PARIS -- American superstar riders Justin Barcia and Blake Wharton of the powerful GEICO Powersports Honda camp will take on the best riders in Europe on foreign soil this weekend at the 28th running of the Bercy Supercross at Palais Omnisports in downtown Paris.
"Bercy is the biggest and most prestigious race in Europe," organizer Eric Peronnard said. "Each year we invite a handful of the top riders from the United States and the rest of the world to take on the top European riders. We're excited and honored to have Justin and Blake join us this year. They will be tested but I know they will be up for the challenge. Paris is waiting."
Champion riders like Marvin Musquin of France, Antonio Cairoli of Italy, Michael Byrne of Australia, Max Antsie of Great Britian, and Grant Langston of South Africa await the two American riders, who are excited at the possibilities ahead.
"I'm very excited to be here," Barcia said. "Paris is a beautiful place and they say the Bercy track is very tight and fast so I think it will fit my style really well. I hear there are some fast guys racing this weekend so it will be good chance for me to get me ready for the AMA Supercross schedule back home.
"It'll be different from the racing in the United States because when you're going up against riders you haven't raced before it's hard to know what they're going to do or how they ride until you're actually out there racing. It keeps it interesting and challenging, that's for sure."
A native of New York now living in Georgia, Barcia had a great 2010 campaign, finishing second in AMA Supercross Lites East competition and fifth on the AMA Motocross tour. Texan Wharton was fifth in AMA Supercross Lites West and eighth in the AMA Motocross outdoor series.
"I've been working extremely hard since the season ended to find some more speed," Wharton said from Honda's test track in Southern California. "I'm ready for Bercy and excited to race against some top-level guys so I can gauge where I'm at with my riding. It's going to be good to get in a real round of Supercross before the 2011 season starts.
"I've raced a number of times in Europe but this is my first time at Bercy. I know it's a tight course and it's going to be a little different but I want to plant the Texas flag in the middle of that arena come Sunday."
Other riders entered in the event include Frenchmen Greg Aranda, Gautier Paulin, and Fabien Izoird, as well as Ken de Dycker of Belgium, and Arnaud Tonus of Switzerland. Kyle Chisholm and Ryan Morais will join Barcia and Wharton in representing the USA.
"I think it's gonna be a good race," Barcia said. "The main thing is to have fun and try to win."
The race is divided into three main events on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with an overall "King of Bercy" crowned Sunday evening.