The third night of the Bercy Supercross (actually afternoon but who's counting?) was one for the record books as GEICO Honda's Justin Barcia pulled off the feat of becoming the youngest King of Bercy ever. The riders were certainly fatigued after two previous nights of hard fought races and drama but as usual, Bercy saved its best surprises for last.
As far as practice goes, well I can't really tell you what went down because my jetlag and lack of sleep finally caught up to me and I slept right through it all! I awoke slightly before opening ceremonies and took in the action. Woodward and Bernstein would be so embarrassed...
MX2 World Champion Marvin Musquin wouldn't make it to day three as he suffered a knee injury during Saturday night's race and the American contingent suffered another loss (already down Michael Byrne and Grant Langston) when Ryan Morais pulled out after the superpole races due to a fork seal that was gushing oil down onto his front disc.
Anyways the night did start off with the superpole races which would then go towards your gate pick for the elimination races. The racers went off one at a time and for a while, it was American Kyle Chisholm, who had been steadily improving all weekend and in fact was tied for the overall with Barcia and French rider Cedric Soubeyras for the King of Bercy title going into this day.
So Chisholm had put in a fast lap and it stood for awhile, actually until the very last rider went out which was last night's winner and Frenchman Gergory Aranda. Aranda ended up just squeeking by Chisholm and definitely without the first night collision with Grant Langston, Aranda would have been right in there for the overall championship. As it was Aranda was the superpole champion taking two of the three nights.
In the elimination races is where things got a little nuts. Justin Barcia won the first one handily and when the gate dropped for the second one, French rider Cyrille Coulon shot out into the lead with Barcia in-tow. The riders got together early on in the race with Barcia cutting across a turn in an attempt to block pass Coulon. That didn't exactly work and the two riders raced out of the stadium and into the tunnels full-bore. Barcia was on the outside going into a left hander and again they tangled with Barcia going down.
This mix-up let Chisholm get out into the lead and he would win the second of three elimin races. In the back Barcia again tangled with yet another Frenchman named Fabian Izoird. It got so bad between them that at one point they were stopped in the middle of the track flipping each other off! The crowd rained down boos at the 18-year old Barcia and just like that, he went from darling wonderchild to most hated man in France at the moment. Thankfully for his sanity, he was out of the cutthroat elim races.
When the third race took off, Coulon got the start and held on for the win with Chisholm close behind. There was a small chance that the American could've got aggressive with Coulon but as he reminded me later, he saw what happened to Barcia and figured he might need the friends going into the 15-lap main event which counted for all the marbles.
Due to his finish in the elimination races, Barcia was not able to secure the inside gate that was the hot ticket most of the weekend and would have the sixth pick from the inside instead. The card went up and when the riders roared into the first turn, it was the #17 Honda out front. Justin Barcia had gotten the start he needed, when he needed it the most. Chisholm was in fourth early and sliced through the pack real quick-like to get to second. The showdown was set, one of these two Americans was going to be the King with Soubeyras not having a great night and in the back.
Early on the gap was over three seconds but Chisholm whittled it down to just over one when Barcia decided to wick it up and pull back out. The two riders stayed the same throughout the rest of the race, even through the lappers. They both chose to do the same rhythms and carried the same amount of speed into the whoops. It was just a question of if the mouse (Barcia) was going to crack and let the cat (Chisholm) catch him.
But it was not to be for Kyle as Justin Barcia rode a solid and fast fifteen and captured the King of Bercy with his win. He truly was the fastest rider throughout the weekend and it seemed that only mistakes on his part could derail him. When it looked to be the hardest for him, he pulled through with the start and with that, Barcia joins legends like Johnson, Bayle, McGrath, Vuillemin and Langston in taking home the King of Bercy title. See you next year!
Results Night 3
1-Justin Barcia, Honda
2-Kyle Chisholm, Yamaha
3-Cyrille Coulon, Suzuki
4- Antonio Cairoli, KTM
5- Arnaud Tonus, Suzuki
6- Cedric Soubeyras, KTM
7- Gauthier Paulin, Yamaha
8- Blake Wharton, Honda
9- Greg Aranda, Kawasaki
10- Fabien Izoird, Suzuki
11- Degli Esposti David, Suzuki
12- Ken De Dycker, Honda
King of Bercy Results
7- Gauthier Paulin
9- Fabien Izoird
10- Ryan Morais