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WMXSpainMarch 28, 2004
2004 FIM Motocross World Championship Round 2
Grand Prix of Spain, Bellpuig, Spain

Everts clinches first overall win with double brace in Spain while Coppins seals second consecutive podium

World Champion Stefan Everts triumphed in both MX1 motos today at Bellpuig for the Grand Prix of Spain, round two of the FIM World Championships. The 31 year old mastered the changing weather and terrain to place his works Yamaha on top of the podium. CAS Honda rider Josh Coppins clinched second place overall for his successive top three result in one week.

The first motos of the MX1 and MX2 classifications were held in boggy and extremely difficult conditions this afternoon before the belated Spanish sun arrived and dried the course. The racing was very much restricted to a lottery in the early events as the waterlogged mud (after a day of continuous rain on Saturday) forced a 35 minute and 2 lap endurance test in which remaining on two wheels was something of an achievement. The temperatures picked up by the second half of the program and the track hardened forcing a different strategy and one whereby Everts was able to prove his credentials and capability. Coppins, who still has a slight limp from the serious back and ankle injury sustained at the start of 2003, completed a solid day’s work to score 2nd and 3rd and his second spray of champagne this season.

Tiscali Honda rider Mickael Pichon had taken pole position in the sodden state of affairs yesterday and was a pre-race favourite in the muddy conditions that the French number one admits he particularly savours. Nevertheless a poor start followed by submerging his 450 in a deep oozing rut from where he could not budge, meant he was forced to trudge back to the pits after only one lap.

He fared little better in Moto 2 as the gate sprung back at his Honda 450f four stroke machine preventing a clean exit. The former double World Champ fought back to 7th but was far from happy with the day’s events at a venue where he had won for the last three years. His team-mate Brian Jorgensen enjoyed something of a reversal of fortune as the Dane was among the leaders entering the first corner on both occasions; taking the hole shot during the last race of the day. A slip in the whoops dropped him out of the lead in Moto1 and an technical problem put paid to his hopes of a top three finish. The second moto was more positive and he picked up a very creditable second position, three and a half seconds behind Everts. His points haul from just one race meant that he left the circuit with 7th place overall.

Yoshitaka Atsuta was 15th in the slime of moto 1 and was lapped in second event bringing the bike home 23rd, the Japanese rider had his front wheel knocked from beneath him with 200 metres of the start and he struggled to get back into the race but rode on desperate to salvage even a single point.

The MX2 class bore the brunt of the Bellpuig mess by going out into the swamp first and this claimed the efforts of RTT Honda rider Carl Nunn as a crash broke the clutch on his 250F. RWJ representative Jamie Dobb made the most of an average start and used his experience to weather the storm and cross the line in eighth. Jeff Dement was 18th. In the second race technical problems with the gearbox dropped Dobb from 9th to a final placing of 12th, while Nunn was more at home in the dry and managed a decent 8th place.

The MX2 overall was won by KTM’s South African rider Tyla Rattray (on a 125cc two-stroke) with Yamaha’s Andrew McFarlane second and Kawasaki’s Stephen Sword third. In terms of the Championship standings before the GP circus travels west to Portugal in a few days time, Dobb is the highest MX2 rider in 8th, while Coppins is second in MX1 and trailing Everts by four points.

CAS Honda men Gordon Crockard and Jussi Vehvilainen missed out through injury.

Josh Coppins
"Usually the races at the start of the year are not so good for me and to be honest I did not have so much confidence for Zolder. Now I am feeling great and more confident especially after today. The rain is the same for everyone, you just have to go out there and try to enjoy it. My starts were not too bad but I still must improve; in fact all the areas must improve with both my bike and I, but we are going in a good direction."

Brian Jorgensen
"I have been having problems with my left wrist and after 15 minutes my hand usually goes to sleep. This made riding hard in Zolder but I have been having some massage and work done to my shoulder from where it is originating to try and sort it out. My qualifying was good and I had some bad luck with people crashing in front of me when I was trying for a fast time. The weather was bad but there is little point being negative, you should just try to and do you best in the conditions. I had an unbelievable start in the first moto and then got a little tired after ten minutes. Strijbos passed me after the little crash in the whoops. Later on the bike lost all it’s oil and just stopped on me; that was annoying because I had been playing with the Honda and trying to ride smooth. In the second race I had to use my second machine that has a different gearbox so it was like riding a different bike. I tried to use the same lines from the first race but was struggling a little because I was tense not having ridden so much earlier on. Once I was able to figure out where I was going wrong I took three or four laps breather to reset the brain and go again. Passing the lapped riders was tricky and Coppins was catching me but it was hard to keep switching lines. I may need an operation now, which is nothing serious, but first we are looking at what I can do with my shoulder before Portugal."

Mickael Pichon
"It was a tough weekend. I was not so lucky and I was expecting much better. In the first moto I totally missed the start. I then had to take off my goggles to try and find the lines. I got stuck in a rut and couldn't move anywhere, I tried to get the bike out but it was stuck fast, I could do nothing but walk away in frustration. For the second race I got a good jump but the gate popped up at me and I rammed it. I could not believe my luck and I was riding around feeling quite sad with all that had happened; I found it difficult to accept after the first race. It was hard to pass out there and I had no choice but to follow some other riders to see their lines. When I had got up to seventh everybody had gone. The only positive from the weekend is in the last ten minutes, according to the times, I was the fastest rider on the track, the problem was that Gundersen was also really quick in front of me so I could not catch him."

Roger Harvey, Honda Race Co-ordinator
"This weekend was not too bad and I’m quite happy. With Josh everything is going to plan and we want to be hitting that kind of form and results consistently. Pichon obviously chose the wrong rut in the first race and had some bad luck in the second, but he showed his speed. Jorgensen was very strong and very quick and we will have to see about an operation on his wrist after Portugal. In MX2 we need to be doing better. Dobbie had a bike problem and started to go backwards while Nunn in the second moto produced more of the kind of results we want to see."
2004 FIM Motocross World Championship Round 2
Grand Prix of Spain, Bellpuig, Spain


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MX1 - Race Result
1 EVERTS Stefan (YAMAHA)
2 COPPINS Joshua (Honda)
3 STRIJBOS Kevin (SUZUKI)
4 GUNDERSEN Kenneth (KTM)
5 GARCIA VICA Javier (Honda)
6 DE DIJCKER Ken (Honda)
7 RAMON Steve (KTM)
8 LEOK Tanel (SUZUKI)
9 SMETS Joel (SUZUKI)
10 MELOTTE Cedricn (YAMAHA)
11 FREIBERGS Lauris (Honda)
12 NOBLE James (Honda)
13 HUCKLEBRIDGE Mark (KTM)
14 MARTIN Christophe (YAMAHA)
15 ATSUTA Yoshitaka (Honda)

MX1 - Race Result
1 EVERTS Stefan (YAMAHA)
2 JORGENSEN Brian (Honda)
3 COPPINS Joshua (Honda)
4 SMETS Joel (SUZUKI)
5 GARCIA VICA Javier (Honda)
6 GUNDERSEN Kenneth (KTM)
7 PICHON Mickael (Honda)
8 BERVOETS Marnicq (YAMAHA)
9 RAMON Steve (KTM)
10 MELOTTE Cedric (YAMAHA)
11 COOPER Paul (Honda)
12 LEOK Tanel (SUZUKI)
13 FREIBERGS Lauris (Honda)
14 DE DIJCKER Ken (Honda)
15 BURNHAM Christian (KTM)

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