Features 8 Nov 2012

The Matthes Report: 44

Pulpmx's Steve Matthes checks in from the US every single Thursday, presented by Fox.

As you read this I’ll be high over the Atlantic ocean on my way to Paris, France for the annual Bercy Supercross in the grass-covered walls of the Omni-Sport Arena right smack dab there in Paris. It’s always a good time, some great racing over the three days and there’s almost always, there is some sort of altercation between the riders.

After all, the format is such that there are three five-lap elimination races where the bottom four guys are eliminated and then there is also a main event at the end of the night.

And the same ten to twelve guys are always going head to head and it’s really more of an arenacross than a supercross so there’s some slamming going on. Unfortunately for everyone not named Justin Barcia, the Honda rider won’t be at Bercy this year.

And I say this because the last two years, Justin has provided fireworks with his rough riding ways. He really didn’t do anything that I saw that I would consider dirty as it’s arenacross and that’s sort of what you have to do to get by a guy but still, parking a French rider in a race is never really condoned by the French crowd. In fact, they enjoy letting you know that they’re not happy with you.

Kyle Chisholm is the current 'King of Bercy' heading into the 2012 event. Image: Simon Cudby.

Barcia couldn’t seem to grasp this and last year, he was even DQ’d from a race because he felt like a French rider had cleaned him out in the first turn so he waited or the rider and then slowed down in front of him. Then he flipped him off and rode off the track. Yes, it was as awesome as it sounds. I’ve never heard someone get booed like that from my perch in the stands.

Mike Alessi has also felt the crowds wrath at different times as has any American rider that dares ride a little rough with a French hero. Then again, I’ve also seen the Frenchman Eric Sorby ride a little, uhhh, nuts at Bercy and the fans seem to love it. Weird how that works huh?

The riders going over this year are Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer, GEICO Honda riders Eli Tomac and Wil Hahn, defending King of Bercy Kyle Chisholm and past King of Bercy JGR Yamaha’s Justin Brayton. Last year Tomac had a bad first night but rebounded to win the last night (or afternoon as it were) while Weimer was certainly fast but had a lot of bad luck here and there.

Remember to win the King of Bercy, the Superpole (just one man on the track, fastest lap time wins), the elimination races and the one main event ALL count towards the King title. And that’s exactly how Kyle Chisholm took home the crown last year. He was fast and consistent all weekend and that was enough. Some riders were better here and there but no one could manage to do good in all the different forms each night.

I myself worked there one year as a mechanic in 2001 when I went with Nick Wey on Moto XXX and at the end of the weekend, it was a third overall behind David Vuillemin (who was unbelievable there) and Jeremy McGrath. It was also the first time I saw a guy named Chad Reed race on the Kawasaki and he was aggressive and reckless all at the same time. It wouldn’t be long before he came to the USA and dominated supercross.

Justin Barcia was disqualified from last year's event. Image: Simon Cudby.

The time change catches up to you pretty quickly and by the end of the third day you’re sort of in a daze. The late nights, early mornings and being inside a smoke-filled arena (man and machine made smoke) does get you feeling like you’re literally the Marlboro Man.

I’m at the point where I know a couple of good restaurants and the Starbucks, well that’s about a ten minute walk away. I don’t do much touristy things when I go there now, I’ve been to Paris so many times over the years that I’ve about seen it all. No sir, it’s racing non-stop for me.

So this will be my fifth year in a row going there and I’m excited as usual. You just never know what you’re going to get at Bercy, it’s predictably unpredictable and that’s why I love it.
Below are the all-time wins at Bercy including 125 class:

Eleven wins
David VUILLEMIN : MX2/2006 (2), 125/2003, 250/2001 (6), 250/2000 (6), 250/99, 125/97 (5), 125/96 (3), 125/95

Ten wins
Jeremy Mc GRATH: 250/99 (5), 250/98, 250/97, 250/96, 250/95 (2), 250/94, 250/93 (2), 125/91 (2)

Nine wins
Rodrig THAIN: 125/2001 (5), 125/2000, 125/99 (3)

Eight wins
James STEWART: Open 2008 (6), Open 2009 (2)

Seven wins
Larry WARD: 250/98 (3), 250/96, 250/95, 250/91, 250/89
Andrew SHORT: MX2/2005 (3), MX2/2004 (3), 125/2003

Chad Reed is a past winner of the Bercy event. Image: Simon Makker/Makkreative.com.

Six wins
David PINGREE: 125/96, 125/95 (5)

Five wins
Jean Michel BAYLE: 250/92, 250/91, 250/90 (3)
Justin BUCKELEW : 125/2000 (5)
Ricky JOHNSON : 250/89, 250/88, 250/87 (2), 250/85

Four wins
Ernesto FONSECA : 125/99 (4)
Jeff STANTON: 250/93, 250/92 (2), 250/90
Ivan TEDESCO: 125/2001 (4)
Nick WEY: 125/98 (4)

Three wins
Justin BARCIA: Open 2010 (2), Open 2011 (1)
Doug HENRY: 250/94, 125/92 (2)
Damon HUFFMAN: 250/97 (2), 250/96
Ryan HUGHES: 125/93 (3)
Johnny O’MARA: 250/85, 250/84 (Bercy II), 250/84 (Bercy I)
Chad REED: Open/2007 (3)