Monday Conversation: Christophe Pourcel

Mitch Payton’s Pro Circuit squad, as dominant as it is in Lites Supercross competition, hadn’t won a Dave Coombs Sr. Lites East/West Shootout since Nathan Ramsey pulled it off in 1999. This year, not only did his rider Christophe Pourcel win the race, Payton’s four riders all finished inside the top six. In addition, Pourcel became the first rider since James Stewart in 2004, and the only rider besides Stewart since Ramsey did it in 1999, to win a championship and the shootout in the same year.

Racer X: How about that? You got a free truck!
Christophe Pourcel: I hope so!

That’s the deal: Win the race, get a free Toyota Tundra. But you already have a Toyota Tundra, don’t you?
Yeah, I already have one, but I paid for that one!

So are you going to sell the old one or the new one?
I’m pretty comfortable with mine, and I think I’m going to keep it because it was my first one. I guess I’ll try and keep the other one, too.

You can ship it to France so that when you go back there, you can drive a giant Toyota around France.
I’m not going to go back there, so...

Talk a little bit about your day today, Christophe.
Yesterday [press day] wasn’t really good. I broke my chain, I lost my pipe... Practice wasn’t easy, the track wasn’t easy – hardpack, slippery, all that stuff. I finished second in the heat race without any back brake, and I almost went off the track a bunch of times. I was thinking, “Wow, man, is tonight going to be my night or what?” It didn’t seem like it. But I really focused on the start in the main event, but I didn’t get the holeshot, so that kept me thinking that it wasn’t my night, but then I started moving forward and I got the race I was looking for. [Ryan] Dungey was really good, and I knew that he would be, so I was hoping to have a race with him for you guys and the fans. I wanted to give it all I had and hoped I could have the best rider behind me.

There was a lot of speculation about which coast was faster this year, and most people figured it was the west, but you won.
I mean, I think they’re all the same. We just finished on the same second, I just won the race that time. I think they are just as good.

Canard is a French name...
Yes, it’s a duck.

So you could almost say that French guys led almost the whole race...
No, he’s not a French guy! But he was fast. He was first for most of the main event, and I was pretty surprised to see him in front of me and Ryan [Dungey]. I don’t know what he did, but he made a mistake, and then my job was just to hang on. He rode really good, and I can’t say that I would’ve been able to catch him. All three of us were pretty fast, and when you’re on the gas, wide-open, with a 250, you can’t go faster than that. You just hope you can be on the podium or win the race.

You’re the only guy since 2000, besides James Stewart, who was a Lites champion and won the East/West Shootout. Champions almost always lose this race.
Yeah, I don’t know why. It seems like it’s just a race, and it’s the same for everyone, but we had a really good track for the top guys tonight, and it was really technical with big whoops, and it was pretty fast in some parts and slow in others, so I think it was the track we were waiting for, and that’s why the top guys were on the podium.

Now, you’ve got two weekends off before you go outdoors.
Yeah, I’m pretty excited about that. I’m excited to see all of the tracks, and I’ve tested on my 250 outdoors one time, and I’m excited about it. I rode my 450 most of the time outdoors, and then when I went back to the 250, it was like, “Where’s the power!?” But it’s exciting to ride the 250 wide-open around an outdoor track, and I’m strong on the bike.

We’ll see you in three weeks at Glen Helen!
Yeah, for sure, I’ll be there!