With Christophe Pourcel announcing his retirement we thought we would look back at his career and remember just what an incredible rider the Frenchman was!
Incredibly smooth and intelligent on the on bike, Pourcel wasn’t one for the pin it to win it style of riding, instead he used the power of the bike and intelligent lines, aligned with incredible technique to go fast.
Like Everts and Bayle, he made motocross look very easy and didn’t look as fast as he was going!
He won his world title, the 2006 MX2 championship, with smoothness and consistency, taking the title from the great Tony Cairoli. See a glimpse of their battles in this snippet from 2006 MX2 final round at Ernee:
His smooth style and effortless stance made it look like Pourcel wasn’t trying, but he was, he just didn’t like taking risks, especially after his horrible crash at the Irish GP in 2007 left him temporarily paralysed.
The crash itself wasn’t Pourcel’s fault as he launched a huge double in warm-up only to land on Nico Aubin’s fallen machine because the caution flags weren’t put out on time.
Witnessing the crash and seeing rival team personal including Stefan Everts, who was KTM manager at the time, rush to the scene made you realise this was a serious incident.
Pourcel spent weeks in Belfast and the French hospitals as he recovered and eventually learned to walk again.
Amazingly the Frenchman came back in 2009, this time racing in America and, amazingly, won his first race back and the 2009 East coast supercross title at his first attempt! He won the East/ West shoot in a great battle against Ryan Dungey and was also a cruel mechanical failure away from winning the 2009 outdoor championship against Dungey, preventing the perfect season.
Go to the 30 minute mark to see the 250 main and the Dungey/Pourcel battle:
Get a cool insight into Pourcel and Dungey’s battle for 2009 outdoor title, here:
Then 2010 250 US motocross title was denied in even more cruel fashion in 2010, while on his way to the title in the round, Pourcel crashed and broke his arm!
Pourcel raced a season of MXGP in 2012 but, while he could win on his day, even against his long-time GP rival Cairoli using his famed smooth style that was perfectly suited to the 450, fourth in the championship was the end result. He wasn’t quite the same rider physically, but the talent and skill was still there to be a contender.
Pourcel then went back to America and again showed some blazing speed when everything clicked but he couldn’t put another championship together as the injuries began mounting up.
Surprisingly, despite his smooth riding style, injuries have always followed the sometimes unlucky Pourcel and that is ultimately what has made him call time on his career at just 29 years old.
I believe Pourcel had the talent to do what Bayle did in America, and you have to wonder what might have been if it wasn’t for that crash in 2007. But with a world title and two 250 supercross titles in his bag plus wins against the best of his era in America and the world championship, Pourcel still had a magnificent career.
Antonio Cairoli, who Pourcel admitted was the toughest competitor he faced, was full of admiration for his former GP rival saying: “Thanks for all the great battles my friend.”
Pourcel was undoubtedly one the smoothest, most stylish riders out there and simply a joy to watch from a fan’s point of view.
See Pourcel in his final season racing in Canada against Matt Goerke: