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WMXGermanyAugust 29, 2004
2004 FIM Motocross World Championship Round 14
Grand Prix of Europe, Gaildorf, Germany

Pichon spoils Everts party hopes by grabbing 5th MX1 victory

Tiscali Martin Honda rider Mickael Pichon notched his 33rd career victory and fifth of the season at Gaildorf this afternoon for the Grand Prix of Europe, round fourteen of sixteen in the FIM MX1 Motocross World Championships. Josh Coppins' third place earned another podium double for Honda.

Mickael Pichon (Honda)

Mickael Pichon (Honda)

In front of 18,000 fans at the fast and naturally sprawled circuit in southern Germany, the Frenchman was on top form to banish the painful memories of twelve months ago when he crashed during warm-up for the 2003 event and snapped two knee ligaments in his left knee. The 28 year old from Le Mans went 2-1 in the two 35 minute and 2 lap motos to stop Yamaha’s Stefan Everts from celebrating his eighth World Championship. Under cloudier and cooler conditions than Saturday’s qualifying and practice – where Pichon claimed his 12th pole position of the campaign – the track was a rough, slippery and physical test thanks to infrequent showers during the night and throughout the day. Pichon led the first moto until a slip on lap four let Everts through to the front and eventually the win, the Honda rider recovering quickly from 3rd to 2nd. The races were largely uneventful and Pichon dashed away undisturbed from Everts after hole shotting the second moto to triumph by over 28 seconds.

CAS Honda rider and new British Champion Josh Coppins rounded off two fairly lonely 3rd position performances to climb the lower step of the podium.

Everts now heads the Championship table from Pichon by 93 points with only 100 left to win.

After some decent results of late Yoshitaka Atsuta had a difficult weekend. The former Japanese Champion and CAS Honda rider struggled on the demanding track and crashed twice in the first moto, retiring after finally rejoining the field far behind the pack. In the second race he pushed his way up to 11th and collected an overall placing of 17th.

Atsuta’s team-mate former GP winner Gordon Crockard did not enjoy better fortunes in his first Grand Prix of 2004. The Irishman, back in action after five months recovering from an operation on a broken knee ligament, had to pull into the pits during race one with a broken front wheel and could not complete the moto. The 25 year old was able to see the World Championship chequered flag in race 2 with a solid ride to 14th.

Tiscali Honda rider Brian Jorgensen was again forced to watch from the sidelines as a knee infection, picked up while training this week, prevented the Dane and German Grand Prix winner from participating.

The MX2 class was won by Kawasaki’s Mickael Maschio with KTM’s Ben Townley having to re-cork his World Championship champagne after two falls in the first moto led to his sixth DNF of the season and closest rival Tyla Rattray scoring points with 7th place. The New Zealander managed to dominate the second race and now only need four points from a remaining possible total of 100 to clinch his first title.

It was a miserable day for Honda with CAS team member Jussi Vehvilainen, taking results of 19th and 9th to score 15th overall, as the highest placed rider. RTT Honda man Carl Nunn crashed heavily in warm-up and was taken to hospital for x-rays on his neck as a precaution. The 25 year old was released with minor whiplash but was advised not to enter the races for which he had qualified in 8th. Nunn is still Honda’s lead rider in the MX2 World Championship standings with 8th position.

The penultimate round of the series takes place in two weeks time at Ballykelly in Northern Ireland for the Grand Prix of Ireland.

Josh Coppins (Honda)

Yoshitaka Atsuta (Honda)

Mickael Pichon:
“Changing the settings on the bike before the second moto was the vital part of the weekend because I was struggling in the first race. I felt nervous and under pressure, I’m not sure why. I was pushing hard in the first part of the race but made a small mistake and went down. From that I was in second and six or seven seconds behind Stefan. I tried really hard to catch him and not riding like I normally do, I was making a lot of mistakes. I was more relaxed in the second moto, like in Namur, and was able to find some better lines. We changed the suspension because it was too soft and there was a big improvement. The track was tricky both physically and technically but I found some great lines. I had a lot of fun in the second moto and it was great to win again. The Championship is almost gone but I want to keep on winning races.”

Josh Coppins:
“It was a difficult day. The starts were not that bad but I had to pass some riders to get up to third. In the first heat Stefan and Mickael were already quite far ahead and it was a boring race for me because there was no-one to catch in front and no-one chasing close from behind. In the second race I was closer to Stefan but I felt tired because this track was tough for me physically. The track was bumpy everywhere and there were no places to rest. It was technical with some tough landings from the jumps. To finish 3rd twice was not so bad.”

Yoshitaka Atsuta:
“I had a good start in race one but Seguy crashed and I hit him, I slipped but picked up and carried on going. Someone then crashed in front of me and I went down again. I could not restart the engine, I was kicking what felt like 100 times and then Stefan went past me and I was so far behind that I stopped. In the second moto I started well again but had some traction problems and lost positions. I tried to be smooth after that first lap and come back as best I could.”

Gordon Crockard:
“I wasn’t looking forward to this track because I don’t have a great record here but the weekend was OK. I was very nervous yesterday in the qualifying. I had to take my time and find my way while also taking care with my knee so qualifying was pretty bad. I was going steady and pacing myself so I knew I would not be among the fastest. The 30 minute qualifying was rushed for me and I didn’t enjoy it. My place in the gate was not good mainly for this reason. In the first race I collided with another rider and his foot peg ripped six spokes off my front wheel, it was totally destroyed and I could not continue. For the second race I was curious about the track because I hadn’t ridden it. My start was OK until I got into the second corner and there was a bit of a punch-up but I came through that and took my time. For the first ten minutes I was riding stiff and not really going anywhere but once I got past one rider I had some clear track and was able to find some lines that I was comfortable with. I was happy enough and didn’t want to do anything daft to jeopardise my knee; finishing two races was my goal and I managed one. It can only get better.”

Jussi Vehvilainen:
“I went down twice on the first lap of the first moto and the second one was pretty heavy. It took a lot of kicks to get the bike started and I was far behind so there was not much I could do for the rest of the race, I was riding for practice. The start of the second moto was better but the track was very slippery and I was taking some wide lines and using the berms to get some grip. When it dried up I was riding a little faster but started to get tired towards the end. The results in this class can be very up and down, Namur was great for me but I am still coming back to my real speed.”

2004 FIM Motocross World Championship Round 14
Grand Prix of Europe, Gaildorf, Germany


MX1 - Race 1 Result

2 PICHON Mickael (Honda)
3 COPPINS Joshua (Honda)
4 MEO Antoine (KAWASAKI)
8 DE DIJCKER Ken (Honda)
10 NOBLE James (Honda)
13 FREIBERGS Lauris (Honda)
14 KOVALAINEN Marko (Honda)
15 DINI Fabrizio (KTM)
MX1 - Race 2 Result
1 PICHON Mickael (Honda)
3 COPPINS Joshua (Honda)
5 RAMON Steve (KTM)
9 NOBLE James (Honda)
10 FREIBERGS Lauris (Honda)
11 ATSUTA Yoshitaka (Honda)
12 PYRHONEN Antti (TM)
13 KOVALAINEN Marko (Honda)
14 CROCKARD Gordon (Honda)
15 ODDENINO Enrico (TM)

Mickael Pichon (Honda)

Related Links

· WMX - FIM Motocross World Championship
· Germany

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