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International Motocross - Mantova, Italy

International of Italy : Pichon New Motocross Duke

Mickael Pichon It was a beautiful day of sport and emotions in Mantova, where the International of Italy StarCross took place. Mickael Pichon (pictued right) gained the points victory at the end of three hard-fought heats, repeating the success of the Grand Prix of Italy 2000. There was also spectacular racing from Stefan Everts, who scored two race wins, while Andrea Bartolini completed the podium.

7000 spectators basked in the sunshine to witness exciting racing in Mantova, Mickael Pichon took the overall victory - he took Saturday’s first ever ‘superpole’ in the history of the discipline.

In the first moto, Andrea Bartolini, on the Yamaha 450cc, gave the Italian fans something to cheer when he held the lead for the first two laps. He was then passed by Pichon in the downhill zone of the parabolic high curve. A mass crash at the start had already claimed Everts, Joel Smets and Pit Beirer. While Pichon quickened his pace to win by 34 seconds ahead of Bartolini, an excellent ride by Brian Jorgensen (Honda 450cc) saw the Dane claim third position. Everts and Smets (with the KTM 450cc) were meanwhile recovering from their early crash to finish seventh and eighth repectively.

The second race was arguably the most exciting, thanks to the fantastic show by Mickael Pichon. The Frenchman had clipped the back wheel of Everts’ Yamaha which stopped him in his tracks, although he did not fall. Pichon soon restarted and was sixth at the end of the first lap. Everts and Smets were way ahead setting the pace at the front, followed by Jorgensen. By the third lap the French rider was already fourth, while Smets (who was using his KTM 520cc in this race) stopped when his drive broke.

The stage was now set for the final race to decide the overall outcome.

The final race started with four riders capable of taking the overall, Pichon, Everts, Bartolini and Jorgensen. Everts made another impeccable start, followed by Smets and Pichon. The six- times world champion held his lead until the tenth lap when a small mistake allowed Smets through to take the lead. But it wasn’t all over, because a few turns later, Smets once again pulled up with a mechanical fault - it was a black day for the Belgian.

Everts held off Pichon to take the win but it was the Frenchman who took the overall honours - Everts’ first race crash had cost him dear.
Andrea Bartolini finished in fifth place which gave him third overall on the day, probably the last podium of his career in the Open class.

Results International of Italy- Starcross 2003

Heat 1
1. Pichon (Suzuki/Fra) after 11 giri;
2. Bartolini (Yamaha/Ita) + 34”;
3. Jorgensen (Honda/Den) +57“33;
4. Jelen (Honda/Slo) +1’04“71;
5. Gundersen (Kawasaki/Nor) +1’07”64;
6. Parker (KTM/Usa) + 1’23“01.
7. Everts (Yamaha /Bel) +1’24“62;
8. Smets (KTM/Bel) +1’25“15;
9. Eckenbach (KTM/Ger) +1’26“18;
10. A.Leok (Honda/Est) + 1’30 »06.

Heat 2
1. Everts (Yamaha /Bel) after 11 giri;
2. Jorgensen (Honda/Den) +18“64;
3. Pichon (Suzuki/Fra) +23”93;
4. Beirer (KTM/Ger) + 27”80;
5. Bartolini (Yamaha/Ita) + 51”62;
6. Melotte (Honda/Bel) +1’13”22;
7. Jelen (Honda/Slo) +1’15”10;
8. Charlier (KTM/Ch) +1’16”08;
9. Iven (KTM/Bel) +1’18”80;
10. Gundersen (Kawasaki/Nor) + 1’19“51.

Heat 3
1. Everts (Yamaha /Bel) after 11 giri;
2. Pichon (Suzuki/Fra) +3”7;
3. Beirer (KTM/Ger) + 21’42“;
4. Parker (KTM/Usa) + 36“82;
5. Bartolini (Yamaha/Ita) +38”67;
6. Jelen (Honda/Slo) +1’04“07;
7. Iven (KTM/Bel) +1’11“50;
8. Priem (KTM/Bel) +1’15“41;
9. Jorgensen (Honda/Den) +1’20“12;
10. Cappellini (Suzuki/Ita) +2’06”14.

1. Pichon 67 points; 2. Everts 64 ; 3. Bartolini 54 ; 4. Jorgensen 54 ; 5. Jelen 47; 6. Beirer 38; 7. Parker 33; 8. Iven 30; 9. Charlier 27; 10. Gundersen 27.

The podium at Mantova
The podium at Mantova

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