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WMXItaliaJune 27, 2004
2004 FIM Motocross World Championship Round 10
Grand Prix of Belgium: Neeroeteren

Second win of the season for Pichon while Dement takes MX2 podium

Tiscali Honda rider Mickael Pichon scored his second MX1 victory of the season this afternoon at a sunny and breezy Neeroeteren circuit for the Grand Prix of Belgium, round ten of sixteen in the 2004 Motocross World Championships. American rider Jeff Dement was able to give Honda their first podium with the CRF250 in the MX2 contest.

Pichon Mickael (Honda)

Pichon Mickael (Honda)

Former double World Champ and the most successful Frenchman in the history of MX Grand Prix racing, Pichon was particularly strong on the dry, stony and slippery Belgian terrain, taking moto results of 1st and 2nd to earn his champagne ahead of Stefan Everts and KTM’s Steve Ramon.

Pichon started both races strongly on the CRF450R and was always among the first three riders. He overtook team-mate Brian Jorgensen two laps into the opening race and was coming under early pressure from Stefan Everts.

The World Champion and Yamaha rider crashed on lap five after stalling his bike and had many trying to guess the last occasion the seven times number one had committed such an error. The fall allowed Pichon to escape undisturbed and Jorgensen to move through to second, a comfortable distance ahead of Suzuki’s Kevin Strijbos in third. The first MX1 moto finished with the pleasing site of a Tiscali 1-2 for the Italian team.

Everts recovered his mettle in the next race and although Pichon was able to shadow the popular local favorite, a faultless performance from the Belgian meant that the Frenchman was unable to obtain a perfect 1-1 scorecard. 2nd place was sufficient though and the overall trophy was forthcoming.

CAS Honda’s Josh Coppins was tantalisingly close to the top three and suffered with some erratic spells of speed in the first moto of 35 minutes and 2 laps duration. He managed to rise from 6th to 4th thanks to the somewhat rare sight of both L&M factory Yamaha riders Everts and Cedric Melotte hitting the dirt. While Everts essentially lost the GP due to his mistake a more serious consequence was in store for Melotte who remained motionless on the track for over 15 minutes and was eventually taken to hospital with a badly dislocated hip. In the second race the New Zealander was able to pass Strijbos on the factory Suzuki but endured a fairly lonely ride on what was becoming a very rough and technical circuit. His second 4th position of the day meant that he tied on points with Belgians Ramon and Strijbos and ended up with the ranking dictated by the last moto.

Jorgensen could not start as well in the second moto and was holding sixth in the early stages but had to surrender to the pace of Kevin Strijbos, Luigi Seguy and Tanel Leok. His final placing of 8th gave him a creditable 6th overall as the Dane continues his race rehabilitation from the shoulder he dislocated at Lichtenvoorde for the Grand Prix of Benelux (round six).

Yoshitaka Atsuta could not sustain his recent positive run of results mainly thanks to a crash on the third lap of 18 in the first moto that aggravated the Japanese ace’s troublesome left shoulder. ‘Yoshi’ felt some discomfort due to the spill in the second race and this meant that he could rise no higher than 20th, taking away a solitary point for his efforts.

Pichon still lies 102 points behind Everts in the Championship with Coppins in third and trailing his Honda compatriot by just 4 points.

SRS Honda rider Jeff Dement somewhat surprisingly gave Honda their first podium trophy in the MX2 category. Dement, who has recovered from two season-wrecking injuries in the last three years, has not previously touched the top five this season but was a powerful and consistent force of speed on the dry Belgian mud this weekend. He was a constant presence inside the top five after two decent starts and his 4th and 3rd positions granted him his first piece of silverware for three and a half seasons.

The Grand Prix was an unlucky affair for two of the World Championship contenders. KTM’s Ben Townley dominated the first moto but an engine problem one lap into the second race curtailed his involvement and forced a DNF. Kawasaki’s Stephen Sword also was the victim of some mechanical gremlins, causing him to crash in the first race and retire in the second.

KTM’s Tyla Rattray won the Grand Prix after Mickael Maschio crashed while leading on the last lap and gave a superior points total to the young South African, who has now stabilized his second spot in the standings behind his team-mate. Maschio was second ahead of Dement.

RWJ Honda representative Jamie Dobb took a solid 9th in the first moto after a three week lay-off due to an injured hand although a crash in the second race dropped him just out of the points. RTT Honda’s Carl Nunn finished behind Dobb in Moto1 but also fell later in the day and rounded off the worse meeting of the year for the new British set-up.

The eleventh round of the World Championships occurs in just seven days time at Uddevalla for the Grand Prix of Sweden.

Coppins Joshua (Honda)

Jorgensen Brian (Honda)

Mickael Pichon:
“It has not been an easy time trying to chase a win after Portugal. This victory gives a really good feeling because we have worked hard in the team. We expected more results like this but since Teutschenthal it has been a difficult coming back from the injury. I have been trying to do my best all the time, working on my riding and on the bike and we have been getting closer and closer to Stefan. I am so happy to win here today, not because we are in Belgium but because at last we have another victory and it feels great. The track was really tricky because there were many lines and it was easy to make an error. I pushed hard at the start of the first race to pass Stefan and get in front. He then made a mistake and I knew that I just had to stay on two wheels and I would win the race. In the second moto my jump from the gate was good but Strijbos came up fast on the inside and pushed everybody out. I had to cut inside on the first turn and I wasn’t so close to the front. Once again though I had a very good first lap and quickly got up behind Stefan when he took the lead. From that point I tried to stay with him and at a few stages I was very near and ready to pass but he had a little bit more speed at some places. At the end with four laps to go it become more difficult to stay with him and I backed off to make sure of winning the GP.”

Josh Coppins:
“I had a good start in the first race but rode badly in the first few laps. I have had a few suspension problems this weekend with the bike feeling too hard so we changed the settings after the warm-up trying to sort it out and I did not really know what the bike was going to do. Things were better in the middle of the race and I caught up to the others passing Steve to finish fourth which was pretty good; the best I could do. In the second heat I started well again but had a couple of weak opening laps. I overtook Strijbos this time and felt tired towards the end of the race. I did not ride well yesterday and perhaps tried too much because I was even a bit tired after warm-up this morning. It was physically tough out there but it was a nice enough track. I am happy enough with the points because it means that I have stayed close to Mickael.”

Brian Jorgensen:
“I ride using a lot of strength and power and I know that my race condition still needs to be better if I want to run with the guys at the front. I wanted a good start and it worked today but I could not keep with Stefan or Mickael. In the first race I tried so hard and I think this made me pretty tired for the second because I felt like I didn’t have much energy. My shoulder and wrist is getting better all the time and soon I will get to a point where I can take the holeshot and make a race for the lead.”

Yoshitaka Atsuta:
“It was a bad weekend. The track was very slippery but my riding was pretty good until the third lap of the first race when I hit neutral in the whoops and crashed on my left shoulder again. I thought I might be able to ride in the second moto but it was not easy at all. I got a great start and was third in the first corner but could not run at a good pace. Things have been getting better since the Isle of Wight but only one point today.”

Jeff Dement:
“It has been a while! My last podium was in 2000 at Croatia so I am happy to be back. I missed a full season in 2001 when I broke my back and that put me out for eight months. In 2002 I came back and we finished 8th at the end of the year but it was a season of re-building. In 2003 I had another injury and missed all the GPs. So it has been hard in 2004 but things are slowly starting to work. I only needed one more pass to win the GP today so I am both a little disappointed but happy to be back on the podium.”

2004 FIM Motocross World Championship Round 10
Grand Prix of Belgium: Neeroeteren


MX1 - Race 1 Result

1 PICHON Mickael (Honda)
2 JORGENSEN Brian (Honda)
4 COPPINS Joshua (Honda)
5 RAMON Steve (KTM)
8 Seguy Luigi (YAMAHA)
10 FREIBERGS Lauris (Honda)
11 BURNHAM Christian (KTM)
12 KOVALAINEN Marko (Honda)
14 BILL Julien (KTM)

Pichon Mickael (Honda)
MX1 - Race 2 Result
2 PICHON Mickael (Honda)
3 RAMON Steve (KTM)
4 COPPINS Joshua (Honda)
6 Seguy Luigi (YAMAHA)
8 JORGENSEN Brian (Honda)
9 DE DIJCKER Ken (Honda)
10 BILL Julien (KTM)
11 NOBLE James (Honda)
14 FREIBERGS Lauris (Honda)
15 BURNHAM Christian (KTM)

Pichon Mickael (Honda)

Related Links

· WMX - FIM Motocross World Championship
· Belgium

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