Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Blame it on MX2 World Champions coming to America, or a healthy amateur system that delivers hoards of intense, talented rookies to the pro ranks every year. Blame it on the injuries that occasionally leave the 450 Class bereft of its top talent. Blame it on whatever you choose, but it won’t change the fact that the premier class has frequently played second fiddle to the smaller bikes in the thrills-per-gallon department in recent years. And with Christophe Pourcel returning to competition this summer on a 250, an already deep class is going to get even more competitive.
Rumors of the former MX2 World Champ’s return have been in play since he left the American scene after a short and ill-fated stint on a 450 with MotoConcepts in 2011. But until now they were always just that—rumors. Until now. Racer X has confirmed that Pourcel has signed a one-year deal with Valli Motorsports Yamaha to race a YZ250F in the 2014 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. He’ll be on factory equipment, and since he’s not racing supercross, it’s safe to say that he’s going to be both prepared and very familiar with the bike by the time the gate drops at Glen Helen in May. The question is, does he still have what it takes to rule the class?

Christophe Pourcel will return to Lucas Oil Pro Motocross in 2014.
Sarah Gutierrez photo

It’s a hard question to answer. The Crafty Frenchman was nearly unstoppable in 2009 and 2010. He cruised to a pair of Eastern Regional 250SX titles in those years, and would have taken home a pair of 250 National titles if it weren’t for some nasty luck. A blown engine at Southwick in the first moto and a crash in the second handed the title to Dungey in 2009, while a small crash made huge waves, thanks to the resulting dislocated shoulder, at the season finale at Pala in 2010. Trey Canard became a National Champion that day while Pourcel once again experienced heartbreak when the title was wrenched from his hands for the second year in a row.

Much has changed since then. There are new tracks on the schedule and Marvin Musquin had yet to arrive. There’s also the question of Pourcel’s speed. He had it in spades in 2009 and 2010, but will he have it in 2014? There are enough variables here to frustrate a math professor, much less a bench racer. What isn’t a variable is the fact that whether you love him or hate him, it’s going to be extremely interesting to see how he stacks up in a class full of hungry youngsters and experienced veterans. Will he come in like a wolf, or will he be thrown to them?

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