The Paris-Bercy Supercross, the longest-running Supercross event in Europe, is in the final stages of preparation for its 2006 edition, to be held from November 10-12.

For the last four of its 23 years, Bercy has focussed exclusively on the MX2 (250cc four-strokes and 125cc two-strokes) class, with top MX1 class stars such as David Vuillemin, Mickael Pichon and Sebastien Tortelli accepting the challenge of stepping down to the 250F machines and taking on rising stars from around the world.

For 2006, Bercy will invite six American racers, six 'Rest of the World' competitors and six French riders, who will then be joined by another six riders straight from the SX Tour National race that opens every night.

In addition to the individual 'King of Bercy' honours, and the biggest purse in MX2 racing, the top three finishers from each team will determine which 'Nation' will be joining four Team USA plates already screwed on the prestigious OCD-designed Trophy.

The full rider line-up won't be finalised until after the US Open but some big names are already confirmed - including Vuillemin, the 'King of the Kings of Bercy'. "Winning Bercy on the 250F was actually harder in some ways than when I beat (Jeremy) McGrath on our regular bikes there! I know it won't be easy but I will prepare well with my new Team, MDK, on a Honda, and hopefully show who the boss (still) is in Bercy!"

Also leading the French charge will be 2006 MX2 Motocross world champion Christophe Pourcel. 'Cri' has only raced Bercy once, as a junior, but he is confident of his Supercross ability. "I have a Supercross track that I practice a lot on, and I will arrive to Bercy straight from California with parts developed with Kawasaki and Pro Circuit there, so I know I'll be on good Supercross equipment," said the youngest Pourcel (Sebastien, his older brother, will also be a member of Team France, along with Benjamin Coisy and two others).

Leading the 'Rest of the World' team will be Yamaha DeCarli's Antonio Cairoli (pictured with Christophe Pourcel) the 2005 MX2 world champion and Pourcel's closest rival during a hard-fought 2006 grand prix season. Although he has less Supercross experience than the other top Bercy contenders, the Italian has a good riding style for Supercross and is eager to confront some serious competition:

"I have raced Supercross in Italy before, and the promoter has arranged some Supercross training in the South of France with Didier Vuillemin so I might go there and come prepared for Supercross... It would be sweet for sure to beat Christophe in Paris after having lost the MX2 championship to him!" admitted the likeable Antonio.

Other foreign racers will include Kawasaki Australia's Dan Reardon, Honda Canada's Jean-Sebastien Roy, MD Racing's Alexandre Rouis, French SX1 champion, while the promoter is waiting for confirmations from new KTM USA rider Martin Davalos, KTM Germany's Markus Schiffer, KTM Australia's Ryan Marmont, KTM silver Action's Rui Goncalves, Yamaha Brazil Antonio Balbi and a few others to complete the Rest of the world list...

Meanwhile, with Team USA's natural leader, two-time Bercy King Andrew Short, unfortunately hurt, KTM's Mike Alessi - outrageously ambushed by French riders during last year's event - has bravely decided to return and in doing so will become the most experienced US rider at the event. "I have always raced hard and given my best in Bercy, coming 'short', so to speak, twice. This race is important to me and I want to become King this time, hopefully helping Team USA to keep the trophy in the process," said the 2006 AMA Motocross Lites' championship runner-up.

American Honda's newest recruit, Tommy Hahn, will fill in for Andrew Short and Team Factory Connection will send two of its best members. If recovered from injury, Mike Alessi's younger brother Jeff - also involved in the 2005 fracas - will also return. Josh Hansen, Mike Brown, Jason Lawrence, Zach Osbourne, to name a few, complete the promoter's Team USA short list.

The SX Tour, to be credited with a renewal of young French SX talent, always gives intense racing to the sold-out Bercy crowd. 2006 leaders of the SX Tour series are Kawasaki's Marvin Musquin, KTM France's Kounsith Vongsana, and Maxime Lesage, on a Honda.

Bercy will also feature, for the first time, an 85cc race where the top 10 of the French 85cc SX championship will participate on the actual track (altered if necessary) for championship points. Two top young 85cc European specialists will be invited to keep the international flavour of the Event.

Meanwhile, the famous freestyle show will once again return with Swiss Mat Rebeaud, Spain's Dani Torres, Japan's Aigo Sato, the King of Whips, America's Ronnie Renner, and France's Remi Bizouard confirmed.