Reigning MX1 World Champion Stefan Everts continued his perfect 2006 GP sweep in Sunday's Grand Prix of Great Britain - round eight of the series - but the Belgian legend was at least made to work hard after suffering a race two fall.
Everts had claimed his second pole position in a row on Saturday on the brand new, but very dry and dusty, Matterley Basin track. Track conditions fortunately improved for Sunday, when 39,000 fans lined the future Motocross of Nations circuit to see their heroes do battle.
The first MX1 race saw 2005 championship runner-up Josh Coppins take the holeshot on his comeback ride, but it was Suzuki's Steve Ramon who grabbed the initial advantage - before promptly falling in front of Coppins and allowing Everts into the lead.
The nine times champion then built a characteristic advantage while countryman Ken de Dycker just took second from CAS Honda team-mate Coppins after a tough battle that went right to the final corner, with Suzuki's Kevin Strijbos fourth.
The second moto looked like being another easy Everts win as the Yamaha star enjoyed an early lead - but then fell on lap five, dropping him back to fifth behind Ramon, Strijbos, Kawasaki's Tanel Leok (sixth in race one) and Coppins.
Stefan pushed past Coppins within a few turns, but then took five laps to put a block pass on Leok. The Suzuki team-mates were next in his sights and, having failed to pull away during the #72's rare mistake, were soon punished by being passed with ease - although Strijbos mounted something of a late counter attack on his way to second, ahead of long time leader Ramon.
"I hit a rock with my frame, the back wheel came out of the rut and I slid out," explained Everts. "Josh passed me immediately but I was aggressive and got him back quickly. I was chasing Tanel but I was having a hard time around the first part of the track because it was so fast and the roosts coming up from all the dust made it difficult to see the lines. I made my way through one by one and then pushed quite hard to have a small gap after a few laps. I managed to bring my Yamaha to the chequered flag first and again I am very happy. After the small crash it made a good show for the fans and I was pleased with how I could still take the race."
"I only started riding eighteen days ago," revealed Coppins, "and I am not 100% fit at the moment: first moto was not so bad but I was not so smooth on the bike; second moto was tough, I broke my goggles and had a lot of dirt in my eyes. All in all, it wasn't a bad comeback."
Everts now leads the Championship by 99 points which gives him an advantage of almost two grand prix with only seven left to run. The Belgian is also still firmly on course to reach 100 career victories and presently has 95.