Supercross Bercy spectacle in Paris
For 31 years, Supercross Bercy has been the top French Supercross show. All the best U.S. riders -- including David Bailey, Ricky Johnson, Damon Bradshaw, Jeremy McGrath, Ricky Carmichael, James Stewart and Justin Barcia -- have come to the Palais Omnisports de Paris Bercy. Supercross Bercy gave many European racers, like Jean-Michel Bayle, David Vuillemin and Ken Roczen, their first chance to compete against the best before moving to the U.S. Browse through our gallery of this Parisian motocross extravaganza that boasted three sold-out days over the past weekend.
Multiple Racing Formats
Set in an arena suited for basketball or hockey, the starting gate is narrow, but it creates big battles for fans to enjoy in each of the three race formats. There's regular Supercross, Superpole (where riders go one by one trying to get the fastest lap) and the "Course a l'Américaine" elimination races beginning with eight riders, then five and finally three.
FMX Times Three
Oh, oui! The freestyle motocross demos have taken a bigger and bigger part of the Bercy show since the early years. Fans are always excited by FMX, and local stars such as Tom Pagès are the reason why. Pagès gets the fans cheering with this double nac whip/superman hybrid during one of three FMX segments in Saturday's show.
France is the native country of Taka Higashino's wife, and he returns here to perform often. He shows his appreciation for the country and its fans by throwing big tricks like this Hart attack indy flip, despite a recent injury he suffered while riding for a film session. Before going on with Saturday's show, Higashino said that it's "pretty bad for this ankle because when I try a trick that I want to do, as soon as I hit the jump, I'm like, 'ouch.' Some tricks it hurts me on the landing."
The central scoreboard makes the Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy recognizable, as do the FMX riders flying in front of it. Jérémy "Jey" Rouanet does a rock solid.
Andrew Short, Cédric Soubeyras
When a French rider gets in a battle with a U.S. rider, such as Cédric Soubeyras against Andrew Short (left), the Bercy crowd is certain to go wild.
A legendary event requires special patches for the backside. French SX rider Jordi Tixier models his here with a "Bonsoir Paris" decoration.
Sixteen years ago, Spanish rider Edgar Torronteras took Mike Metzger's place at the FMX demo in Bercy because Metzger broke his leg. Torronteras was supposed to race only that one time, but since then he has become an FMX legend. Parisians have a long memory and so does ET, who shows off a superflip indy.
FMX riders at Bercy started out with easier tricks before moving on to inverted tricks and other harder ones. It is always a big thrill for the crowd when the first flip variations happen. Norwegian rider André Villa dazzles fans with this tsunami flip.
A Frenchman has to be on top of his game in a French arena in front of his French fans. Jey Rouanet was, as evidenced by his signature one-handed underflip.
"Dédé" Villa -- as his French FMX friends the Pagès brothers and Manu Troux nicknamed him years ago -- participates in his fifth Supercross Bercy. He gives fans what they want, such as this huge tsunami. "For me, it's special because when I was a little kid and my dad went to the races, he always brought me back a T-shirt with [French MX legend] Jean Michel Bayle, or stuff like that. When I finally was the poster boy a few years back, that was really a milestone," Villa says.
Trey Canard, right, did well in his first races in the small Paris arena. Canard defeated Honda teammate Justin Barcia on Saturday in the "Course a l'Américaine" final and in the Superpole fastest-lap event Sunday. Canard also finished second in the SX main events each day. "It's awesome for both of us, especially in this point of the year -- it's making us both a lot stronger, I feel," Canard says. "Hopefully this race helps us bring the momentum up and be strong coming into Anaheim [2014 Supercross season opener Jan. 4]."
Bercy has been a pioneer event for FMX demos. Top riders such as Mike Metzger, Manu Troux and Edgar Torronteras made FMX history here. Now Taka Higashino, the three-time defending X Games Moto X Freestyle gold medalist, feels at home in Paris by showing fans all his tricks -- including his signature rock solid.
Awestruck By The Volt
Cheerleaders come out around the course during the FMX demos at Bercy SX. This one looks quite amazed by French FMX sensation Tom Pagès' volt.
Bercy Supercross put French brothers Thomas and Charles Pagès on the map for freestyle motocross. Each time a Pagès brother puts his wheels on the Parisian dirt, he has to deliver something big and rare. 2013 was no exception as Tom Pagès executes his signature special flip. "All the time, my brother and I want to bring the best level of FMX, because for French [motocross fans] everything happens here," Thomas Pagès says. "And the people wait all year for this show and they want just that, they want to dream and they want to forget all the problems they have all year."
Close To The Action
The vibe in Bercy is incredible. Fans are close to the action, and the riders -- such as Taka Higashino -- like it.
Justin "Bam Bam" Barcia was a fan favorite because of the intensity and wildness of his riding. He took SX victories each day to win the King of Bercy crown. "It was good racing. It was a lot of fun, and throwing the little joker lane in there was some excitement too, so it was good for me," Barcia said after winning Saturday night.
The track extends into the venue's corridors to make the laps longer. The narrow lanes and hairpin turns have become a big part of the show. Riders exit the main arena briefly before reappearing to begin the rhythm section, as Gautier Paulin shows here. "The hallway is sketchy," Justin Barcia says. "There's a thin line of danger, but you've got to be smart and make some good moves. But you're going at high speed, really fast in there, so I think its pretty cool."
U.S. riders -- from left, Andrew Short, Trey Canard and Justin Barcia -- enjoy trophy time after a long weekend of fun but intense racing. Team USA's hard work paid off with the trophy for best overall team.
Remembering Eigo Sato
On Saturday before the night's final event, all of the FMX riders gave a vibrant homage to their dear friend Eigo Sato, who died in a training accident in February. They put a flag on the landing zone. It was an emotional moment for all in the arena and Edgar Torronteras was moved to tears after the demo.