Mickael Pichon made a sweet return to World Championship motocross today by winning the Grand Prix of Wallonie at a showery and chilly Nismes circuit in southern Belgium.

In front of 21,000 spectators (total for the weekend) the former double 250cc World Champ and 2004 MX1 runner-up went 1-2 in the two 35 minute plus motos at the twelfth round of the 2005 FIM series to capture his second overall success of the season for the Martin Honda team.

CAS Honda representative Josh Coppins stood next to him on the podium and his spectacularly-earned runner-up spot meant another point deducted from the advantage currently held by standings leader Stefan Everts, who was third overall for L&M Yamaha.

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The first moto saw Pichon pass hole shotter Brian Jorgensen on the third lap and then stretch away to a fairly straightforward victory.

Meanwhile, Coppins would carve past Jorgensen and privateer Pascal Leuret in a thrilling mini-battle before slowly chipping away at Pichon's lead, but he could never get close enough to challenge the Frenchman. Leuret went on complete another fantastic ride on a stock Honda to collect his second top three finish of the season.

Not having such a good start to the day was Everts, who had fallen early on and had to fight his way up from 26th to sixth, allowing Coppins to gain a further six points over the Belgian in the championship standings.

However, the start of race two would see Coppins and Leuret caught up in a turn two tangle that left them towards the back of the field, while Pichon was again up front - but this time under pressure from Everts.

But while Pichon and Everts headed the field, Coppins embarked on one of the most impressive rides of the season as he fought back from last position to eleventh by the end of the first lap and then proceeded to climb to third throughout the duration of the moto, constantly setting the fastest lap-time of the race.

Everts overtook Pichon with five laps to run before going on to claim his first moto win since England, and claw back most of the earlier points lost to Coppins, while the Frenchman soon fell into the clutches of the New Zealander, who had closed down a five-second gap to set-up a grandstand finish.

Only a small mistake while on the back of the Martin rider's rear wheel on the last lap prevented Coppins snatching second, but he still took second overall behind Pichon and in front of Everts.

Leuret was able to rally to ninth spot and his overall score was slightly better than Sarholz Honda rider Ken De Dycker who equalled his season-best finish with fourth position in the second moto (he took the same placing at Zolder).

"I'm happy and first of all I want to thank the guys in the team as they kept on working really hard on the bike during my absence," smiled Pichon. "I was happy yesterday to see that they solved the problems we had earlier this season at the start and today I got two good starts and had the lead. It was so important to start well here!

"The track was not as demanding physically as I thought, and even if I had some arm pump in the first race it was not too difficult. I'm happy to come back, I wanted to race here as we are close to the French border and it's almost a home GP for me; it's a nice track, technical, and finally we were quite lucky with the weather because it could have been worse. Both Stefan and Joshua had some bad luck it was a good opportunity for me to win my second GP of the season," he added.

In the MX2 class, Antonio Cairoli - who was fastest in qualifying - got both holeshots and went on to take an easy race one win, before facing severe pressure from fellow Yamaha rider Cedric Melotte in race two.

Second in the first heat, David Philippaerts had a bad start in the second and finished seventh, missing the overall podium by one point! Instead, world championship leader Andrew McFarlane collected a second and a fourth; giving him second overall, he conceded twelve points in Wallonie to Cairoli and now leads the series by twelve with five GPs to go.

"In the first race I think Guarneri helped me as he wasn't so fast," began Antonio. "But he had a good start and held up the others in second position for a few laps, so when Philippaerts came second I was far away and won easily. The second race was much more difficult, but I really like to have a strong rival; then you feel more adrenaline and I enjoy jumping alongside my rivals!

"Cedric was really fast in this heat and for the championship its good to see him in second place today as he is not a title contender. I always like soft tracks and in the mud I have no problems too; next week we go to Loket, that's the place were I won my first heat last year and it's my favourite track of the series," he warned.