Supercross landed firmly in Europe with the third edition of the continent’s biggest event within the roomy and modern confines of the Stade Pierre Mauroy in Lille and Justin Barcia was a solid runner-up in the prestigious and historic meet now 34 years in existence.
Among the fireworks, lightshow and gravity-bending FMX demonstrations by the likes of Genki Watanabe and Edgar Torronteras the spotlight nestled onto the lid of JGR rider Barcia in what was his first major competitive blast with the Suzuki RM-Z450 after two seasons with Yamaha technology. On the first night he trailed home native hero and fellow AMA SX racer Marvin Musquin after coming through the Heats and novelties of the Lille programme.
“Fantastic day of racing, bike was awesome, thinking tomorrow will be even better,” Barcia tweeted out Saturday evening and a relatively straightforward run behind the KTM.
The 24 year old, a former winner of the fixture when it was hosted in the depths of the Palais Omnisports Bercy in the heart of Paris, would make the top three both days but would have little answer to Musquin and the Frenchman’s holeshot on Sunday afternoon. “It was a pretty good weekend and I had fun,” he said. “But I did not win so that's not the best. Overall it was good to learn some stuff on the bike. It was frustrating to have some arm-pump but it was not too bad for a first race back.”
Elsewhere MXGP was represented by Monster Energy Kawasakis’s Jordi Tixier and brandmate Tommy Searle. Former World Champion Romain Febvre was also in play for the second year in a row with the factory Monster Energy Yamaha. On Saturday it was Tixier who rode to a best finish of seventh as Febvre paid for several costly crashes throughout both days. Searle had a technical problem on Saturday but posted a 12-9 scorecard for his first stab at the Lille spectacle. The real star from the European elite was Supercross and Arenacross star Cedric Soubeyras who gunned his Suzuki hard to battle with Barcia and achieve a very worthy 4-4.
The 30th edition of the Geneva Supercross will draw another impressive entry card on December 4-5 and the final high profile international dirt bike event until 2017 beckons.