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WMXNetherlandsMay 16, 2004
2004 FIM Motocross World Championship Round 6
Grand Prix of Benelux – Lichtenvoorde, Holland

Hard day for Honda in Holland as Everts takes 3rd overall

Stefan Everts claimed his third winners trophy of the 2004 MX1 campaign at Lichtenvoorde today for the Grand Prix of the Benelux, round six of sixteen in the FIM Motocross World Championships.

The factory Yamaha rider won both 35 minute and 2 lap motos to extend his lead in the title chase. It was a difficult day for Honda with the Tiscali Honda duo affected by injury and Josh Coppins not enjoying one of his better outings for the CAS squad. Still, two 450Fs Honda’s were present within the top five.

Double winner of the German Grand Prix, Brian Jorgensen was ruled out of action yesterday after free practice when a crash and subsequent dislocated shoulder left the Dane contemplating an uphill weekend with the risk of further damage or sitting out the races with a view to a recovery for the British Grand Prix in two weeks time. Wisely he opted for the latter and Mickael Pichon was left to carry the baton for the Italian team.

Pichon managed to show his customary lightning pace for a single lap in timed practice yesterday and clinched the second fastest time. The 28 year old has not ridden since his heavy crash at Teutschenthal and still bears the effects of the smash to his neck and shoulders that temporarily left him unconscious.

The Frenchman gained a decent fourth position overall with results of 6th and 4th and was a constant presence among the front-runners even if he was at something of a handicap compared to his usual condition.

Josh Coppins was among the top group during the chrono and at one stage in-line for a top three berth until a flurry of position changes in the final seconds (that saw Suzuki’s Joel Smets earn his first pole of the season) meant that he had to be content with 7th spot. In the first moto he failed to find a rhythm in the slippery sand that was becoming rougher with every lap and claimed 7th. This was backed up by an improved 5th in the second race giving him the same status overall.

Yoshitaka Atsuta had a little bit of a difficult time getting to grips with the deepest sand track on the calendar and placed a lowly 20th after the 30 minute session on Saturday. This affected his starts and the Japanese ace was fighting outside the top ten for the duration of the races. 15th preceded a 13th in the final moto of the day despite a heavy crash for the CAS Honda rider.

Kevin Strijbos gained his first ever podium and Suzuki’s second of the season with third place behind Everts and then Cedric Melotte. Smets crashed five times in both races and retired from the second race.

Regarding the Championship table, Pichon currently lies fourth, just one point behind KTM’s Steve Ramon in third. Coppins is chasing his former team-mate, closely trailing by just six points.

In the MX2 class two different KTMs dominated proceedings. Ben Townley celebrated a double win on the 250cc four-stroke while Tyla Rattray followed him past the chequered flag twice in second position with the 125cc two-stroke. RTT Honda’s Carl Nunn was the highest placed rider on the 250F with 8th place overall (two top ten positions). Nunn currently lies ninth in a close Championship table with RWJ’s Jamie Dobb (12th today after a tricky second moto).

Mickael Pichon
"For me this is better than what I expected. Of course I like to have better results but after the crash at Teutschenthal I wasn’t even sure if I would be racing here this weekend. I hadn’t ridden for two weeks and took some painkillers today. I did not need an injection and my shoulder was not so bad. I suffered mainly with my condition. It was a rough track and very hard in the sand. It was more points for the Championship. The second heat was definitely more difficult, the shoulder was weak and I could not hold the bike so well. The first race was a long one! It was hard physically and I compensated with my technique and with my lines I had to be smooth. I felt that despite the fatigue my rhythm was better in the second moto. I am now one point behind Ramon and to take fourth away today is pretty great."

Josh Coppins
"The first race was terrible. I rode like crap; felt tense on the bike and could not relax. The second moto was good. I had a small crash and also stalled the bike but my speed was much better and I came through from those set-backs strongly. Taking the points for fifth today was OK but I have to ride better. The bike was very strong and we made some changes over the weekend. In keeping with how the day went generally, I missed the gate lift twice but the speed of the bike carried me into the first turn higher than I should have been."

Yoshitaka Atsuta
"Another hard day in the sand. I did not have a bad start but I stalled on the first lap and could not get comfortable enough during the race to push the bike. In the second moto I had an exciting battle with the guys and was able to carry more speed. I then had a big crash after losing the front and going over the bars. I hit my head and then just focussed on finishing the race. The second moto was quite enjoyable."

Brian Jorgensen
"I cannot believe my luck really; one week a double winner and now looking at another injury. This track is so slippery. Normally at most places you can let the bike run through the rut but I hit a bump and the front wheel dug-in before I could react and it threw me over the bars. The doctors told me that I shouldn’t ride while another opinion said it was possible but there was a chance that the shoulder could pop out again. If I was racing then I would be only able to fight for something like 15th. If I was leading the Championship then I might have tried it but chances of the title had gone after my wrist problem from a few races ago. I will take some time now to get as prepared as I can for Britain."

2004 FIM Motocross World Championship Round 6
Grand Prix of Benelux – Lichtenvoorde, Holland


MX1 - Race 1 Result
1 Everts Stefan (YAMAHA)
2 Ramon Steve (KTM)
3 Melotte Cedric (YAMAHA)
4 Strijbos Kevin (SUZUKI)
5 Smets Joel (SUZUKI)
6 Pichon Mickael (Honda)
7 Coppins Joshua (Honda)
8 Garcia Vica Javier (Honda)
9 Burnham Christian (KTM)
10 Leok Tanel (SUZUKI)
11 Freibergs Lauris (Honda)
12 Kovalainen Marko (Honda)
13 Theybers Danny (YAMAHA)
14 Pyrhinen Antti (SUZUKI)
15 Atsuta Yoshitaka (Honda)

MX1 - Race 2 Result
1 Everts Stefan (YAMAHA)
2 Melotte Cedric (YAMAHA)
3 Strijbos Kevin (SUZUKI)
4 Pichon Mickael (Honda)
5 Coppins Joshua (Honda)
6 Leok Tanel (SUZUKI)
7 Garcia Vica Javier (Honda)
8 Freibergs Lauris (Honda)
9 Burnham Christian (KTM)
10 DE Dijcker Ken (Honda)
11 Theybers Danny (YAMAHA)
12 Noble James (Honda)
13 Atsuta Yoshitaka (Honda)
14 Kovalainen Marko (Honda)
15 Pyrhonen Antti (SUZUKI)

Pichon Mickael (Honda)


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