The second night of the Supercross Paris-Bercy saw another tight contest between Americans Jake Weimer and Eli Tomac but it was the Monster Energy Kawasaki ace who came out on top once again at the Omnisports Palais and is just one race away from the King of Bercy accolade.
A full house of noisy and passionate fans created a permanent din inside the compact arena in the French capital where it was often difficult to hear the powerful four-stroke motorcycles. Weimer again produced a feisty fifteen-lap performance to hold off the attentions of Tomac (with Justin Brayton third) in the closing stages and again set off the finish line fireworks.
“There is plenty of work left to be done and tomorrow is going to be a big day,” he said. “I’m really happy with how the first two nights have gone I have been riding pretty well. I have focussed on minimising mistakes, which is such a big thing at any time but extra important on a tight track like this. I didn’t want to fall into a bad groove.”
“In practice I had a pretty big crash – which hurt – and then in Superpole I felt like I had a really good lap going but I bobbled in the corner and I thought ‘you can still make it!’ but obviously I was heading off the side of the track and landed on the air fence. I knew it wouldn’t be too pretty. I knew I could stand there and look like an idiot or I could give a little bow!”
“It is a big thing to come overseas and see the crowd so involved and so enthusiastic about the racing,” he added. “It helps when you’re jet-lagged and tired. To have the crowd into it like that makes it a reallygood experience.”
Fan-favourite Christophe Pourcel was out of luck after earlier creating a buzz with a commanding qualification heat victory. The former double AMA Lites champ crashed out at the end of the whoops in a painful looking tumble but seems to have escaped with several sore left ribs. Ryan Villopoto’s sibling Tyler Villopoto was another crashee from the SX Tour class as the Kawasaki racer pushed for his first success in France.
The Freestyle crew were really hitting their stride after Friday’s ‘warm-up’.
Remi Bizouard is the new FIM Freestyle World Champion and is one of the current stars of the Supercross Paris-Bercy. The 26 year old Monster Energy athlete has now taken the FIM gong three times, the other wins coming in 2008 and 2009, and is one of the leading FMX artists in Europe, renowned for his inch-perfect Tsunami Flip. We checked in with the Frenchman on the eve of his Saturday performance (photo credit is Chailan/Piole):
On a decent season…
2012 was a great year for me. I wasn’t that surprised by the results because I was pretty consistent and felt like I was doing well. I had a lot of fun and some great shows.
On the different goals to shoot for in FMX…
It can be difficult for people to understand because there are many different championships and each has its own way to judge your stuff. I mean you can win the X Fighters and then go to the X Games and not even be in the top five. It varies for sure but it is cool that there are different riders and faces in these events because you can look at other styles. X Games and X Fighters are both very hard to win but X Fighters is maybe tougher because there are many events in many places and not just two days of competition. My goal is to find new tricks and reach a new level and we will see if I can do some of the other series.
On the misconception that freestylers are party animals and not athletes…
I think this was the perception before but I think it has changed a lot in the last few years. Riders are becoming much more professional and are spending more time on the bike. Racers before used to say we were wankers, but now they are recognising that we work hard and we also get out on supercross and motocross tracks. The crowd can also see that we are fit, that we work out and we spend a lot of time on our craft. Of course we like to party and unwind but that is a side of life. We need to relax also, there are some tricks that you don’t feel so comfortable with but you still go for them. It can be stressful.
On the fast evolution of the tricks in Freestyle and the pursuit of something new…
Every rider is getting closer to each other and the level at the top is very tight. If you put the top twenty riders of the world on a ramp then you won’t know who is going to win. We spend every day trying and thinking of new tricks so I don’t think it will slow.
On the genesis of a trick…
Just from being on the bike and having some imagination. You can also take a lot from watching others and thinking ‘well, I can do that but in my way’ and it turns into something different. Watching motocross and mountain bike and other sports helps and overall it is just a question of time, feel and practice.
On the ever present danger…
You are riding for the crowd and they say to us ‘wow, we are pretty scared when you’re jumping’ and that’s what we like to hear and it is what we like to do. If it was so safe then we’d get bored. If there is a 20-23m jump-and-landing then it can be boring to do a backflip. If you go bigger, say 35m, or use a dirt take-off then it can be scary. The rush comes every show and when you get out the new tricks you have to be very focussed and the adrenaline is pumping.
Remi and the gang will be wheeling out on Sunday for the final showdown at Bercy where Weimer and Tomac will be scraping again for the main prize.