FUNCHAL, 6 June 2007- A well deserved week break followed the Japanese Grand Prix, to make the FIM Motocross World Championship collective recover from the jetlag, but now everyone is ready to compete in the seventh round of the series, the French Grand Prix in Saint Jean d’Angely.
MX1 leader Joshua Coppins heads to France with victory ambitions, as he missed the top spot of the podium in the previous two Grand Prix’s.
Antonio Cairoli has the same intention, after interrupting his five GP victory row in Japan, where rival Christophe Pourcel beat him for the first time this season.
There have been four different Grand Prix winners so far in the season, but none of them was French. Sebastien Pourcel of GPKR could be the man to beat in this French round, as he already clinched a podium finish in his first season in the MX1 class.
Seb comes from a disappointing Japanese Grand Prix, where he suffered from the jetlag; making up for it will be one extra motivation for the 22 year old, who needs great determination to beat Yamaha Motocross’ Joshua Coppins.
The Kiwi was second behind countryman Ben Townley in the last World Championship race in Saint Jean, back in 2005. Coppins never missed the podium in each of these six rounds, showing an impressive consistency that gave him a Championship lead of more than 60 points.
Runner up Kevin Strijbos of Team Suzuki has to avoid Coppins’ escape by coming back to the podium, where he was twice this season —Spain and Portugal.
Also his team mate Steve Ramon hopes for a successful French Grand Prix, to improve his third place in the Championship and keep Seb Pourcel behind in fourth.
David Philippaerts currently rounds off the top five, but he aims at the top three since he won his maiden MX1 GP in Teutschenthal. The KTM Red Bull Team and the Italian scored important points in Japan, but want a podium finish to celebrate their comeback to Europe.
Kawasaki Racing Europe’s Billy Mackenzie won his third consecutive Japanese Grand Prix, and is looking forward to carrying that speed back to Europe for the forthcoming races; the same goes for Mike Brown of CAS Honda, winner of the final moto in Sugo after leader Mackenzie crashed out.
The whole line-up of Team Off Road Aprilia will be back this weekend; after an intense period of testing, both Cedric Melotte and Alessio Chiodi will have important evolutions on their MXV machines.
GPKR’s Christophe Pourcel made to stop an impressive Antonio Cairoli, and snatched what could have been the Italian’s sixth consecutive victory.
Sugo changed into Pourcel’s first victory of the season -the third of his career- and now the Frenchman goes back home in France with a renewed confidence.
France does not seem to bring the defending Champion much luck, as he finished tenth in 2005, and third in 2006.
Last year in Ernée —the final GP of the season- Yamaha De Carli’s Tony Cairoli was the man who beat him, after a breathtaking battle for glory, as both riders already had their Championship positions secured.
This year there is more than glory to fight for, and we will surely see a tough wrestle for the top positions, with Cairoli willing to pay Yamaha off after having signed a new three year deal with the factory in Sugo.
CLS’ Anthony Boissiere can take a positive turn in his season, as he knows the “Circuit du Puy de Poursay well enough to aim at the podium. The 21 year old from Ganges was on second overall here in 2005, finishing fourth in the first moto, and winning the final one.
KTM Red Bull’s Tyla Rattray has been a solid contender so far, earning third in the Championship, and he is only 10 points away from runner up Pourcel. Tyla came close to winning his first moto of the season in Sugo, but the actual victory can arrive in France this weekend.
HHis team mate Tommy Searle was once again on the podium —the third since he joined KTM in 2007- but the result was not enough to break away from Martin Honda’s Pascal Leuret, who will be hyper motivated for his home event.
CIRCUIT DU PUY DE POURSAY AND SAINT JEAN D’ANGELY
The French circuit that played host to the FIM Motocross of Nations in 2000 is back on the calendar after his last appearance in 2005. Since then, some changes have been made to the Circuit du Puy de Poursay, such as reshaping some obstacles to offer the riders new lines, and adding sand to the soil, making it softer than it normally is. Together with the technical layout, these aspects will guarantee a superb race on Sunday, June 10.
Saint Jean D’Angely is in the South of France, about 150 kilometres North of Bordeaux and the Spanish border. The town’s beauty comes from its rich past and the nature in the surroundings; the Abbaye Royale (Royal Abbey) and the Fontaine du Pilori (Fountain of Pilori) are two of the things tourists have to see before leaving St. Jean, which hosts also a very traditional market on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
After this much sightseeing, there is a beautiful and relaxing path all along the river Boutonne, that passes by St. Jean d’Angely.
ONE SPECIAL MINUTE
Jan de Groot passed away on Monday, because of a serious illness, and all the Motocross World Championship collective misses his presence in the paddock. Sunday, the 10th of June, before the start of the first heat, there will be a one minute of silence in Jan’s memory, to remember one of the men who gave a great contribution to the sport.
THE EVENT SCHEDULE
The FIM Motocross Grand Prix of France will be held on Sunday June 10th, with practice and qualifying taking place on the preceding Saturday.
Information and results on www.motocrossMX1.com, the official website of the FIM Motocross World Championships.
Fans worldwide can watch this and every race of the 2007 FIM Motocross & Supermoto World Championships live and on-demand exclusively on The Moto Channel on MediaZone (moto.MediaZone.com). MediaZone is a leading global online broadcaster specialized in sports, entertainment and international programming.