Motocross

Ramon wins…

Ramon wins…

claimed the final world MX crown up for grabs at the last round of the FIM series at Ernee in France. STEVE RAMON claimed the final world MX crown up for grabs at the last round of the FIM series at Ernee in France. The 23-year-old Belgian came home fifth to lift the 125cc crown by 15 points from ’03 world MXGP champ Stefan Everts.
But it was Everts who hogged the glory after recording the first ever clean sweep of all three GP motos. A sensational end to a sensational season for the sensational seven-time world champion.
Fortune looked less kindly on the Brit pack. Albion KTM’s Stephen Sword started the day aiming for sixth in the 125cc standings – and finished the day ninth after being dragged down on the first lap. Team-mate Tom Church had a better race and followed up a near holeshot with 12th on the day.
Gordon Crockard suffered as well and admitted to riding "crap" all weekend. "I’ve bruised the muscles between the ribs twice in the last 12 days but I didn’t even tell the team because I’m sick of it sounding as though I want to blame my results on injuries."
Gordy’s 12th at the flag for 11th in the final MXGP standings, one place behind his CAS Honda team-mate Yoshi Atsuta. Josh Coppins – the third man in CAS’s MXGP squad – completed his return from injury with a third-placed finish while Carl Nunn’s16th and Paul Cooper, making his debut on a Husky thumper, came home 20th.
British efforts in the 650cc moto were restricted to just two points-scoring rides after RWJ Honda’s James Noble banged his head and spent four laps in cloud cuckoo land. Mark Eastwood’s the first Brit home in 10th to end the season in the top 10 for the first time in a 15-year GP career while Mark Hucklebridge finished 13th.
With the racing done and dusted for a year the rumour mill was on full rattle – although it wasn’t all rumour!
The biggest shock was that Mickael Pichon, world champ in ’01 and ’02 – and winner of 24 out of 29 250/MXGP GPs up until April this year – has lost his Suzuki ride, despite having one year left to run on an apparently watertight contract. Okay, his left leg’s in plaster at the moment but it’s six months to the next GP and he has finished third in the world despite sitting out the final three rounds.
And in Pichon’s place is…Joel Smets! The 650 champ will develop and race Suzuki’s 450cc thumper in next season’s GPs. It turns out the second year option in Pichon’s contract allows renegotiation if he becomes the #2 in the team.
Smets had been staying tight-lipped in the weeks leading up to Ernee. "I had to lie more in the last two weeks than in the rest of my life and I’m not happy about it," he admitted. "It’s a false start. It can only get better."