11 June 2006
Everts, Philippaerts triumph in Italy.
The list of adjectives to describe MX1 World Championship leader Stefan Everts is growing perilously short after the reigning number one maintained his 100% record by winning his final Grand Prix of Italy, in front of 26,000 fans, at Montevarchi on Sunday.
The 33 year old claimed both motos to stretch his haul of consecutive victories to eleven, and seven from seven grand prix. His career total now stands at a phenomenal 94 and he has eight remaining rounds from which to reach a magical ten world titles and 100 wins before retiring at the end of the season.
Everts claimed his second pole position of the season and his second inside one week on Saturday with a lap-time over a second quicker than nearest pursuer, Suzuki's Kevin Strijbos. The result of the timed practice then ran straight into the first moto where the Belgian enjoyed the holeshot and promptly set his own pace ahead of the Suzuki representative. Despite running close together Everts was again faultless and stretched his run of consecutive moto victories to ten.
The Montevarchi course was dry, fast and twisty under sunshine and windy conditions but the Yamaha Intur Sports representative proved that he is a true master of all terrain by leading both races from start to finish. He was handicapped slightly by a cracked exhaust in the second heat - his YZ450FM was extremely close to exceeding noise limits - and Everts had to weather an even fiercer attack from young Strijbos, but he reeled off a series of laps at a crucial stage to again break his countryman.
"I don't get bored with winning because every race is a hard job!" smiled Stefan. "Kevin did well today to put some pressure on me, especially in the second moto. He is keeping me focussed lately and I have to keep pushing to stay in front. It was a good close race for the crowd. It is not coming that easily for me. Every weekend is a new challenge, there are still many races to go and I want to stay in good shape."
CAS Honda's Ken de Dycker was nearest to Everts and Strijbos in race one, with Kawasaki's Tanel Leok claiming third in race two - but it was Kevin's Suzuki team-mate Steve Ramon who took third overall, after two fourth place finishes.
Meanwhile, the most exciting races of the day were, once again, in the MX2 class, where home heroes David Philippaerts and world champion Antonio Cairoli battled for supremacy.
The first outing saw Philippaerts pass KTM team-mate Tyla Rattray for the lead, but Cairoli was also closing fast on the South African and - following a thrilling fight - was able to demote him a further position. Toni then gave his all to catch Philippaerts - but crossed the finish line just 0.6secs behind. Third place went to Kawasaki's Sebastien Pourcel, with his brother - and world championship leader - Christophe fourth and Rattray slipping to fifth after suffering arm pump.
The second race saw Philippaerts set off like a rocket to be leading by some four seconds by the second lap - but seemed to have chucked a potential 'double' out of the window when he crashed one circulation later, dropping him to seventh. That gave Rui Goncalves the lead, followed by Cairoli and Christophe Pourcel.
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