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WMXAugust 10, 2003
World Motocross Championship, Round 9,
Venue ø Lierop, Holland

Podium For Coppins After Dutch Sand Battle

Honda mounted Joshua Coppins climbed to his first podium of the season with a hard fought 3rd position at the Dutch Motocross Grand Prix on Sunday, round nine of the twelve round series. Stefan Everts (Yamaha) bounced and slithered his way to his fourth double moto win in a row in front of 16,000 fans at the Lierop circuit west of Eindhoven. The Belgian was invincible in the bottomless sand and pulled away in both the Motocross GP and 125cc classes to take his sixth and fourth consecutive victories in the respective categories.

Race-day proceedings were delayed, even to the point of re-scheduling the opening 125cc moto from 11.00am to 4.00pm, as heavy fog rendered visibility around the circuit to less than 20 yards. By 11.30 the sun had burnt through the mist but warm-up had been shortened and the Motocross GP event now kicked off the race programme.

Josh Coppins grabbed the hole shot on the two-stroke Honda but was quickly overhauled by sand specialists Stefan Everts and Joel Smets (KTM). Everts went on to record his sixth consecutive race win with a faultless performance. The Belgian crossed the line by 32 seconds over Smets. SuzukiÕs Mickael Pichon had a GP to forget as he crashed twice and could only fight back to eventually take sixth. This left the final spot on the podium up for grabs and the contest was closely fought between CAS riders Coppins and Gordon Crockard.

Crockard looked the stronger bet and after Coppins slipped off the 250 exiting the whoops he had a significant cushion from which to enter the top three for only the second time this season. Bad luck was to strike again for the Irishman as the heavy cold he had been nursing from the middle of the week soon started to take its toll and he succumbed to CoppinsÕf second charge and, like his team-mate, also hit the Dutch sand. Crockard looked the picture of exhaustion as he continually tried to kick-start the four-stroke but simply did not have the energy with only two laps remaining. He later had to be carried into the medical centre with dehydration and had an X-ray on his wrist, which revealed some strained ligaments.

Coppins from New Zealand was free to collect the third place he has been striving towards all season since being seriously hurt in the winter months. His presence on the podium was only the second time Honda have climbed into the top three in 2003. Team mate, former Champion of Japan, Yoshitaka Atsuta sealed another good finish with 8th place coming back from a first lap position of 13th. The Japanese rider maintains his consistent points scoring and now also holds that standing in the Championship.

Paul Cooper, the reigning British Open Champion, on the Honda 250 kept his head and embarked on a solid 35 minute and two lap race distance to take seventh and his highest GP finish of the season. James Noble of the RWJ Honda squad beat Andrew McFarlane (Kawasaki) for ninth position and completed a set of four Hondas in the top ten.

A tough moto in the sweltering sunshine saw a number of riders fail to make the distance. Marnicq Bervoets was a first lap faller while KTMÕs Jamie Dobb had a big crash while third on lap two that saw the Briton taken to hospital with a badly dislocated shoulder. Brian Jorgensen, who also suffered a similar upper body injury yesterday, retired from the GP after three laps due to a problem with the wheel.

Everts heads the MXGP standings by 10 points from Smets and 12 points from Pichon, who has now slipped to third after topping the table for most of the season. Brian Jorgensen remains in fourth despite his DNF and is closely chased by Kenneth Gundersen only one point adrift. Honda have three riders in the top ten; Jorgensen, Atsuta (8th) and Crockard (10th).

World Motocross Championship, Round 9,
Venue ø Lierop, Holland

line
MXGP
1 Stefan Everts (Yamaha)
2 Joel Smets (KTM)
3 Joshua Coppins (Honda)
4 Kenneth Gundersen (Kawasaki)
5 Kevin Strijbos (Suzuki)
6 Mickael Pichon (Suzuki)
8 Yoshitaka Atsuta (Honda)
20 Gordon Crockard (Honda)
125cc
1 Stefan Everts (Yamaha)
2 Steve Ramon (KTM)
3 Erik Eggens (KTM)
4 Ben Townley (KTM)
5 Marvin Van Daele (KTM)
6 Tanel Leok (KTM)
WMX


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