Everts and Yamaha are world champions!
RaceStefan Everts (Yamaha L&M Motocross Team) rewrote the record books by clinching his seventh world title and the manufacturers world title for Yamaha - with a win in the Czech Motocross Grand Prix in Loket today.
Everts arrived in Loket with a healthy 15 point lead over championship rival and fellow Belgian Joel Smets (KTM), but few had expected the title to be decided before the final round. Such has been Smets consistency that it seemed unlikely the Yamaha man would gain the ten point advantage he needed to clinch the title with a round to go.
From the gate Everts shot into a lead he wouldnt lose, while behind him Smets was caught up in a first corner melee. The KTM man fought back to climb up to fifth a result that would have seen him take the championship to France in two weeks time but a double crash on lap ten crushed his hopes and he finished a distant tenth. There was some good news for Smets however. Later in the day he clinched the 650cc title.
Having won the earlier 125GP, Everts record tally of wins has now been extended to 69GP victories and seven world titles. To put his results into perspective, the next best rider of all-time is the legendary Joel Robert, with 50 wins and six world titles. Having won the 2001 and 2002 500cc championships it was also Everts third successive world title with Yamaha.
Team-mate Marnicq Bervoets finished second to complete a historic day for the Yamaha L&M Motocross Team. It was Bervoets first podium finish in an otherwise troublesome year for the experienced Belgian, but he avoided the first lap carnage and rode a smooth race to pick off early pace-setter Andrew McFarlane (Kawasaki) and eventual third placed man Brian Jorgensen (Honda). Claudio Federici (Yamaha De Carli Team) rode strongly in a fierce mid-pack battle to claim seventh.
Stefan Everts (Yamaha L&M Motocross Team) - first
This is something I have been working for since I started GPs in 1989 - to be seven times world champion, to win more than anybody else. Even now it is only just starting to sink in, but in a few more days I guess I will finally realise that my dream has come true. I made another great start and pushed really hard early on to open up a gap; I wanted to break the opposition immediately but I didnt know what was happening behind me.
Early on I knew Smets was battling with McFarlane and Jorgensen but my team didn't signal me he was way back in 10th. It was only right at the finish that I knew I was already the champion I always thought it would be decided in two weeks time. The first clue I got was on the last lap when they put seven times champion" on my pitboard, but I was still so involved in the race that I didnt realise. It was only when I saw the victory T-shirts and champagne that I said to myself Great, I did it !
Marnicq Bervoets (Yamaha L&M Motocross Team) - second
That result has been a long time coming, and what a day to do, the same day Stefan clinched his seventh title. I've been riding well for the last few GPs but there always seemed to be something happening to me. But I knew it was only a matter of time, and I felt so good all weekend. I made a good start and I saw immediately that I could pull back the couple of guys ahead of me except for Stefan, so I was riding much looser. I don't see any reason why I shouldn't get on the podium again in France.
Carlo Rinaldi, Team Manager, Yamaha L&M Motocross Team
"What a perfect day! We did not expect to win the championship today but Stefan rode so well. He was so smooth from start to finish while Smets made a mistake, but motocross is all about not making mistakes. This is a great achievement for Stefan, Yamaha and everyone involved with the team."
Claudio Federici (Yamaha De Carli Team) - seventh
I made a great start and had a good battle with Smets, Caps and Coppins. But the pace was really hot today and in the end seventh was all I could manage.