Josh Coppins won Sunday's Grand Prix of Northern Ireland to end Stefan Everts' unbeaten 2006 run - and at least delay the ten-times world champion's 100th victory celebrations.

The 29-year-old Kiwi, whose 2006 title aspirations were ended by a shoulder injury even before round one, qualified on pole position at Desertmartin in Saturday's timed practice session and looked confident with the set-up of his CAS Honda.

The first MX1 moto got underway with Suzuki's Steve Ramon taking an early lead before Everts and Coppins soon moved to the front. Coppins fought hard to keep his Belgian rival within striking distance and hounded Everts right to the chequered flag with less than a second separating the two.

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Despite the loss, Coppins could take the overall with victory in race two and started perfectly - grabbing the holeshot and building a three second lead over Everts. But the Belgian legend, who will retire at the end of this season and hand his factory Yamaha seat to Coppins, took advantage of a fallen rider on the whoop section to take the lead.

However Coppins fought back and dived for the lead three laps later, then gradually pulled away from the #72. Battling flat out, the pair lapped up to third position and the backmarkers added to an already tense face-off. Entering the last ten minutes Everts eased his speed, unable to match Coppins' pace and Josh became only the third rider to prize a moto victory away from Everts this season - and the only man to defeat Stefan overall.

"What an unbelievable weekend!" smiled an elated Coppins. "With such a bad start to the season I had to set new goals and one of them was to win a GP before the end of the year and I achieved that today. I had a decent first moto but I found that some of the backmarkers were probably not used to having someone with Stefan when he comes through, so they were just heading back onto the line and blocking me.

"In the second race I gave everything I had because I wanted that win. I had the holeshot and pushed really hard. I had a lead of three seconds but I knew he would come back at me. I slowed down and started breathing a little bit better. I followed him and watched his lines and I knew I would be able to get back in front. Once I had the lead I saw the pit-board tell me that the time between us was increasing. After nine seconds I knew there was no way he could come back so I just kept pushing and was so happy to win!" concluded Coppins, who has finished on the podium in all six GPs since his return from injury.

"What a day! Josh took the race right to Stefan and we are over-the-moon with the result," added Honda Europe's Off-road co-ordinator Roger Harvey. "It looked close in the first race and the second was phenomenal. The greatest respect to Josh for taking on Stefan around a track as rough as that."

Everts was visibly disappointed to see his unbeaten run come to a close - but has every intention of winning his 100th GP in the two remaining rounds.

"It has been a tough race," said Stefan. "The track was hard. The first race was exciting and in the second Josh was so fast. At one point I could not stay with him anymore and physically I was finished. I think that we had the same speed but he was a bit stronger so I decided to go for a safe second towards the end. I am happy for Josh, he has been working hard for this. Of course I am a bit disappointed to lose but I still have two more chances to reach 100."

"It has been a long time since we have lost and this was a situation we were very used to!" admitted Yamaha Intur Sports racing manager Carlo Rinaldi. "Second place overall is by no means a bad result and our moto classifications were the same as Josh's, but he deserved to win because in the second race he seemed more physically prepared than Stefan. Towards the end of the second moto Stefan struggled to keep the rhythm. It is a pity because we very much wanted to take the 100th win this weekend but I hope it is only delayed by one week or maximum to Ernee. In the meantime we have won the manufacturer's title which is important for Yamaha."

Coppins' team-mate Ken de Dycker took third overall with 3-4 moto finishes.

In the MX1 World Championship standings the top five is still in the same order - Everts, Strijbos, Ramon, de Dycker and Leok - but de Dycker is only nine points behind Ramon. Meanwhile, Coppins took a big step forward, moving from tenth to seventh, behind Barragan.

In the MX2 class, Tyla Rattray produced a remarkable ride to win both races and thus the overall victory - his first in almost four months - despite a recent shoulder injury sustained during practice for an AMA race.

"In the first moto I got the holeshot which I was really happy about. Sebastien (Pourcel) passed me but after about a lap I got him back. I upped my pace and eventually made a gap. I had a pretty big crash at one stage and scared myself a bit," said the South African. "In the second moto I again got into the lead on the first lap and put my head down. I pushed hard to breakaway from Marc (de Reuver) in second. Overall it was a good day. I feel that I am back to 100% with my riding and my fitness."

World championship leader Christophe Pourcel took second overall with 3-4 finishes with reigning world champion Antonio Cairoli third after 2-7 results, increasing Pourcel's title lead to 28 points.

The penultimate round of the 2006 MX1 and MX2 World Championships will take place in just one week's time in the deep sand of Lierop for the Grand Prix of the Netherlands.