Changing Places - 2001 and 2008
News Thursday 12th July 2012 By Geoff Meyer
Claudio Federici 2001 - Marc De Reuver 2008
Now the two pretty boys of the Grand Prix paddock have more in common than looking like Barbies partner (that's the doll barbie). Both have great styles, both have GP victories to their names and both probably didn't (until now) reach their full potential. I still remember Federici battled hard with Alessi Chiodi in the 1997 World 125cc championship. Chiodi at his best and Feders winning the Slovakian Grand Prix with a 3-1 score. Federici had his best season in 1999 when he finished second in the World 125 title, winning the German GP, Slovanian GP and Czech GP with 1-1 scores. He also finished with the same score as Chiodi in a handul of other GPs, but lost out when Chiodi scored a better result in the second moto. Eventually losing the championship by just 18pts it would be the only time Feders really looked likely to be a world champion. He also won a 250cc GP in 2001.
As for De Reuver, his shining years came in 2003 when he won the German GP and finished seventh in the World and 2006 when he won a GP and finished fifth in the world.. His 2004 effort looked to be on track, swapping race wins with Ben Townley in the opening GP of the season and looking likely to run with his fellow KTM team-mate for the championship, until he got injured. Injuries have robbed him of serious championship challenges.
Erik Eggens 2001 - Stephen Sword 2008
Eggy 30 years old and Swordy 27 years old both have Grand Prix victories to their names, and both have burning talent. Eggens the master of the sand captured a factory ride out of the blue (with KTM) in 2001 and finished third in the world winning his first ever Grand Prix. Sword picked up a surprise factory ride in 2004 and won himself his first ever Grand Prix. Eggens and Sword both looked to be heading in the right direction in their careers but like this sport does both suffered serious injuries, Eggens to his back, Sword first to his wrist and then terrible injuries to his leg and a disintegrated heel. They both looked likely to never race again. Both are back in top form, and both have a chance to return to the place they belong, on top of a Grand Prix podium.
Chad Reed 2001 - Sebastien Pourcel 2008
In 2001 Chad Reed was the find of the Grand Prix paddock. Having never raced against the Grand Prix riders the new factory rider (he rode for the De Groot Kawasaki team) struggled to qualify for the opening Grand Prix of the season, scoring just eight points and then none in the rough sand of Valkenswaard, Holland in round two. By season end he was second in the World and had a Grand Prix victory and also picked up three second place finishes. Reed was also a pleasure to photography with his flamboyant style.
Pourcel like Reed some seven years earlier found himself in the factory Kawasaki team in his first attempt at the MX1 championship, and like Reed he struggled in his opening Grand Prix, also scoring eight points. Pourcel like Reed showed amazing progress though, finishing with two Grand Prix victories and at one point in the season looked an outside chance to take the title, before finishing in fourth place. Pourcel also scored three second place finishes in motos (as Reed had done in 2001), but did win three motos (two of those coming in his GP victory).
Kurt Nicoll 2001 - Dave Thorpe 2008
Okay, okay I know what you are thinking, but what the heck. Kurt Nicoll and Dave Thorpe are two of the sports legends. Thorpe with three World titles and Nicoll with multiple runner-up finishes and one of those guys who should have won a World title. Nicoll made a short of comeback at the Grand Prix of Switzerland in 2001 and finished with seventh place. He wasn't on the pace of the leading riders, but it was amazing to watch him running around, just having fun. Even if he was riding only half of what he was capable of in the past he showed class and character.
King David raced the 2007 World Veterans championship and won it. His lap times would have had him close to qualifying in the MX1 class. Again, a long way past his prime, but what a picture it was of him leading the British (veterans) GP and the crowd going wild. Thorpy said he will be back in 2008, once again bringing the crowd to it's feet as he had done back in his heyday in the 1980's.