Everts battles to fourth
RaceStefan Everts showed why he is a six times world champion by charging through the field to finish fourth in the Motocross Grand Prix of Europe at the Teutschenthal circuit in Germany.
The Yamaha L&M Motocross Team rider had been in sensational form during qualifying, setting pole position on his factory YZ450FM, but Everts made a poor start and found himself mid-pack. The Belgian produced a remarkable ride on a circuit where passing is at a premium, but was unable to catch the leading group of riders and was forced to settle for fourth at the chequered flag, a result that moves him up to third in the championship.
Everts team-mate and fellow countryman Marnicq Bervoets finished fifth to score his first points of the 2003 campaign. The luckless Belgian had been low on confidence after crashing out of both the previous rounds. This was compounded by an uncharacteristically low 20th position in qualifying but, despite this, Marnicq displayed his experience and professionalism with a gritty ride to restore some of his inner belief.
Italian rider Claudio Federici was seventh on his production YZ450F, despite losing several places when he stalled his engine mid-race. Mickael Pichon (Suzuki) won the race to extend his lead at the top of the championship. He leads Joel Smets (KTM) by 11 points. Everts is third on 50 points.
Stefan Everts Yamaha L&M Motocross Team (Fourth)
I was really focused on winning here after the disappointment of Holland and when I set pole position yesterday I felt confident it was possible, particularly as a good choice of gate here is so important, but I blew it at the start. The ground is really grippy and I think I grabbed the clutch when the front wheel started to lift. I think I was in the third wave of riders going into the first corner and this is not the place to pass a lot of riders quickly. I was amazed at how soon I caught up to Smets in fourth place but we got held up by Brian Jorgensen and the leaders were getting away. In the end we both passed him but I was starting to ride really stiff and couldn't go with Joel.
The good thing that I have learned today is that it is not just down to Pichon and myself for the championship. I have four weeks to turn my form around, but I know that when I start winning there are other riders who can also take points off Pichon.
Marnicq Bervoets Yamaha L&M Motocross Team (Fifth)
I got a good start but was still only eighth leaving the first turn, but from my outside gate that is better than I could have dreamed of. I got stuck behind Federici for a time, but once I got past I was lacking a little confidence after my recent poor form and that little bit was still missing. But at least things are looking up and I finally got some points.
Claudio Federici Team Yamaha De Carli (Seventh)
I got a really good start, as I have done all season, but the track was slippery as they had watered it, so I was riding quite carefully. That's why I didn't fight too hard when Smets and Everts came past. It was more important for me not to do anything silly, except I killed the motor in a turn and lost three places. After that I needed a few minutes to get back my rhythm - it is always even more difficult when it is hot weather - but I was pleased with my form in the final laps. I got back past Cooper and Gundersen but ran out of time to add Jörgensen.