Paris-Bercy Supercross 2012

Photos Courtesy of Paris-Bercy Supercross 

Inside the Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy

With a 30-year history and list of attendees that features almost every great racer in the history of the sport, the Paris-Bercy Supercross has become one of the most famous motocross races in the world. Winners of the three-night event are crowned the “King of Bercy” and join the likes of David Bailey, Johnny O’Mara, Jean-Michel Bayle, and Jeremy McGrath in history. This year, Justin Brayton, Eli Tomac, Jake Weimer, Kyle Chisholm, and Wil Hahn continued the tradition of US superstars dueling with the Europe best indoor racers.

A novel could be written about the legacy of the Bercy Supercross. The opening ceremonies of light, pyrotechnics, cheerleaders, and rider introductions are what essentially brought the showmanship elements into modern Supercross. Appearance bonus money helped draw Americans to France in November, and to the delight of the craved fans, they came in droves. David Bailey would win the inaugural race, which took place in March of 1984, before the race was moved to a more inviting slot in the heart of the off-season. For Europeans, the Bercy race became an annual pilgrimage, the chance to see the best Supercross racers in their element live rather than in magazines or delayed television broadcasts. Many current and former French racers say the race drew them to racing professionally, as they saw their national hero Jean-Michel Bayle take the 1990 and 1991 titles. The presence of Jeremy McGrath in the 90s gave Bercy even more prestige and photos from the decade sum up the sport quite well.

This year, five Americans headed to the Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy for the three-night race, with Jake Weimer emerging the winner on Sunday night. His main event wins on Friday and Saturday put him in control to take the win on Sunday night, which he managed to do despite a small crash. Weimer fended off an extremely fast Eli Tomac, who finished second to Weimer both times before taking a win of his own, and a consistent Justin Brayton. Wil Hahn would take fifth in his first trip to Bercy, while Kyle Chisholm was unable to defend his 2011 King of Bercy title.

450 Class

Friday Night

The amount of racing that happens at Bercy is exhausting. In addition to the standard heat races and 15-lap main events, competitors also take part in Superpole timed laps and Elimination dashes. While the latter two do not affect the overall finish, they allow a racer to come away with a couple of extra Euros.

Heat Races

The US riders wasted no time establishing dominance, as Brayton, Weimer, and Tomac claimed all three heat race wins. While they all took easy wins, it was not due to a lack of competition. Christophe Pourcel, Cedric Soubeyras, and Fabien Izoird are familiar names to some American fans, and they made the racing close and competitive.

Heat One

1. Justin Brayton

2. Cedric Souberyras

3. Fabien Izoird

4. Jason Clermont

Heat Two

1. Jake Weimer

2. Wil Hahn

3. Cyrille Coulon

4. Christophe Martin

Heat Three

1. Eli Tomac

2. Christophe Pourcel

3. Kyle Chisholm

4. Loic Rombault

 

Elimination Race

14 racers lined up behind the gate to start the three-race elimination portion of Friday night. Six were knocked out after the first go, and then another two, which set the field of Jake Weimer, Justin Brayton, Cedric Soubeyras, and Eli Tomac for the final sprint. Weimer launched out to an early lead and withstood a charging Tomac, whose aggressive riding caused him to go down near the end, to take the win.

1. Jake Weimer

2. Justin Brayton

3. Cedric Soubeyras

4. Eli Tomac

 

Superpole

Another twist in the Bercy format is the Superpole timed sprint. Race are cut lose on the track alone to turn in their fastest possible time, with the winner taking 1000 Euro bonus. This idea has been used to varying degrees of success in the States, but has not become a staple in the format. The lack of familiarity did not bother Tomac or Weimer, as they were the only two of the field to break the 43-second barrier, with Tomac going a touch faster to take the win.

1. Eli Tomac 42.319

2. Jake Weimer 42.343

3. Justin Brayton 43.333

4. Greg Aranda 43.439

5. Christophe Pourcel 43.546

450 Class Podium

450 Main

Like their prior meeting in the elimination race, it was Weimer and Tomac dicing for the main event win. Weimer was in control from the start, but Tomac began to reel him with faster lap times. The battle came to a head on the final lap, were Tomac faltered in a corner and allowed Weimer to pull away. At the line, it was Weimer with Tomac .573 seconds back. The duo gapped third place Justin Brayton by over 17-seconds.

1. Jake Weimer

2. Eli Tomac

3. Justin Brayton

4. Kyle Chisholm

5. Cedric Soubeyras

6. Wil Hahn

7. Cyrille Coulon

8. Charles Lefrancois

9. Christophe Pourcel

10. Fabien Izoird

Josse Sallefranque

250 Class

In addition to the Open 450 class, Bercy hosts a 250 class for younger racers who vie for “Prince of Bercy” status. The lone American in the field, Tyler Villopoto, held his own against a contingent of French racers with 2-4 finishes on night one. Valentin Teillet would win the first of two main events on Friday night, but a crash midway through the second would ruin his chances for the overall. Josse Sallefranque claimed the second win, and paired with his third place in main one, Friday’s overall.

1. Josse Sallefranque

2. Tyler Villopoto

3. Mike Valade

4. Romain Berthome

5. Yannis Irsuti

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