Everts and Townley confirm seasons of dominance
The penultimate round of the FIM Motocross World Championship provided the two 2004 Champions: Ben Townley and Stefan Everts, who clinched both another GP win and their title in Ballykelly (Northern Irlande) during a muddy event. The track was pretty wet Sunday morning after heavy showers on Saturday evening, but hopefully the weather wasn’t too bad for the racing day. With a strong wind the clouds moved over the track, even if there were some short showers during or between the races.
Stefan Everts and Mickael Pichon were once more the main animators of the MX1 Grand Prix. Sharing the heat wins and the second spots, they both scored 47 points but with the FIM rule (the second race makes the difference) it’s Stefan Everts who got this time the GP win. Cedric Melotte got the holeshot in the first moto, and after a lap Stefan Everts was leading Melotte and Pichon; the French rider took the lead in the third lap but was unable to make the gap with Everts, and the Belgian passed him back in the seventh lap! Then Stefan led most of the race, but in the last ten minutes Pichon was back and pushed really hard when they joined the lappers; Mickael was more successful than Stefan and finally won the race followed by Stefan and Joshua Coppins who came back from a poor tenth position. With his second position Everts clinched already the title (his eight one), and could race without any pressure the next one. Josh got the holeshot this time, but Everts and then Pichon passed him; after three laps Stefan was leading Pichon by five seconds, and finally won without any trouble. Tanel Leok who was fourth in the previous race when his bike broke got his second podium of the season, with a third; then came Coppins, Strijbos, Mackenzie and Irish hero Gordon Crockard who crashed at the first start.
Antonio Cairoli got the holeshot in the first MX2 race, but Ben Townley passed him during the opening lap and made the gap with his rivals. Third at the start Marc De Reuver joined BT in lap nine and then passed him for the lead, but his bike failed later and Townley won the heat and assured the title. Tyla Rattray came back from sixth to second, followed by Antonio Cairoli, Belgian Marvin Van Daele and Portuguese Rui Gonçalves. Maschio and Sword both retired with bike troubles. In the second heat Ben Townley got the first holeshot of his GP career and was amazing; after six laps he led Cairoli by twenty seconds and won easily, followed by Aigar Leok who got his first heat podium, De Reuver, Cairoli and Rattray. Maschio was involved in a pile-up at the start and Sword retired again with an engine failure.
MX1 Grand Prix: 1.Everts (2/1) / 2.Pichon (1/2) / 3.Coppins (3/4) / 4.Strijbos (6/5) / 5.Ramon (5/8) / 6.Melotte (4/13) / 7.Mackenzie (12/6) / 8.Freibergs (10/9) / 9.Theybers (9/10) / 10.De Dijcker (7/12) / etc…
MX2 Grand Prix: 1.Townley (1/1) / 2.Cairoli (3/4) / 3.Rattray (2/5) / 4.Leok (8/3) / 5.Swanepoel (13/6) / 6.Goncalves (5/14) / 7.Nunn (10/10) / 8.Chiodi (7/13) / 9.Barragan (12/9) / 10.De Reuver (DNF/3) / etc….
Stefan Everts: “ I was really disappointed after the first race, I led most of it and finally Mickael passed me at the end. Now I’m happy after the second race, because I won the GP and it’s nice to be World Champion in this way. This time I had two really good starts for the first time this season, and in the second heat I knew I had to push really hard at the beginning. When Mickael came second my plan was to keep the same gap, and at the end I was may be stronger physically and won the GP. It has been a busy weekend; we’ll have now a big party on monday in Belgium to celebrate my title. It has not been my best year but I’m satisfied to get the title again, especially for the people working around me: my team, my sponsors, and also my fans.”
Mickael Pichon: “ It was not an easy weekend, the track was really difficult and I’m a little bit tired at the moment as I’ve been racing every weekend since four months now. I spent a lot of energy in the first moto when I tried to win it, I thought it could be OK in the second one but Stefan and Josh were really fast at the beginning. I was just able to stay with them and pass Josh, I pushed really hard to catch Stefan but after twenty minutes I was really tired, my arms pumped off and I could only stay in second.”
Joshua Coppins. “I’m pretty happy with this week-end because since two weeks I’m a little sick and I’ve not been training on the bike. I have been racing two races last week and it has been difficult to recover so the results are good for me. In the first round I had to come back from twelfth place, in the second I started well but I’d not enough speed to stay with Stefan and Mickael. I did the best I could, the track was really nice and I think that they did pretty good job considering the weather.”
Ben Townley. “I was riding good in the first race but Marc had nothing to loose end pushed really hard. He passed me and I didn’t want to take any risks, but finally he had a problem with the bike and I won the race and the championship. In the second race I got my first holeshot since I race the GP’s, and then my goal was to be as far as possible to my rivals. It’s the first time since Sweden that I won two heats the same day; I trained with Tyla in the sand and that was good for my fitness. For sure I’m really happy to win the title, I’ve been working hard for this since four years now and in the last lap of the first heat I was thinking to all the work we’ve done with my partners. I want to thanks all of them, and also my parents who came here to celebrate the title with me.”
Antonio Cairoli. “Yesterday I really enjoyed the track, but today it was much more difficult for us. I got the holeshot but Ben passed me straight away, he was really fast today; I crashed later but anyway I couldn’t follow him. I got another good start in the second moto but Ben was faster than in the first heat, I’m happy with my second place overall. I’m now third in the standings, that was my goal and I will defend it to Stephen Sword in the last round.”
Tyla Rattray. “I’m happy to be back on the podium, I’ve been waiting for this since a while now because in the last GP’s I wasn’t riding so good. Before Lichtenvoorde I’d been training in the sand, and then I moved to hard tracks but it was not as good for me. So the last two weeks I’ve been practicing in the sand, and solve the problem. My first race was good, I didn’t had such a good start but I managed to come through pretty quickly and came back third; then Antonio had a crash and I came second. In the next race I got a good start but made a mistake and may be ten riders passed me. I had some problems with my goggles but finished fifth and third overall.”
For more info and results check the official web site of the FIM Motocross World Championships: www.motocrossMX1.com
Photo (C) A. Hodgkinson