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5 Minutes With... Christophe Pourcel

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Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Christophe Pourcel is one of the best stories in the pits, with overcoming his spinal injury, to winning the Lites East SX title, and then to almost winning the outdoor championship as well. However, the key to that last part is, “almost,” and he’s not happy about it. We talked to him after the race.

Racer X: I know you feel horrible right now...
Christophe Pourcel: No way! Are you kidding?!

The sarcasm is obvious. Try and put it into words, to start with, what was going through your head last week at Southwick when your bike broke, then you had the first-turn deal, and all that.
That was some [bleeping] bad luck. That’s the word.

Did that problem in the first moto sort of ruin your second moto for you, too, mentally?
No, I was okay after the first moto. The bike broke, but I felt like I could get it back, but when I was ready to go, in the first turn, the bike stopped. I don’t know why. I don’t know if [Ryan] Dungey hit me and I stalled the bike, or what. She just stopped, and I was in front. Then I just didn’t feel like riding anymore.

Yeah, you looked like you were just kind of riding around after that.
Yeah, I mean, what can I do? I had mud everywhere – in the first moto, too – and I just had bad luck, and in my mind, I just felt like something out there didn’t want me to win this championship.

It was out of your hands...
Yeah, I just felt like 11th was fine, or 10th was fine, but I wasn’t going to recover at that point.

You looked like you had a point to prove today, though. Is that how you felt?
No, I think I proved it before. I’m usually faster, and when I’m not, I’m just riding really smooth to win the race, but I’ve just had a lot of bad luck this year: the gate [at Colorado], the clutch, the two points at Hangtown... Everything. It’s bullshit [laughs].

I think sometimes you get a bad rap because you’re not from here, and your humor doesn’t come across the right way, but when something like this happens where you work so hard to win a title, and you led so much of the championship, but you don’t win it, are you concerned that people will misunderstand your competitive drive for being a jerk?
No. I’m French, and they’re American, but I have American friends, and they think the same way as I do. I try to think like them, but they actually think like me, and they’re just really mad that this turned out this way. “Man, you got the gate malfunction, and all the stuff like that, and things don’t seem to ever fall on your side.” So I’ve just got to deal with that.

Does it make you more determined in any way to come back next year, on a 250 or a 450, and really do damage?
Not really. I mean, this weekend, everything went good, and I won for me and my team, but I didn’t win for the AMA or anybody else. When I race next year, I’ll just try to win like I tried to do this year. It will be the same.

In that first moto, were you holding of Ryan Dungey? Or were you waiting for him?
He just refused to go past me. It was like two or three races ago when I won both motos easy [at Unadilla]. I know when I have my speed, nobody can follow me. That time, it was kind of the same. He was pretty fast today, but he couldn’t have ridden with me if I didn’t want him to. I could’ve ridden out there by myself and won the moto, and it would’ve been easy, and he wouldn’t have passed me, but I tried to have some fun. I didn’t want to push him off the track or anything – that wasn’t my goal, because I’m not going to win the championship like that – but I did try to play a game with him. But he didn’t really want to play. So I’m like, “Hey, you can pass me, and I’m going to ride behind you,” because we haven’t gotten a chance to race like that this year, but I think he was scared.

You would be, too, though, right? If you switched spots in the championship and on the track?
I’m not a p****. At Las Vegas, when I won there, I tried to win. I’m not the guy to roll over. I was in front and he tried to pass me everywhere, but I didn’t let him by. If I was him today, I’d just try to win both motos. And he was so close to winning the first moto, but he didn’t even try it! He wouldn’t try anything. He would pass me, but then let me pass him right back. I mean, slow down, or pass me and run away, but don’t stay with me if you don’t want to race.

What about your collarbone? Aren’t you getting surgery on it?
I’m going on Monday to see my doctor for my stomach and my clavicle, and they’re going to put me under on Wednesday to take it out, and then they’re going to put something in my stomach to find what’s wrong and fix it.

So you should be good to go from then on, huh?
Yeah, I’ll let you know for sure, because you never know, but they should find something wrong, and I’m pretty excited about that. I’m actually excited to go to the hospital because this stomach pain hurts so bad! I’ve got to fix that shit! I’m never excited to go to the hospital, but right now, I’m happy because it hurts every single day.
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