The three reigning Motocross World Champions all climbed on top of the podium at the Grand Prix of Austria, round six of the 2002 series, today, according to a Dorna press release.
Stefan Everts, the current 500cc number-one, triumphed in the best race of the day and the most dramatic event in the 500cc series this season. Everts, the most successful GP motocrosser ever – now with 53 career victories – overtook Yves Demaria, the winner of the last round in Italy, on the final corner of the last lap to start the celebrations once more at the Kärntenring circuit. It was here in 2001 that Everts secured his first 500cc title.
Demaria, on the factory KTM, had led the GP from the first corner and was also fastest in every practice session prior to the race. Everts drew close to the Frenchman several times throughout the 35-minute, two-lap duration, but Demaria looked comfortable for the win until the technical section at the end of the circuit and Everts’ desperate last-gasp overtaking gamble that paid off.
Everts had earlier survived a tough battle with Joel Smets and Javier Garcia Vico. Vico went on to take his second podium of the season with third place after Smets suffered another race crash due to a bad set-up with his front suspension; the Belgian recovered from 23rd to 17th, taking four points and effectively ending his Championship aspirations. Marnicq Bervoets rode back from a first-lap position of 14th to take fourth, with James Noble getting his best finish of the year in fifth on the RWJ Honda. Pit Beirer, riding the 500 as well as his usual 250cc mount, achieved a creditable sixth.
Everts increases his advantage in the Championship standings to 23 points over Bervoets with his hardest win in several years: “It was a very tough race early on because I was in a ‘sandwich’ between Joel and Vico, and it was hard to make any kind of advantage,” he said. “When I passed Joel in the whoops, I tried as hard as I could to catch Yves. On the last lap, I didn’t give up and was looking to the whoops again to take the lead. Yves knew my plan and held the inside line. I knew the last corner was also my last chance. I went completely wide and then turned in tight; I had more speed coming out, which got me the victory.”
Reigning 250cc World Champion Mickael Pichon was an awesome sight to watch as he cut his way through the pack and went on to win his fifth race of the year and third in a row. It’s also the third-consecutive GP at which Pichon has earned pole, won the main event and clocked the fastest lap.
The Frenchman had to pass Jamie Dobb, Fred Bolley, Pit Beirer, Gordon Crockard and – finally – early leader Josh Coppins on lap four. Coppins held on to second until Crockard made the most of a decent start to overhaul the factory Honda rider and give KTM its first-ever podium place with the new works 250. Pit Beirer was a lonely fourth after Bolley made a mistake and slipped to seventh, where he finished the moto. Jamie Dobb crossed the line fifth in front of Paul Cooper. Pichon now has a 22-point cushion over Josh Coppins in the standings, with Beirer third.
Jamie Dobb not only became the first rider to score two top-five positions in one weekend, but he is also the first to notch a win outside of his usual race class. At last KTM had a win in its home event. The reigning 125cc World Champion, wearing the number-one plate for the first time this year, lapped behind Alex Puzar until increasing his pace and making a pass in the same corner where Stefan Everts had so dramatically won the 500cc race but one hour earlier. Dobb then reeled off the laps and won by five seconds, with Philippe Dupasquier taking third. Points-leader Mickael Maschio stormed back from a first-lap spill that left him, to sixth, behind Patrick Caps and Steve Ramon, who were fifth and fourth, respectively. Maschio leads the series by 15 points from Caps.