MotoCross > Round 9: France > Race Results
WMXFranceJune 26, 2005
2005 FIM Motocross World Championship Round 9
Grand Prix of France – St Jean d’Angely

Coppins moves to second in the Championship as Pichon signs off with podium

CAS Honda rider Josh Coppins has moved up to second place in the FIM MX1 Motocross World Championship thanks to the runner-up position he scored today at St Jean D’Angely for a very hot French Grand Prix.

Joshua Coppins

Joshua Coppins

The New Zealander headed a hefty Honda presence on the podium as Mickael Pichon climbed the lower step at his home event. Just over 19,000 fans packed the St Jean circuit and sweated their way through round nine of the seventeen. Thunderstorms had made their presence felt on Friday and Saturday evenings but the track dried quickly in the high humidity and formed a very physically demanding prospect for the GP stars.

The recent furore and speculation surrounding Pichon and his immediate future within the sport was dismissed yesterday when the Frenchman announced that he would undergo an operation on the knee he badly injured towards the end of 2003 and has been troubling him since the start of the ’05 campaign. The surgery will take place next week and will involve a minor procedure on the lateral ligament so that the former double World Champion can contest the Motocross of Nations in September. He is expected to be back in action by the end of July (for the Grand Prix of Wallonie) but is scheduled for a more complicated operation to fix the limb joint immediately after the Nations that is set to take place in France at the Ernee circuit. It will be Pichon’s fifteenth time under the knife and he admitted that beyond the end of 2005 the path of his career is uncertain.

Clearly committed to the cause at St Jean in front of his loyal fans Pichon pushed hard on the newly renovated course to seal the pole position time in front of Italian GP winner Ben Townley by half a second.

The roles would be reversed in the first moto as Pichon gamely chased early leader Stefan Everts, passionately cheered on by the crowd, but Townley was the strongest rider on the track and dragged his fellow New Zealander Josh Coppins with him as he overtook the Martin Honda rider.

The second moto saw Townley detach himself from the pack in the formative stages as Stefan Everts crashed and had to restart from last position. Coppins and Pichon chased the KTM rider’s shadow and the CAS representative once again proved quicker than his Honda compatriot. The British MX1 Champion went 2-3 for second overall while Pichon, who was in danger of losing his ranking with close pressure from Steve Ramon and Joel Smets at one stage until the Belgian pair collided and crashed, was 4-3 to appease the reddened partisan masses.

Coppins’ elevation in the standings sees him lie 59 points from Stefan Everts and just 12 points in front of Townley, who today claimed his second consecutive GP success.

Coppins’ team-mate Jussi Vehvilainen had a tough return to GP action with results of 12th and 13th to claim 12th overall. The Finn has not competed since the Grand Prix of Namur (round four) and has recovered from ankle and neck injuries. Vehvilainen crashed in the second moto and was disadvantaged by a bad start in the opening race. RWJ’s James Noble was also slightly crash-happy after failing to get to grips with the circuit through practice and qualifying. The Briton de-saddled twice in moto1 and retired while far behind the field and also fell in the second sprint, damaging the bike to record a double DNF.

Martin Honda and Multitek Honda riders Javier Garcia Vico and Paul Cooper were both absent. Vico still has not sufficiently recovered from the nerve damage in his neck while Cooper has been suffering with a lack of stamina and is presently in no condition to race.

In MX2 SRS Honda’s Patrick Caps was ruled out of action on Saturday after damaging his right knee. Further disappointment lay in store when Erik Eggens was only just able to qualify (the controversial exclusion of Championship leader Antonio Cairoli for lashing out at an opponent allowed the Dutchman to fill the last slot in the gate). He then experienced mechanical trouble in the first race and tired after a good start while running third to take 13th in the second. The highest Honda rider was Matteo Bonini with 9th overall. KTM’s David Philippaerts celebrated his first overall success from Anthony Boissiere and Carl Nunn.

The tenth round of the 2005 World Championship campaign takes place in just one week’s time at Uddevalla for the Grand Prix of Sweden.

Mickael Pichon

Jussi Vehvilainen

Mickael Pichon:
“It was a hard race. I used a lot of energy in the first heat but I was lucky in the second because I came over the table-top and was just able to miss Stefan’s bike. I knew it would be tough to do the full forty minutes today. I passed Josh but he came back strong after fifteen minutes and there was not much I can do. My condition was not too bad but I couldn’t breathe properly and wasn’t able to find the same speed as Ben and Josh. I am happy to take third here in France. I did not ride much in the last two weeks and it is encouraging that I can still come here and take a result like this. I am pleased for the fans, my team and the St Jean club who did a great job. Now I will go to the hospital and then take a break to get healthy.”

Josh Coppins:
“It was a very tough GP in this heat and so far it feels like a difficult year with 17 GPs and 8 British Championships events. I am just keeping focussed and trying not to make any mistakes. I found the track very difficult during the morning practices because it had been raining a lot both nights and then the dirt dried quickly. There were many deep ruts and the terrain was very rough; I had a couple of big crashes yesterday. The races were enjoyable and credit must go to the club for a good Grand Prix. The work they did on the track with the new mud and layout was excellent. It is good to be second in the Championship but it is important to make as many podiums as possible and try to be consistent.”

James Noble:
“It was a bit of a disaster really. I felt uncomfortable with my riding yesterday and couldn’t get going. In the first race I took a mediocre start but then slipped off in the sand. I restarted in about 16th or 17th but I dropped it just after the finish line and struggled to start the bike; the heat then hit me. I was so far away from the others there was little point in continuing. In the second race it was quite dusty going up the hill over the back and I must have got cross-rutted because one minute I was on the bike and next I was on the ground.”

2005 FIM Motocross World Championship Round 9
Grand Prix of France – St Jean d’Angely

MX1 - Race 1 Result
1 Townley Ben (KTM)
2 Everts Stefan (Yamaha)
3 Coppins Joshua (Honda)
4 Pichon Mickael (Honda)
5 Ramon Steve (KTM)
6 Smets Joël (Suzuki)
7 Meo Antoine (Husqvarna)
8 Leuret Pascal (Honda)
9 Nemeth Kornel (Suzuki)
10 Barragan Jonathan (KTM)
11 Priem Manuel (Yamaha)
12 Vehvilainen Jussi (Honda)
13 Atsuta Yoshitaka (Suzuki)
14 Pyrhonen Antti (TM)
15 Leok Tanel (Kawasaki)

Joshua Coppins
MX1 - Race 2 Result
1 Townley Ben (KTM)
2 Coppins Joshua (Honda)
3 Pichon Mickael (Honda)
4 Barragan Jonathan (KTM)
5 Leuret Pascal (Honda)
6 Atsuta Yoshitaka (Suzuki)
7 Everts Stefan (Yamaha)
8 Ramon Steve (KTM)
9 van Daele Marvin (Honda)
10 Theybers Danny (Suzuki)
11 Nemeth Kornel (Suzuki)
12 Priem Manuel (Yamaha)
13 Vehvilainen Jussi (Honda)
14 Pyrhonen Antti (TM)
15 Jorgensen Brian (Yamaha)

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