West Region, narrowly losing the championship to Grant Langston.

Finally, the winner of Bercy XXIV in 2006 was Christophe Pourcel. He was set to race in Europe one more year, but he did do the first few rounds of the ’07 AMA West Region tour, finishing second at Anaheim I and then stunning everyone with a Phoenix win over Ryan Villopoto. He then hurt his leg and returned to Europe to prepare for the Grand Prix series.

Now, we have Chad Reed, the King XXV of Bercy. How will he do in 2008? If the history above is any indication, it’s really hard to tell! But we’re betting he battles for the championship.