Everts gifts GP win to Coppins
The second edition of the South African Grand Prix has been successful both on and off the track. Working hard on the circuit during the entire weekend the organisers provided one of the best layouts of the season to the riders, who offered great racing to the plentiful public in attendance. David Philippaerts and Joshua Coppins both claimed their second GP win of the season in Sun City.
Joshua Coppins confirmed this weekend that he is a serious challenger to Stefan Everts, who is still leading the World Championship but scored less points than his rival for the third event in a row. Both races were controlled by the duo and none of their rivals were able to match the leading pace today. Despite a really bad jump from the gate in the first heat Everts came back promptly in the top three, and took the lead after five laps followed by Townley and Coppins. The KTM rider felt down on lap six and let Everts and Coppins go to the front; the race was open and unpredictable as Coppins took control on the thirteenth circulation! Stefan passed him back straight afterwards but Josh kept applying the pressure and finally hit the front again on lap seventeen of twenty to collect his third heat win of the season (and in a row). The second heat was intense for twenty minutes with Stefan and Josh again very close! Suffering from arm cramps Josh backed off in the last laps and lost a few seconds; Stefan was going to celebrate his 85th GP win when he crashed on the final lap! Losing time he finished the race second with a damaged front brake, really disappointed by this incident while Coppins collected the honours. Twice third Steve Ramon earned his first podium of the season as Ben Townley crashed in both heats; fourth and seventeenth, the MX2 World Champion left South Africa with some disillusion for the Championship and a damaged little finger on his right hand.
The MX2 riders provided some characteristically strong races and different winners. Frenchman Anthony Boissière scooped his second win after France, but he had a tough fight with David Philippaerts. Despite a bad start Philippaerts took the lead on lap thirteen but Boissière never gave up and again fronted the pack five laps later to win the race. Only ninth at the start of the second heat Philippaerts rallied strongly again and made his presence felt by the seventh lap and despite the assaults of Antonio Cairoli he celebrated his second heat and GP win. Twice third Billy Mackenzie got his first podium since Japan with second position overall, while Antonio Cairoli stole the third spot from Alessio Chiodi. Despite a collision with Cedric Melotte halfway round the first lap of moto1 Cairoli scored one more point than World Championship leader Andrew McFarlane, who crashed while leading the same heat.
Joshua Coppins: ““I was pretty lucky today! Of course it’s always good to win but I never expected to win like that – it’s not so nice to win. It’s better to win because you’re the best. I was the best in the first race but got a lot of cramp in the second race. My speed was good but I was struggling with cramp. I want to show Stefan that I want to race for the championship. Even though he has a big lead we’ve seen him make mistakes, more this year than ever before and we saw this in the last lap. This is the time to push on and make as many points as possible. Beating Stefan in the first heat has been the best race of my career.”
David Philippaerts: “The first heat was pretty difficult as I got a bad start and came back from ninth to first. I passed Boissière who was leading the race, but he watched my lines and found finally a spot to pass me before the finish flag. I had a better start in the second heat and it was not easy to control Cairoli, as he likes a lot indoor tracks. I’m usually not so strong in these conditions, but I won in France and here so may be I also like this tracks now! He passed me in the last lap but I was able to pass him back, and win my second GP. It’s my fifth podium in a row with the 250 KTM, my goal is to get the best results each week-end and to improve my classification in the championship. I confirm that next year I will stay with KTM, they offered me a strong support this season and I’m happy with this decision.”
Next event: Grand Prix of Wallonie (Nismes) July 30th-31st
Information and results on www.motocrossmx1.com, the official website of the Motocross World Championships.