The night started off with a hot lap contest where the riders would simply try to do that, turn the best single lap time. Stewart went last and although the other riders put up a valiant fight, in the end Stewart bettered all their times by 1.6 seconds. Justin Brayton had a good ride on the JGR Yamaha YZ450F (the 2009 version) and captured second. A surprising Ben Coisy was third. French riders took four out of the top seven results, and that result was foreboding.
Next up were the duel races where fifteen riders went out for five laps and the last five guys were eliminated. The remaining ten lined back up for another gate drop and four laps, and again, the bottom five were eliminated. Finally there were five riders and a three lap winner-take-all race. James Stewart swept all three races.
The main event was eventful for a few reasons and one of them was not good. Steve Boniface, the semi-retired former KTM factory rider, came out to Bercy to try his best and went down hard seven laps into the main event. Boniface grabbed too much throttle up the finish line and did almost a complete flip. The results were ugly and Boniface was KO’d.
The red flag smartly came out and although there was movement by Steve, the injuries are very serious according to the latest report. After seven laps it was Stewart out in front, with MX2 World Champion Marvin Musquin in second and Brayton in third.
The restart changed things up a bit when French Kawasaki rider Gregory Aranda surprisingly jumped out in second. He gave Musquin fits before finally relenting in the whoops. Brayton also snuck by in the whoops and worked on Musquin next. Eventually the JGR Yamaha rider snuck by on the inside of a turn and there was nothing the crowd favorite Musquin could do. Aranda finished fourth and Fabien Izoird was fifth. Matt Boni, one of the guys that benefitted from the restart was sixth and Nick Wey was seventh.
James Stewart was in a class by himself on Friday night and is certainly the favorite for the rest of the weekend. It’s clear that this year in this team race the Americans have some work to do. Musquin, Aranda and Izoird showed everyone that the French are not to be taken lightly. Add in Ben Coisy, who was very fast in the super pole and duel races, and the star spangled warriors are going to have to pick it up!