Pulpmx's Steve Matthes checks in direct from the US every Thursday, presented by Fox.
As I write this out to you I’m somewhere over the Atlantic ocean on my way to Paris, France, to cover the Bercy Supercross.
This grand ol’ race has itself quite a tradition now as it’s gone on every year since 1984 when Americans Ricky Johnson, Johnny O’Mara, Broc Glover and David Bailey showed up to show up the European racers in the the still-new discipline called supercross.
It’s gone from being twice a year that first year to two nights then to four and back to three where it now stands. It’s also included 125s, a World versus USA format and for a few years, only 250Fs were allowed to race.
Currently it’s back to 450s and there’s a French support 250F class to go along with a premier 450 class that includes America’s best along with some top European talent.
Last year’s champ was Jake Weimer, but he didn’t get the invite back so the number one plate is there to grab for the Americans that have made the trip over. Honda Muscle Milk teammates Justin Barcia and Trey Canard are here, as is GEICO Honda’s Wil Hahn, BTOSports KTM’s Andrew Short and Star Yamaha’s Cooper Webb. Hahn and Webb were last minute additions to the field after Kenny Roczen dropped out.
Some of the top Europeans here are Kawasaki’s Gautier Paulin, Red Bull KTM’s Jordi Tixier, Gregory Aranda and Valentin Telliet. The prestigious King of Bercy title looks to come down to Canard or Barcia, but don’t sleep on two-time King of Bercy Short, who’s making his first visit here since 2008.
Certainly one area where the Honda boys have an advantage is that they (including Hahn) raced the Genoa, Italy, supercross a week ago where Barcia went 2-1 to Canard’s 1-2 for the overall.
They’ve been in Europe for a week and are accustomed to everything as well as they both have their full factory Honda bikes from the USA. So they’re looking ready for some throwing down and with the tight confines of the Bercy track, I’m looking forward to this weekend’s race.
A few other news and notes from Bercy now that I’ve landed, grabbed a Starbucks and am getting my bearings…
The track here has a big set of whoops, a bit of sand before them as well as a Joker Lane. Yes, you read that correct, the promoters have somehow figured out how to get a Joker Lane on that small track. As usual the track is soft and will turn slick by the end of Sunday’s main events.
The big whoops do tend to favor the American racers with their supercross set-up and private practice tracks with big whoops.
I’ve been lucky enough to cover this super-cool race for the past five years as the promoters have hooked it up (thanks Xavier and Eric!) for me and I have to say that it’s an honor to be here.
The atmosphere is electric and whenever a French hero can get a wheel in or perhaps pass an American rider, the place goes berserk. Or when Barcia does something crazy, then the fans pour out their anger in the form of boos towards whomever wronged a French rider.
Combine all that with chainsaws (sans blades of course) and it’s amazing to be here and take it all in.
I think the absolute loudest I’ve ever heard this place was when I was first here as a mechanic for Nick Wey at the end of 2001. This was the height of Jeremy McGrath’s era and he was the man when it came to supercross.
Except there was this new French hero, a man by the name of David Vuillemin and he, more than any other rider I’ve ever seen here, brought the fans to the edge of delirium with three days of domination over McGrath and everyone else.
The #934 Yamaha rider had everyone going nuts as he caught and passed MC one night. It was amazing to be sure.
Put Bercy on your bucket list. You won’t be disappointed.