Pichon, Everts Win

Paul Carruthers | July 7, 2002

Frenchman Mickael Pichon powered his Suzuki to a fifth consecutive win of the season by taking victory in the 250cc class ahead of Honda-mounted Joshua Coppins today in the Swedish Grand Prix.

Norwegian Kenneth Gundersen led for four laps, but then Pichon once again dominated the remainder of the race to open a 30-point advantage over Kiwi Coppins, 188-158.

Throughout the season Coppins as been the only rider who looked possible of breaking Pichon dominance in the quarter 250cc category.

“I really thought that I could win here,” Coppins said in an HRC press release. “I have had two of the most stressful weeks of my life, but I wanted to prove everyone who doubts my ability that I am a winner and that I have done it all through hard work. My start was not great I spoke with the team’s trainer, Corrardo Maddii, he suggested I try and start in third gear to stop the bike spinning and digging a hole, but the ground was very soft, I dug a deep rut down to the hard ground but I still struggled.”

Fighting to stay in contention during the opening circuits he moved from seventh to fourth in just three laps, “ I didn’t want to put myself under anymore pressure than I was already under, I planned to pass one guy at a time, first Dobb then Bolley and work on my race from there. I put the hammer down and passed Gundersen and McFarlane to take second but Pichon reacted and held me off for the last 11 laps. I was there with him, I was riding better than him, I honestly think that he knew that, but he just held me off and second was to be my position again.”

Reigning World 500cc Motocross Champion Stefan Everts, meanwhile, recorded his 54th Grand Prix victory today, securing the win at the Swedish Grand Prix ahead of great rival Joel Smets and his KTM.

The two were locked in battle from the start of the 35 minute plus two lap moto, the lead changed several times during the opening laps of the demanding Uddevalla circuit, but Everts and his Yamaha always appeared to have the upper hand and never let the pressure show. His teammate Marnicq Bervoets joined him on the podium finishing third making the podium an all Belgium affair.

Extending his lead to 30 points over Bervoets, 29-year-old Everts looks on course to secure his sixth world title.

“I came here to win in Sweden, it’s not my favorite kind of circuit but once I got my wheel in front of Smets, on the opening lap I knew it would be a hard race but one that I could win,” Smets said. “I made one mistake throughout the race, missing a gear on the approach to a table top jump, it was a good race but a hard race, Joel never gave in attacking, he tried many time to take the lead but I had the race in control.”

In the 125cc class, it was 17-year-old Kiwi Ben Townley securing his first-ever Grand Prix victory on his KTM. The youngster of the Vangani Racing Team snatched victory from Belgian Steve Ramon (KTM) with four laps to go of the 20 lap race, he finished almost five seconds ahead of the Belgian world number two as the checkered flag fell.

Honda-mounted American Jeff Dement struggled to get off the start line, a problem for many top riders, he started mid pack in 16th moving to 14th after four laps but slipped back losing positions to finish 17th and taking only four points. He is currently in ninth position in the rankings, a single point behind Seguy and two points behind South African Tyla Rattray (KTM).

Paul Carruthers | Editor

Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America's Daily Motorcycle News Source.