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WMXIrelandSrptember 11, 2004
2004 FIM Motocross World Championship Round 15
Grand Prix of Ireland, Ballykelly

Honda claims another two steps of the podium

Tiscali Honda rider Mickael Pichon and CAS Honda representative Josh Coppins scaled the 2nd and 3rd steps of the MX1 podium for the Grand Prix of Ireland today. Yamaha’s Stefan Everts clinched his 79th career victory and also the MX1 title, his eighth crown. The penultimate round of the sixteen race Motocross World Championship occurred at the Ballykelly circuit under wintry conditions of rain, wind and cold and in front of 14,000 damp spectators.

Mickael Pichon (Honda)

Mickael Pichon (Honda)

The first moto provided some excellent entertainment as Pichon and Everts fought closely for the win. The Frenchman and Belgian took turns to lead before the Honda ace was able to prevail and secure the 25 points entering the second half of the last lap. Everts’ second position was sufficient for the title celebrations to begin. The second moto gave the Yamaha man a perfect enduring memory of 2004 when he was able to fend off the threat of Pichon in a slightly less frantic affair. He passed the chequered flag 12 seconds in front of the 28 year old to earn the ‘overall.’ Pichon took consolation in his 7th consecutive podium and confirming the number two plate for 2005.

Despite some fierce speed through the sodden practice and qualifying yesterday Coppins struggled in the wet to match the race pace of his regular podium peers and faced serious opposition from Suzuki’s Tanel Leok in the second moto who knocked the Kiwi down to 4th. His 3rd spot from the opening sprint was good enough to allow the British GP winner to receive another trophy and dousing of champagne. His result means that the 27 year old secured third in the Championship.

Aside from another Coppins podium it was not a happy event for the British CAS squad. Gordon Crockard was the centre of a lot of attention at his first ever home GP but an unlucky series of crashes in the first moto saw the 25 year old far behind the pack and led to his eventual retirement. He started much better in the second race and a first lap position of 4th later became a creditable 7th, considering that it is still only the Irishman’s third GP of the year.

Yoshi Atsuta felt drained by a stomach bug in the lead-up to the meeting and this affected his energy for the two motos of 35 minutes and 2 laps duration. The former Japanese Champion was 19th overall with results of 17th and 18th. With a persistent knee injury Brian Jorgensen was again out of action and is unlikely to finish the season with the sixteenth and final round taking place at Sun City in South Africa in two weeks time.

In the MX2 category RTT Honda rider Carl Nunn made the most of his poor gate position of 27th to finish 7th overall and top Honda man on the day. The 25 year old completed two steady races in 10th spot while many were falling or experiencing mechanical trouble. CAS rider Jussi Vehvilainen was a decent 6th in the first race after running with the leading group but his participation in a first corner pile-up in the second moto saw the 250F sustain damage and force the Finn out of the running. A double race win by KTM’s Ben Townley saw both Championships wrapped up. Nunn protected his 8th place in the standings by beating Patrick Caps and Claudio Federici and now heads the former by 11 points with a possible 50 still to be won in South Africa.

Josh Coppins (Honda)

Gordon Crockard (Honda)

Mickael Pichon:
“It was not an easy weekend. The track was really difficult and I feel tired at the moment because I have been doing many races. I spent a lot of energy winning that first heat and thought that I would be OK for the second but in the first few laps Stefan and Josh were really fast and it was hard to stay with them. Finally I could pass Josh and I tried really hard to close the gap and catch Stefan but after 15 minutes I was struggling and my arms pumped up, I was almost out of control. There was not much I could do after that. Stefan was too fast to follow in that race and I had to settle for second. I’m not pleased with the result but you cannot win all the time and Stefan was very strong in these conditions. The track was very technical and demanding physically. I didn’t ride like I wanted. I have to congratulate Stefan. I am not happy that he beat me but I regard him as the best rider ever and the fact that I defeated him a few times this season means that I can get near this level.”

Josh Coppins:
“I am pretty happy with this weekend because I have been sick since Gaildorf and I haven’t been able to train on the bike. I did two races in the UK and had no real break so it was difficult to recover. In the first heat I used a lot of energy to come back from 12th place, in the second moto I started well with the holeshot but did not have the strength and speed to stay out front; I just did the best I could. The track was really nice and I was surprised at the good preparation considering the weather.”

Gordon Crockard:
“In the fourth corner of the first race I got completely wiped out. After a few laps at the back I then launched off a fast jump on the back straight and a guy was lying on the track right in the line and I landed straight on his bike then cart-wheeled up the mud. I hurt my wrist and wasn’t having any more. I took a look at the track and watched the race on TV just so I could learn a little bit more about the lines. I started OK in the next moto but there was no way that I was going to live with those boys at the front. It would have been stupid and dangerous to try and hang onto them. My back is absolutely killing me and it is because I have been using other muscles trying to compensate for the weakness in the leg. I kept going and 7th was alright.”

Yoshitaka Atsuta:
“This weekend I had a stomach ache and Friday was unbelievably hard. I had bad starts in the races and just held on for what I could get because I had no energy.”

Jussi Vehvilainen:
“The first moto was alright. I got a good start but I did not have a lot of traction and the bike was sliding around a lot. I wanted to ride safe and not make mistakes so sixth was OK. On the first corner of the second moto I crashed with another rider and the radiator on the bike was smashed. The water drained out and that meant a DNF.”

Carl Nunn:
“In the first race I did not ride that well and with that good start I should have finished higher. I’m not sure why I could not increase the pace, it wasn’t flowing for me and I was revving the bike a bit too much. I got off the line good again in the second race but was pushed wide and virtually had to stop so that I did not get involved in the pile-up. I rode a lot better in the second race, felt more comfortable and had some good lines, but it was so hard out there to make up time and then execute a pass. The only way really to get by was if someone made a mistake. I wanted to pass Caps. It was nice to finally get two consistent top ten rides because it feels like a long time since it’s happened. I think this track suits me, it just that I didn’t ride it as well as I could have done.”

2004 FIM Motocross World Championship Round 15
Grand Prix of Ireland, Ballykelly


MX1 - Race 1 Result

1 PICHON Mickael (Honda)
3 COPPINS Joshua (Honda)
5 RAMON Steve (KTM)
7 DE DIJCKER Ken (Honda)
10 FREIBERGS Lauris (Honda)
11 KOVALAINEN Marko (Honda)
14 NOBLE James (Honda)

Mickael Pichon (Honda) & Josh Coppins (Honda)
MX1 - Race 2 Result
2 PICHON Mickael (Honda)
4 COPPINS Joshua (Honda)
7 CROCKARD Gordon (Honda)
8 RAMON Steve (KTM)
9 FREIBERGS Lauris (Honda)
11 BURNHAM Christian (KTM)
12 DE DIJCKER Ken (Honda)
14 NOBLE James (Honda)
15 KOVALAINEN Marko (Honda)

Related Links

· WMX - FIM Motocross World Championship
· Ireland

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