250 Words: JacksonvilleTuesday, April 7, 2009 | 1:13 PM
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Christophe Pourcel knows how to be patient. Following a big crash in Northern Ireland near the end of the 2007 Grand Prix season, he lost feeling below his waist, he lost a lot of weight, and he very nearly lost his career.
Yes, Pourcel was very fast this year. Rumor spread of his speed at the Kawasaki test track, and on most occasions at the races, he logged the fastest laps in timed qualifying. But there were plenty of other fast riders in the East this year. Pourcel’s biggest advantage came in his experience in winning championships—and his patience.
GEICO Powersports Honda’s Brett Metcalfe looked like a sure contender when he battled Pourcel at the opening round in Houston. But he crashed in the very first lap of practice in Atlanta, ending his season with a broken collarbone. Pourcel’s teammate Austin Stroupe was fast, too, but a huge crash on the very first lap of the Daytona main event knocked him out of the running. Nico Izzi started the year off consistently, but once he saw he had a shot at winning races, he started hanging it out more. Crashes in practice and qualifying ended his title hopes. All of the Division 7/Star Racing riders were fast, too, but consistency eluded them.
It didn’t elude Pourcel, though. It was a hard way to learn it, but Pourcel now knows how much patience can pay off.
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Australian Dean Ferris hopes to follow in the footsteps of some of his legendary countrymen. Now contesting the FIM Grand Prix series, he made a huge impression at the Motocross of Nations. Page 138.