World motocross revelation upstages supermoto specialists.
Wilvo Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Romain Febvre ensured a winning international debut for Husqvarna’s new FS 450 supermoto machine by claiming the top step of the podium at the prestigious Mettet Superbiker event.
Going up against many established supermoto specialists and dealing perfectly with challenging track conditions, Febvre claimed the win ahead of countryman Thomas Chareyre and Italian Christian Ravaglia.
“The Mettet Superbiker is a very prestigious race so it’s a great honour to have actually won it for Husqvarna on their new FS 450,” Febvre said. “When we arrived to the circuit on Friday conditions were quite dry and I struggled to match the pace of the regular supermoto guys. But when it rained things began to work in my favour.
“I was having a lot of fun on the bike and was able to ride very strongly in the off-road sections. I knew the start would be very important and I managed to get the holeshot. I put in some quick laps and even set the fastest lap of the race on lap five to open an advantage.
“Unfortunately, I misjudged a backmarker on lap eight and slid off but I was quick to remount behind Chareyre in second. We battled for a couple of laps and then I got back in front to win the race. I’m so happy to have taken the victory and to do it on the FS 450 is just perfect.”
Improving his speed during each of Sunday’s three official timed practice sessions, Febvre topped the timesheets at the end of the final session with a 1m02.245, but with the top five riders all finishing on the same second it was clear that the main race was going to be a close run event.
With rain ensuring track conditions would be anything but easy, Febvre grabbed the crucial holeshot on his FS 450. Immediately settling into the race and riding strong on the tricky off road sections, the Husqvarna rider opened up a slender gap at the head of the field.
Setting the fastest lap of the race on lap five, the Frenchman looked comfortable out front. But on lap eight of 29, he ran into trouble when trying to find his way around a back marker and slid off.
Remounting in second behind FIM Supermoto World Champion Thomas Chareyre, Febvre battled hard with him for the lead. Taking control of the race lead as they passed the midway point, Febvre remained mistake free on his FS 450 to claim the chequered flag.
Other established international motocross riders in the field included MXGP conmtender Jeremy van Horebeek in sixth, plus American legends Jeff Ward (13th) and Micky Dymond (25th) – both experienced supermoto campaigners.
2014 Mettet Superbiker results:
1. Romain Febvre
2. Thomas Chareyre
3. Christian Ravaglia
4. Mauno Hermunen
5. Devon Vermeulen
6. Jeremy van Horebeek
7. Andrea Occhini
8. Waren Bougard
9. Cedric Melotte
10. David Baffeleuf