In a fairly unexpected start to the race, Jeffrey Herlings was out of the gate for the holeshot, followed by the two Kawasaki’s of Valentin Teillet and Tommy Searle. Close behind were a gaggle of KTMs piloted by Butron, Tixier and Van Horebeek. It didn’t take TS100 long to get past Teillet to take second and set off after Herlings. Van Horebeek was also on a charge and started to pick off his team mates to move up the field. Tommy’s pressure on Herlings speeded them both round the course and they soon developed a sizeable gap to third place.
Searle was able to keep the pressure on the KTM to eventually get past and start to try to build up a gap, but Herlings was not about to give p without a fight. Van Horebeek was about nine seconds behind at this point. With one lap to go Herlings was only a few bike lengths away from snatching the win, but Tommy kept strong. At the top of the second to last downhill a backmarker delayed Herlings and his challenge was over. Searle took the chequers from Herlings, Van Horebeek, Teillet, and Tixier. Anstie came in 9th, Nicholls in 12th and Banks Browne was clearly suffering with his hand injury in 37th place.
This race had all the potential for a huge crowd pleaser with so many talented French riders on the line. And it certainly did not disappoint as when the gate dropped it was Christophe Pourcel ahead of Gautier Paulin and Sebastian Pourcel. At the start of lap two Cairoli was in fourth place ahead of DeSalle, Phillipaerts, Boog, Goncalves and Bobryshev and had the look of a guy on the move.
Sure enough, TC222 was able to reel in Seb Pourcel and set his sights on the two Frenchmen ahead of him. Yet it was clear that he was pushing just a little too hard as on the right hand corner just after the finish line, the Sicilians front end tucked under and left him on the floor in front of the delighted French fans. DeSalle was able to slip through as Cairoli remounted.
Behind the leading pack, Honda’s Evgeny Bobryshev was making purposeful progress, picking off riders methodically as the race war on.
Relieved from the pressure of a charging Cairoli, Pourcel and Paulin were able to consolidate their places at the front, and to the massive approval of the crowd, CP 377 took the win ahead of Paulin, with Desalle holding onto third from Cairoli, Bobryshev and Seb Pourcel in 6th. Boog dropped back to 8th by the end, but with four of their riders in the top ten, the St Jean D’Angely crowd were well pleased with the day.
Shaun Simpson recorded a 16th place, Jamie Law 24th and Alfie Smith 25th.
If the qualifying results hold true tomorrow, we are set for a classic race – a win for Searle and Christophe Pourcel would blow the roof off!
In a fantastically hard fought EMX2 race, Mel Pocock lead from start to finish for a fantastically mature win. To start with second place was held by KTM’s Samuele Bernadini, but he was rapidly overhauled by Home rider, and qualifying heat 1 winner Maxime Despres. The Kawasaki tried everything he had to catch Mel, but the British rider held firm and stayed in front. Even when Despres squeezed past on the top section of the circuit, Pocock simply dropped a cog and took him straight pack. The final laps could not some soon enough for the Brits in the crowd, and as back markers looked like the result was turning Frances, Mel kept his nerve. By the final corner, Maxime was right in Pocock rear fender and doubtless expecting to dive on the inside line of Pocock, who had been going wide all race. But with the calmness of GP Champion, Mel went tight and shut the doo. , momentarily parking the Kawasaki. After that it was straight for the finish line, the gas flares and the chequered flag – a fantastic win.
No complete results as of yet as internet has gone down at the track.
Words Julian Challis
Images by Ray Chuss