RJ Says: Bercy Supercross

Published October 22nd, 2010

I have raced at the Bercy Supercross. In 1984, we actually raced it twice. The first race was right after the Daytona Supercross in March, and then we raced again at Bercy in December.

The very first year was cool. But the track was an unknown. When we (the top American Supercross racers) got there, we realized they (the organizers) didn’t know fully how to put on a supercross. The track was so narrow, it was hard to pass, it was a ‘European’ supercross.

But also that first year, I realized how awesome a ‘show’ can be. Their show was awesome in Bercy! All of us were surprised at how great it was!

My very first thought though, the first time I got to Bercy: “Wow, this is a small track!” But I raced there again in 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, and 1989. I’ve also gone another time after I retired from professional supercross and motocross racing.

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Bercy 2009

For the fans that have never been there – the greatest thing to me about the Bercy Supercross is that it is right in the middle of one of the greatest cities in the world – Paris. Bercy is a section of Paris, but it is great. The train station stops right near the Palais Omnisports de Bercy. You can go to famous art districts. You can go to shopping districts. You can see the Eiffel Tower, you can go to one of the famous streets/areas in the world – The Champs-Élysées.

You can get a lot of culture there, while just attending a supercross as well. That is such a cool aspect about Bercy.

A lot of times when you go to a supercross or especially a motocross, you could be in a small town with not a lot to see. But when you fly into Paris, especially if you are an American fan, I recommend a ‘trip’ out of it.

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DV – David Vuillemin, 2000

Go before the race. Get acclimated to the time change. Enjoy the city for all it’s worth. Learn about the culture. Enjoy the culture. You are a visitor in a foreign country. Soak it in. Try to live and enjoy your time just like the French do. Break your ‘American’ habits. Try something uniquely French. If you do that, you learn to appreciate how others live.

The problem with America and Americans – we are used to anything, anytime, anywhere. In Europe, it’s just not that way. Stay some time after the race too if you can.

Now, onto the race – expect a ‘show’ like you can’t believe! The closest thing to it in America was the US Open supercross back in the day. It is very hard to make the show that Bercy does in America at a supercross, because Bercy is actually an arena. They are able to control the sound, the lights, … every aspect possible to make the ‘show’ better. It’s just hard to duplicate in America, especially inside a major stadium supercross venue. The do everything they can to make a spectacular show.

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Sebastien Tortelli, 2000, on Honda

The track is right up against the stands, so it’s an exciting place to watch a race – close up.

As a racer, there is really two ways to go about approaching Bercy Supercross.

If you go strictly as a ‘racer’, which I have done, I don’t even try to get acclimated to the time change, because I’m racing late at night. I’m already fully awake. Because I have slept most of the day! I would miss breakfast, eat a late lunch, because I’m still operating on my California time zone, which is nine hours earlier.

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Jeremy McGrath, Bercy 2000

If you go there strictly as a racer, don’t go sight-seeing. Don’t do anything ‘fun’ until after the race. Stay focused on the race. One thing I learned to do was keep food in my hotel room so I could eat when I want, especially very late at night. If you want to enjoy the city, do it after the racing is complete.

As a racer, if you want to approach it in the second way (and I did this too), get to Paris a few days early. Get acclimated to the time change. Tour around during the day in the city to relax. When it’s time for race days, get to the arena in the afternoon, get warmed up, and get ready to race.

And for a racer, if you’ve ever done arenacross, get ready for that, because Bercy is like that – tight.

This year’s Bercy Supercross is November 19, 20, and 21.

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Chad Reed on Kawasaki, 2000

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2-time World Motocross Champion Steve Ramon on Kawasaki, 2000

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Brett Metcalfe on KTM, 2000

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Me and JMB

A little transition. Some of you know, some of you don’t know, but I’ve pursued a 4 wheel racing career since retiring from professional supercross and motocross racing. I still ride though.

I will be racing the Baja 1000, on a motorcycle, in class 40 – which means over 40 years old, with a good group of guys.

In my off road truck racing career, I’ve been focusing on trying to win the TORC series (TORC stands for The Off Road Championship).

It’s been a challenging year in TORC. Rob MacCachren was my main competitor. He won the championship last year. It came down to the final race this season in Crandon, Wisconsin for this year’s championship. There are two days of racing – Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, I was able to pass Rob on the last lap, and stretch out our points lead to seven. On Sunday, I had to finish ahead of Rob, or right behind him, to clinch the championship. I was able to finish in front of him (I finished in second), and we won the championship.

Off road truck racing …. it’s like having a Sprint Car, except you can jump 150 feet. 900 horsepower. That’s what Jeremy McGrath and I have been doing since we retired from supercross and motocross racing.

This video might give you a taste of what TORC and off road truck racing is all about (video courtesy Red Bull):

RJ

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