Sorby To Sit Out Washougal

French rider accepts disciplinary action handed down by team

CORONA, Calif. (July 24, 2003)_Team Pro Circuit/Kawasaki/Chevy Trucks has announced that Eric Sorby will not compete in this weekend’s Chevy Trucks U.S. Motocross Championship race at Washougal, Wash. The team cited disciplinary measures that stem from recent actions on the track.

Sorby has been one of the top contenders in this summer’s outdoor motocross series after strongly contesting the Western Region 125 Supercross series earlier this year. At 24-years-old, he hasn’t had much experience riding at this level in the U.S. and has shown inexperience at times, as evidenced this past week with a disqualification by AMA officials for illegally cutting the track.

Sorby, who hails from Marseille, France, has been one of the sport’s rising stars since his emergence on the U.S. scene back in March of 2002 and is someone Team Pro Circuit/Kawasaki/Chevy Trucks sees can play an integral role in the team’s future.

“We believe that Eric has the ability to compete at this level and win some races,” explained Mitch Payton, owner of Pro Circuit, Inc. of Corona Calif., who also oversees Team Pro Circuit/Kawasaki/Chevy Trucks. “He has a lot of talent and determination out on the track. He works hard and wants to do well in the U.S., its just sometimes we feel he gets going a little too quickly out on the track which in turn causes some poor decisions.

“We want Eric to take a step back and reassess his approach to racing. Pro Circuit, Kawasaki and the rest of our sponsors fully support his efforts and realize that he is very close to being on the top of the podium.”

Sorby sat down with Payton and Kawasaki’s professional motocross team manager Mark Johnson this week and agreed that taking a short break would be a positive move. That type of support has left a lasting impression on the young Frenchman.

“I wanted very badly to race over here in the U.S.,” said Sorby, who had previously raced in France since the age of 5. “Sometimes out on the track I may get a little too anxious or want to win too much. But I want to do the right thing and win races the right way.

“I feel a lot of support from Pro Circuit and the team. They were the ones that gave me the chance. Kawasaki is also a great place and a very good bike for me. I think the time off will be good for me to get my head straight and focus on riding to the best of my ability.”

Sorby’s “chance” came at the beginning of the 2002 season when friend and fellow countryman David Vuillemin recommended Sorby to Pro Circuit owner Mitch Payton. Sorby filled in for an injured rider and performed well, finishing third at his inaugural 125 race at the Houston Supercross. He would later finish out the season for the team and earned a permanent spot on this season’s roster.

“Eric has a big heart and is very well liked on the team and in the pits,” said Johnson. “Talent-wise, he definitely belongs on the track. He just needs to be a little better in his decision making.”

The Chevy Trucks U.S. Motocross Championship series visits Washougal, Wash., this weekend and will take a two-week break before resuming on August 17 in Millville, Minn., where Sorby is slated to make his return.