Team Yamaha’s David Vuillemin proved that he is ready to pick up where he left off halfway through last season’s 250cc Supercross Championship. The Corona, California, resident scored a convincing win at the THQ World Supercross GP series opener in Geneva, Switzerland, aboard his Craig Monty-tuned Yamaha YZ250.
New Suzuki team rider Sebastien Tortelli led the way at the start of the main event and looked smooth aboard his RM250. Jeremy McGrath gated second and looked strong at the start of the race, but dropped back in the pack as the laps wore down. In the end, the King of Supercross faded to an eventual sixth. Tortelli led over half the race, but could not fend off the relentless charges of Yamaha’s David Vuillemin, who gated fourth and made a quick charge through the pack. Once out front, the Cobra checked out and enjoyed a substantial lead at the finish.
“I’ve been off the bike for five months and I am happy to be back,” said Vuillemin. “It feels good to win. Chad was riding awesome, but I guess he crashed. Timmy was riding good, too. I have one month to get ready for Anaheim 1—the U.S. Series opener, so I am going to try to do the same there.”
Vuillemin’s Yamaha teammate Tim Ferry started the race in third and dropped back as far as fifth before finding his usual speedy pace. In the end, Red Dog was a solid second behind Cobra aboard his big Yamaha YZ450F.
“Cobra rode a good race,” said Ferry. “He rides well in these tight track conditions. My bike worked well, and this is the first time that I’ve ever finished on the podium at the first race, so I’m stoked about that.”
After starting fifth and momentarily dropping to sixth when an aggressive Chad Reed fed him a super-sized stuff, South African Grant Langston got on the good foot and raced through the pack and into third. LL Cool G scored the final spot on the podium with a brilliant last-lap pass on early leader Tortelli.
“I am really happy with the result,” said Langston, who earned a podium spot in his debut 250cc SX series race. “I got a fairly decent start but I made some mistakes on the first lap. I made some good progress at the end of the race, so I am happy with that. Tortelli cased a jump on the last lap and I was able to get by.”
Tortelli may have lost third on the final lap, but those on hand at the event report that the Frenchman looks much smoother and more relaxed than he ever has on a supercross track. Perhaps his new coach Rick Johnson has a thing or two to do with that…
Fifth at the finish was Yamaha’s newest team rider, Chad Reed. The Aussie was one of the most aggressive riders on the track and looked headed for a certain podium position, but a mid-air collision with Tortelli as they battled over second saw Reed part ways with his Dave Dye-tuned YZ250. Still, the East Coast 125cc SX Champ remounted and charged back to fifth in the end.
Mike LaRocco put in the charge of the night as he raced through the pack and up into seventh at the checkered flag. LaRocco was the victim of the course’s tight first turn, and he started the race nearly half a lap down on the pack after crashing at the start. LaRocco was reported to be one of the fastest riders on the track.
- David Vuillemin (Yam)
- Tim Ferry (Yam)
- Grant Langston (KTM)
- Sebastien Tortelli (Suz)
- Chad Reed (Yam)
- Jeremy McGrath (KTM)
- Mike LaRocco (Hon)
- Joaquim Rodrigues (KTM)
- Damon Huffman (Hon)
- Stephan DeMartis (Kaw)