Photos by Ray Archer
The 28th annual Bercy supercross is taking place this weekend in Paris, France at the Omi Palacesports (which is French for "We grow green grass on the walls" or something like that) and the history and prestige of this race is not to be fooled with.
Pretty much every legend of the sport has touched their knobbies to the French clay and the track truly is more of an arenacross track with some fast tunnels thrown in for good measure.
French racers like 2010 MX2 Champion Marvin Musquin, Greg Aranda and Gauthier Paulin were obviously the crowd favorite but the European riders also had the MX1 champion Antonio Cairoli there as well as GP winner Ken De Dycker and CLS Kawasaki rider Max Anstie. It was a stacked field that the "American" riders faced. Going over there to represent the AMA circuit were GEICO Honda's Justin Barcia who was coming off his first career 450 pro race last weekend in Genoa, BTOSports.com/BBMX's Michael Byrne, former World and National champion Grant Langston, Barcia's teammate Blake Wharton, Rockstar Suzuki's Ryan Morais and Motoconcepts Yamaha's Kyle Chisholm.
There would be three different races to feature all the best riders. First up was a best lap time in a single lap-take it contest. The riders were staged from the slowest qualifier to the fastest and Justin Barcia managed to hold onto the lead until the very last rider and fastest qualifier, Frenchman Gauthier Paulin, snatched it away from him.
The next race was actually a series of races in an elimination format with each race consisting of five laps around the sub-one minute track. The first race was a harbinger for what was to come when Morais tangled with Langston and took a bunch of riders down with them. Paulin would go on to capture the win with Barcia and Byrne following close behind. Right after the race, the riders lined back up for the second race with half the field now eliminated from contention.
When the gate dropped it was Barcia shooting into the lead followed by Byrne and Musquin. Those three raced close together until Bryne went down hard on a triple/triple section and would be knocked out for the weekend with a suspected broken wrist. That left the door open for Barcia, Musquin and Paulin to go at it during the final elimination race.
The kid nicknamed 'Bam-Bam' wouldn't be stopped as he took the holeshot in the final race and sped off for the win to make it two out of three in the elimination race. Barcia, Musquin and Paulin were setting themselves up to be the guys to beat entering into the final 15-lap main event. All points from all the events are collected and count towards being named the "King of Bercy" at the conclusion of Sunday's main event.
Chaos ensued early in the main event when Greg Aranda did a different rhythm than Langston early in the main causing a spectacular crash where Aranda's bike ended up flipping upside down and into the other lane. None of that mattered to Barcia as he grabbed the start and quickly put four seconds on Musquin. The top two pulled away from everyone else and put on a show with Barcia being the only rider to consistently do the triple/triple.
Kyle Chisholm is showing that his upward trend of 2010 is continuing as he made a sweet pass on Christophe Martin and Cedric Soubeyras (who was riding a KTM 250 two-stroke) in on turn vaulting himself from fifth to third in one smooth move.
From there the rest of the racers battled the now rutty and rough track and some not so successfully. England's Max Anstie flew off the track at the end of one of the tunnel sections, Wharton got some headshake and went down in a heap and everywhere you looked riders were crashing out. All told, over half of the top ten qualifiers didn't finish the main event!
So after night one, it looks like Justin Barcia is the man to beat here in Bercy but after what we saw tonight, who knows what is going to go on the next two nights!
Results -Main Event
1 17 BARCIA Justin OPEN Honda Geico USA
2 1 MUSQUIN Marvin OPEN KTM Red Bull FRA
3 11 CHISHOLM Kyle OPEN Yamaha Moto Concepts USA
4 12 SOUBEYRAS Cedric SX TOUR KTM SARHOLTZ FRA
5 48 MARTIN Christophe SX TOUR Honda FRA
6 871 IZOIRD Fabien OPEN Suzuki Inter Cross FRA
7 222 CAIROLI Antonio OPENKTM De Carli Red Bull ITA
8 23 TONUS Arnaud OPEN Suzuki Teka SUI
9 71 MORAIS Ryan OPEN Suzuki Rockstar USA
10 9 DE DYCKER Ken OPEN Honda L&S BEL
11 99 ANSTIE Max INTER Kawasaki CLS Monter GBR
12 8 LANGSTON Grant OPEN SA – Yamaha USA
13 20 ARANDA Greg OPEN Kawasaki Rinaldi Monster FRA
14 21 PAULIN Gautier OPEN Yamaha Rinaldi Monster FRA
15 26 BYRNE Michael OPEN Suzuki BBMX USA
16 121 WHARTON Blake OPEN Honda Geico