Yamaha Intur Sports Motocross Team's Stefan Everts was beaten for the first time this season after a thrilling contest against Honda’s Josh Coppins at Desert Martin for the Grand Prix of Northern Ireland.

The Belgian was forced onto the second step after accumulating a 100% perfect winning streak of 12 rounds in succession when he lost a second-race duel with Coppins. He had earlier taken his 22nd consecutive moto triumph by capturing the opening foray from the New Zealander and this haul of 25 points contributed towards the confirmation of Yamaha's ownership of the Manufacturer's title in MX1 with the YZ450FM.

The powdery soil at the venue some 40 miles west of Belfast became increasingly rough after a day of practice and qualification. Quick, undulating and technical the layout demanded complete concentration but also offered several racing lines for some interesting and intense action.

For only the second time this year, the 35 minute and two-lap Grand Prix motos encountered rainy conditions as brief showers scattered the scenic Irish landscape. Everts was too busy to notice the spurts of light rain as he faced his hardest challenge since the Portuguese round in April during Moto1. Coppins harried the World Champion for the duration of the sprint and the duo were only separated by more than a second when they had to negotiate backmarkers. It was entertaining fare but Coppins only really showed his front wheel to the Belgian in anger on several occasions, an overtaking move would have been another feat altogether.

Everts started the second moto in a similar vein, but Coppins was a renewed force and a fantastic race between the rivals with numerous lead changes occurred. They lapped all of the riders up to third position, but in the closing stages, Everts had to concede the moto, and the Grand Prix, to the determined Kiwi, who extended his lead throughout the last 10 minutes.

Everts has already claimed the 2006 campaign with an emotional victory three weeks ago at Namur. He heads the standings by 181 points from fellow Belgians Kevin Strijbos and Steve Ramon.

Cédric Melotte was absent in Desert Martin after breaking three toes on his right foot last week in a Belgian Championship event. The 28 year old is hoping to be back in action for the following race at Lierop taking place next weekend for the Grand Prix of the Netherlands; the 14th and penultimate round of the Championship.

"It has been a tough race today," Everts said. "The track was hard. The first race was exciting and in the second Josh was so fast. At one point, I could not stay with him anymore and physically I was finished. I think that we had the same speed, but he was a bit stronger, so I decided to go for a safe second towards the end. I am happy for Josh, he has been working hard for this. Of course, I am a bit disappointed to lose, but I still have two more chances to reach 100."

Red Bull KTM rider Tyla Rattray ended his dry spell of almost four months by claiming his fourth MX2 victory of the season.

The South African unleashed a dominant display at the 13th round of 15 and at the venue where he was triumphant in 2005. He gained pole position by owning his qualification heat and then disappeared with a searing pace in both motos; only a crash in the first race presented a blip on what was an authoritative return to the winner's circle. The 20-year-old last won at the Grand Prix of Portugal and has since been fighting for full fitness from collarbone, ankle and shoulder injuries.

Kawasaki’s Christophe Pourcel finished second overall after going 2-4, while Yamaha Antonio Cairoli took third overall with a 2-7.

Pourcel enjoys an 28-point lead over defending champ Cairoli with two rounds left.

Results:

MX1 Class

MX1 Moto1

1. EVERTS Stefan BEL YAMAHA 40:50.848

2. COPPINS Joshua NZL HONDA 40:51.570

3. DE DYCKER Ken BEL HONDA 41:49.453

4. STRIJBOS Kevin BEL SUZUKI 42:00.134

5. CROCKARD Gordon GBR HONDA 42:17.876

6. NEMETH Kornel HUN SUZUKI 42:42.323

7. PRIEM Manuel BEL YAMAHA 42:50.315

8. BARRAGAN Jonathan SPA KTM 42:52.162

9. PYRHONEN Antti FIN TM 42:53.132

10. BEGGI Cristian ITA HONDA 42:56.631

11. RAMON Steve BEL SUZUKI 40:53.309

MX1 Moto2

1. COPPINS Joshua NZL HONDA 40:51.512

2. EVERTS Stefan BEL YAMAHA 41:17.162

3. BARRAGAN Jonathan SPA KTM 42:56.188

4. DE DYCKER Ken BEL HONDA 41:06.483

5. STRIJBOS Kevin BEL SUZUKI 41:11.089

6. PRIEM Manuel BEL YAMAHA 41:18.150

7. NEMETH Kornel HUN SUZUKI 41:21.703

8. LEOK Tanel EST KAWASAKI 41:31.939

9. NOBLE James GBR HONDA 41:33.569

10. PYRHONEN Antti FIN TM 41:37.503

MX1 Overall result

1. COPPINS Joshua NZL HONDA 47

2. EVERTS Stefan BEL YAMAHA 47

3. DE DYCKER Ken BEL HONDA 38

4. STRIJBOS Kevin BEL SUZUKI 34

5. BARRAGAN Jonathan SPA KTM 33

6. PRIEM Manuel BEL YAMAHA 29

7. NEMETH Kornel HUN SUZUKI 29

8. PYRHONEN Antti FIN TM 23

9. LEOK Tanel EST KAWASAKI 22

10. CROCKARD Gordon GBR HONDA 16

MX1 World Championship standings after 13 of 15 rounds

1. EVERTS Stefan BEL 639

2. STRIJBOS Kevin BEL 458

3. RAMON Steve BEL 418

4. DE DYCKER Ken BEL 409

5. LEOK Tanel EST 387

6. BARRAGAN J. SPA 306

7. COPPINS Joshua NZL 249

8. LEURET Pascal FRA 242

9. PRIEM Manuel BEL 239

10. MELOTTE Cedric BEL 224

MX2 Class

MX2 Moto1

1. RATTRAY Tyla RSA KTM 41:19.221

2. CAIROLI Antonio ITA YAMAHA 41:26.978

3. POURCEL Christophe FRA KAWASAKI 41:34.800

4. GONCALVES Rui POR KTM 41:39.578

5. POURCEL Sébastien FRA KAWASAKI 41:51.804

6. GUNDERSEN Kenneth NOR YAMAHA 41:53.828

7. PHILIPPAERTS David ITA KTM 41:59.327

8. DE REUVER Marc NED KTM 42:10.329

9. SWANEPOEL Gareth RSA KAWASAKI 42:13.998

10. LEOK Aigar EST YAMAHA 42:18.183

13. NUNN Carl GBR KTM 42:29.964

MX2 Moto2

1. RATTRAY Tyla RSA KTM 39:52.916

2. DE REUVER Marc NED KTM 40:13.712

3. PHILIPPAERTS David ITA KTM 40:22.846

4. POURCEL Christophe FRA KAWASAKI 40:35.718

5. POURCEL Sébastien FRA KAWASAKI 40:40.439

6. SWANEPOEL Gareth RSA KAWASAKI 40:41.603

7. CAIROLI Antonio ITA YAMAHA 41:09.126

8. GONCALVES Rui POR KTM 41:11.556

9. MACKENZIE Billy GBR YAMAHA 41:11.985

10. SCHIFFER Marcus GER KTM 41:20.498

24. NUNN Carl GBR KTM 25:49.317

MX2 Overall result

1. RATTRAY Tyla RSA KTM 50

2. POURCEL Christophe FRA KAWASAKI 38

3. CAIROLI Antonio ITA YAMAHA 36

4. DE REUVER Marc NED KTM 35

5. PHILIPPAERTS David ITA KTM 34

6. POURCEL Sébastien FRA KAWASAKI 32

7. GONCALVES Rui POR KTM 31

8. SWANEPOEL Gareth RSA KAWASAKI 27

9. LEOK Aigar EST YAMAHA 21

10. MACKENZIE Billy GBR YAMAHA 17

18. NUNN Carl GBR KTM 8

MX2 World Championship standings after 13 of 15 rounds

1. POURCEL C. FRA 496

2. CAIROLI Antonio ITA 468

3. PHILIPPAERTS D. ITA 427

4. RATTRAY Tyla RSA 402

5. DE REUVER Marc NED 373

6. NUNN Carl GBR 315

7. POURCEL S. FRA 291

8. MACKENZIE Billy GBR 281

9. SWANEPOEL Gareth RSA 278

10. GONCALVES Rui POR 267

FIM Motocross News

Shan Moore | Contributing Editor

Moore covers all facets of off-road racing for Cycle News – from AMA Supercross and Motocross to GNCC and National Hare Scrambles events.

Comments