Things got heated both on and off the Palais Omnisport racetrack Saturday but at the end of a raucous day in Paris GEICO Honda rider Eli Tomac turned in a strong second-place finish in the main event of the 29th annual Supercross of Bercy to fall into a tie with Kyle Chisholm for the “King of Bercy” title.
Tomac had a mid-pack start but quickly picked his way through the crowd and up to third place where he stayed for a few laps before leader Mike Alessi got stuck behind some hay bales. Chisholm and Tomac zipped by and stayed first and second for the duration of the race. Tomac was shaving time off Chisholm’s lead but ran out of laps to catch him, finishing 3.7-seconds back.
“Today was a much harder ride,” Tomac said. “The dirt is so sticky and it grabs the bike. I almost ate it a few times. I got stretched out and got arm-pump near the end because I was sliding so far back on the seat and my arms were straight out. Endurance-wise, I’m fine; it was just my arms.”
Combined with Friday’s victory, Tomac now has three points in the “King of Bercy” standings. Chisholm was second Friday, so he also has three points after Saturday’s win. Sunday’s finale will determine the overall winner. Whoever finishes better will take the crown.
“Kyle rode well and we’ll both be going for it tomorrow,” Tomac said. “It’s exciting to be in this position. It would be great to close it out with another win and be ‘King of Bercy.'”
Although the main event was thrilling, it was earlier action between GEICO Honda pro Justin Barcia and Frenchman Greg Aranda that whipped the overflow crowd into a frenzy.
Riding in one of the earlier tests, Barcia and Aranda got together with Barcia going down and getting hit by a few other riders. Upset by the incident, Barcia stayed on the track and waited for Aranda to make a circuit before riding him off the course in retribution. Aranda and Barcia were then separated by security as they exited the track.
“I felt that he rode recklessly,” Barcia said. “He came from one side of the track all the way over to the other side and just cleaned me out. I was really mad and then I did something stupid waiting for him and blocking his way. It wasn’t the right thing to do.”
Both riders were fined 500 euros and given warnings about aggressive riding. Later, after the podium ceremony, the two addressed the crowd together and apologized for their actions, although Barcia’s interview was drowned out by the irate crowd.
“The fans deserve to be upset,” said Barcia, whose bike was damaged enough that he couldn’t race in the main event. “They want to see us ride and tomorrow this will all be water under the bridge and we’ll give them a great show. No hard feelings; it’s over as far as we’re concerned.”
Sunday’s action begins at 3 p.m.