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Monday Conversation I: Christophe Pourcel

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Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Christophe Pourcel completed a miraculous comeback in Toronto, clinching his first title since his 2006 MX2 World Championship by winning on a tough, tricky track in Toronto. We talked to him on Sunday after he got home from the airport.

Racer X: You obviously knew that you had a shot to wrap up the title one round early if you beat your teammate Austin Stroupe this weekend. How important was it to get it done early?
Christophe Pourcel: It was really important for me to be able to get it done early, and I’m really happy about the championship.

Obviously, it’s been quite a while since your last championship. Is there any way you can put into words what it means for you?
It wasn’t easy to get the title. It’s never easy to be champion. My last one was in 2006, and I learned a lot during that year when I won the World Championship, and it helped me a lot this year to get this result.

Do you feel like this is a stepping-stone that you’re back, and something to build on toward the outdoor title or a 450cc career?
Right now, I’m just happy about this title and I’ll see what I’m going to do next year. Right now, I’m just happy about everything.

Did you go partying after the race?
Yeah, a little bit, but I’ve got something for Vegas. I’ll do most of my partying there.

Have you ever run the #1 before?
No.

But you’re going to in Vegas, right?
I don’t know. I’ll have to see exactly what we’re going to do, so I can’t tell you if I’m going to take the number one or not. I’m not sure.

Don’t you have to in Vegas?
I’m not sure. I’m going to try to get my number.

In the main event, obviously you got out quick, and Austin Stroupe got into second pretty quickly too, but when you got out front on that sort of track, what were you thinking about? It seemed like it could’ve been pretty easy to make some pretty big mistakes out there.
Yes, on a track like that, I’m riding pretty smooth. That was a good race for me to be in the front and as long as I made no mistakes, it was going to be fine. I was pretty focused on my goal, and my mechanic showed me everything I needed on the pitboard, and before the start, my friend told me that a year ago I was in my bed and I couldn’t move, so it felt good to get it that night. During the race, I was completely focused on the race. I wasn’t focused on Stroupe behind me, or anyone else. I was just doing what I had to do.

What was Mitch Payton’s response after the race?
He said, “You have to be proud of what you did. You did awesome.” And he told me that he’d see me on Monday, and that he was just really, really, really happy.

A week ago, you got fifth. Why? Was that a situation where you just didn’t want to take a lot of risks or what?
When you want to be a champion, you can’t win every race. I had a crash, and nobody had anything to lose on the track, and a lot of them are riding pretty good right now. Fifth wasn’t bad for the championship, and I was able to have a chance to clinch it this weekend, and that was kind of my goal. I knew that if I won the race, I would get the championship.

Are you going to race next weekend in Jacksonville, or are you staying home?
I’m going to go to the beach. [Laughs] I’m kidding. I was telling you about my screw in my clavicle [it’s backing out of its hole], and they’re going to take it out the Monday after Jacksonville, so I’ll be ready to try to win [Jacksonville]. That will be a good race.

It’s looking maybe like rain, and the French have a reputation for doing well in the rain. Are you a good mud rider?
You never know who’s going to be fast on a weekend like that. You never know if I’m going to be good or not. And we don’t know what the dirt is. In a mud race, it’s about not trying to be crazy in the first few laps.

Congratulations, Christophe, on a well-earned championship.
Thanks, man.
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