Although most fans believe that a stereotypical European rider would struggle in supercross, there are always a few riders that come out at the off-season races, and challenge that stereotype. Interestingly, this year was no different, as Gautier Paulin, and Cedric Soubeyras (as well as a few others) proved that they were competitive in the tight Palais Omnisport stadium, at the Bercy Supercross this past weekend.
However, I expected those riders to be quite strong, as they have proven to be competitive in supercross in the past. But, on the other hand, I was surprised when I saw Jordi Tixier on the entry list, as he does not have much supercross experience. Interestingly, the riders on the Red Bull KTM squad tend to not take part in the off-season races, it seems. But anyway, I digress. I really did not expect Jordi to post any notable results over the three days, seeing as he was up against some very fast (and established competition). Tixier moved up to the bigger 350f also, which is foreign to him. So, it wouldn’t have been surprising to see him struggle.
Jordi Tixier did not always garner the greatest results at Bercy, but it was clear that he was fast enough to achieve great things. In fact, on the Friday, he finished an impressive sixth in the main event. Although a sixth may seem lacklustre in comparison to his results in the FIM Motocross World Championship, every rider ahead of him had a supercross background. So, it really was a strong showing.
Although his results in the other two main events (an eleventh and a tenth) over the rest of the weekend were not on par with that sixth place, he still proved that he has the speed to contend. Jordi held the top spot in the ‘Superpole’ session on Saturday, for a good amount of time, before eventually being relegated down to fifth. In the end, Jordi ended the weekend in tenth overall, which really is not a true representation of the speed that he showcased.
Tixier encountered a few issues over the weekend though; he had a big crash in the tunnel. Actually, the fall was remarkably similar to his get off at the British GP. Anyway, he was lucky to walk away from that unscathed; every rider is at risk of getting injured when they race at these off-season races! If he had picked up a niggling injury, it would have been disastrous, especially when you consider that the MXGP season starts so early nowadays.
Speaking of the FIM Motocross World Championship, Jordi has the potential to be in the running for race wins in 2014, in my opinion. Although Jeffrey Herlings will be unstoppable, there is no doubt in my mind that Tixier is the next best guy out there. So, if Herlings runs into an issue, he could be in a position to capitalise and capture a title! Now that would be an upset!
Anyway, it is probably too early to start bench racing about the 2014 season. After all, the GP season opener is still one hundred and six days away! Bercy was the last race of the year for Tixier. So, the next time we see him will probably be at the Valence pre-season international in 2014.
Words by Lewis Phillips
Image courtesy of KTM Images/Ray Archer