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WMXU.K.May 30, 2004
2004 FIM Motocross World Championship Round 7
Grand Prix of Britain – Arreton, Isle of Wight

Honda’s Josh Coppins Takes Emotional Debut Victory

It was a triumphant homecoming for the CAS Honda team at Arreton this afternoon for the first British Grand Prix since 2000. Josh Coppins scored moto results of 2nd and 1st to claim his first ever World Championship success in front of 23,000 boisterous fans lapping up the sunshine on the Isle of Wight.



Josh Coppins & Mickael Pichon

The Arreton circuit, praised from all corners of the paddock for the technical and spectacular offering, proved to be a strong course for the 450 as Honda took their second win of the 2004 MX1 season and their first one-two slot on the podium after Tiscali Honda rider Mickael Pichon also grabbed a 1-2 moto finish to secure second place.

The racing was nothing short of sensational. In both 35 minute and two lap motos Pichon and Coppins pulled away from the chasing pack consisting of KTM’s Steve Ramon (third in the first race) and Yamaha’s Stefan Everts (taking the lower step on the rostrum thanks to Ramon’s second moto crash). Pichon held the upper hand in the first chase but showed some side effects of the shoulder injury he sustained at Teutschenthal several weeks ago by looking more vulnerable in the latter event. Coppins could smell his first Grand Prix win and set about the back of the Frenchman with envy. A few mistakes and Pichon relented the lead. Coppins should have pulled away to a comfortable margin but the former World Champion rallied and closed the gap. Approaching the last two laps the riders, and ex-Suzuki team-mates, were wheel-to-wheel thrilling the crowd but Coppins held the advantage to the chequered flag and took the overall champagne celebration courtesy of his second moto triumph.

Cue jubilation and well-deserved praise for the New Zealander who narrowed the deficit to Pichon in the World Championship standings down to six points with the former currently holding third; 76 points away from series leader Everts, who this afternoon admitted to having an “off-day”.

Yoshitaka Atsuta was able to score points in the first moto but was in pain due to a shoulder sprain he picked up in timed practice yesterday. The Japanese rider fell again in the second moto and damaged the bike prompting a swift DNF and only 18th place overall.

Brian Jorgensen was only able to walk away from the Island with 8th spot in the second moto after a crash in the opening race etched a zero on his points sheet

In the MX2 category Ben Townley and the KTM 250 four-stroke were unstoppable once more and the 19 year old bagged another double moto haul of 25 points. Close friend and team-mate Tyla Rattray finished runner-up for the second consecutive GP with Kawasaki’s Stephen Sword giving the partisan crowd something to celebrate with third. The trio are proving to be the major force in this class and are separated by only 54 points in the World Championship standings.

Akira Narita made an impressive GP debut on a one-off outing for the CAS squad on the 250F, walking away as top Honda man in fifth. The Japanese ace collected a 9th and 4th and was fighting with Townley and Rattray at the start of the first moto.

Carl Nunn finished 7th overall for the RTT Honda team and could have been higher if a small crash in the formative stages of Moto2 while fourth hadn’t dropped him down the top ten by several positions. RWJ’s Jamie Dobb did not finish as high as he would have liked in front of his home crowd and boarded the ferry having taken 9th. The 32 year old is Honda’s top rider in the MX2 class with 7th in the points table but is currently tied with and under pressure from countryman Nunn.

CAS Honda rider Gordon Crockard was in attendance at his home GP and took part in a press conference Saturday evening for the top British riders. The Irishman, who earlier in the season remarked that he hoped to return from a complete knee reconstruction for the Grand Prix of Ireland, is taking his time to fully recovery from the serious injury before attempting a World Championship comeback. He was able to report that the rehabilitation process is making good progress.

Round eight takes place next weekend at St Jean d’Angely for the Grand Prix of France.

Josh Coppins
"I don’t really know what to say. It has taken so long and has been too long. I have been close before and I have had more ‘seconds’ than I can remember; I’m so happy to have finally taken first. I did not feel so good in the first few laps of the second moto but I concentrated on riding my own race and it bought me up to second place. I saw that Mickael had some good lines but I was riding very easily and was able to make a pass. Five laps from the end I started to feel a little tired so focussed on making a smooth race. I made one mistake near the pits and he was able to draw close but right near the end I concentrated and carried it to the flag."

Mickael Pichon
"I have only ridden twice in the last two weeks so I knew today was not going to be easy I had to rest my shoulder and cycling and running is not substitute for actually getting on the bike. It was a good track here but the conditions were difficult because it was so rough. I am happy with second place because I know I tried my hardest to win. I was following Josh and could catch him again after he passed me in the second moto. In the last few laps I tried to push but he did not make a mistake whereas I did on the last lap. I took 47 points today for the Championship, which was good and it was also a big positive mentally to be back on the podium. I’m glad we put on a good show for the fans and the TV. Josh was going so fast and I was really surprised."

Yoshitaka Atsuta
"Saturday was going well until I crashed and hurt my left shoulder. Qualifying was then hard, not so much for the pain but I could not hold onto the bike with any strength. The first moto was OK and 12th was not so bad. I started really well in the second and was in about 5th or 6th and was trying for some fast laps. I tried to push forward but it was hard and then I crashed and could not start the bike. The disappointing part of the weekend was Saturday and the crash because I was feeling good on the bike and could have gone well."

Akira Narita
"The GP was good for me. Sometimes it was difficult but I was able to score points. The bike was nice and allowed me to be right with the top three for a while. It was tiring because I have travelled to the US and Japan in the last few weeks but I liked the GP very much."

Carl Nunn
"I got a really good start in the second race but a couple of guys rammed me and then we got mixed up on the second turn. I came out of it OK and got up to fourth before making a stupid mistake. I went into the corner too hard, squared it off too much and the front wheel dug in and down I went. I lost quite a few positions but it was early in the race. The red mist came down and I regained some ground. There was quite a big gap to Maschio and I never thought I could catch him but I closed quite a lot towards the end and I wished I had pushed sooner."

2004 FIM Motocross World Championship Round 7
Grand Prix of Britain – Arreton, Isle of Wight


line

MX1 - Race 1 Result
1 PICHON Mickael (Honda)
2 COPPINS Joshua (Honda)
3 RAMON Steve (KTM)
4 EVERTS Stefan (YAMAHA)
5 LEOK Tanel (SUZUKI)
6 MELOTTE Cedric (YAMAHA)
7 BERVOETS Marnicq (YAMAHA)
8 DE DIJCKER Ken (Honda)
9 KOVALAINEN Marko (Honda)
10 SEGUY Luigi (YAMAHA)
11 NOBLE James (Honda)
12 ATSUTA Yoshitaka (Honda)
13 BURNHAM Christian (KTM)
14 MEO Antoine (KAWASAKI)
15 SMETS Joel (SUZUKI)

MX1 - Race 2 Result
1 COPPINS Joshua (Honda)
2 PICHON Mickael (Honda)
3 EVERTS Stefan (YAMAHA)
4 STRIJBOS Kevin (SUZUKI)
5 LEOK Tanel (SUZUKI)
6 SMETS Joel (SUZUKI)
7 DE DIJCKER Ken (Honda)
8 JORGENSEN Brian (Honda)
9 BERVOETS Marnicq (YAMAHA)
10 SEGUY Luigi (YAMAHA)
11 NOBLE James (Honda)
12 RAMON Steve (KTM)
13 FLOCKHART Stuart (Honda)
14 ODDENINO Enrico (TM)
15 ROSE Jordan (YAMAHA)

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