Team Suzuki Press Office – January 10.
Rockstar Energy Suzuki’s Steve Ramon raced his RM-Z 450 to the third position in extreme weather conditions at Sunday’s Le Touquet Beach Race in the north of France.
The three-hour, 1000-rider event – run over a demanding 13km course along the beach – was hit by heavy rain, thunderstorms and 100-kph winds causing higher-than-normal tides; and instead of the normal 1000-rider mass-start, the organisers decided to opt for smaller group-starts on safety grounds.
Former World Motocross Champion Ramon pulled a great start and was in third place by the time he made his first pit-stop behind Enduro World Champion Antoine Meo (KTM) and Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha). But when Meo and Van Beveren pitted, Ramon briefly led the field.
Ramon dropped back to second after his second ‘pit’ but a small series of mistakes dropped the 34-year-old Belgian back to seventh. But he regrouped and his smooth riding style and stamina paid-off in the closing stages as he moved to fourth – and then into third position on the final lap as he closed down a 40-second gap on Arnaud Degousse (Yamaha) to take the final podium position.
Said Ramon: “I had a really good start and first couple of laps, but made just too many small mistakes. Then you lose places so quickly and the connection with the first guys, so you have to be so consistent. My biggest problem was my hands freezing-up after a couple of laps, which it made it difficult to steer, but was also pretty painful, but all-in-all I’m happy with the result and the places that I managed to win in the last couple laps.”
Final results after 16 laps: 1. Adrien Van Beveren, (FRA-Yamaha) 3:01:24, 2. Antoine Meo, (FRA-KTM) 3:01:50, 3. Steve Ramon, (BEL-Rockstar Energy Suzuki) 3:05:21, 4. Arnaud Degousse, (FRA-Yamaha) 3:06:55, 5. Jean-Claude Moussé, (FRA-Yamaha) 3:08:34, 6. Marc De Reuver, (NED-Honda) 3:09:13, 7. Milko Potisek, (FRA-Yamaha) 3:09:47, 8. Yves Deudon) (FRA-Kawasaki) – 1 lap, 9. Julien Tournessi (FRA-KTM) – 1 lap, 10. Tom Lahousse (BEL-Yamaha) – 1 lap.