DIRT legend Stefan Everts clinched the Open moto cross world title in Austria after finishing second to his chief rival, 2000 champ Joel Smets.
Everts, who only needed to finish 13th to secure the crown, refused to be goaded into a risky battle with fellow Belgian Smets that might have seen him crash and risk a DNF. Instead he let KTM-mounted Smets lead for most of the race, with only a short spell at the front himself.
Yamaha man Everts’ achievement made history as he became only the second rider ever (after Eric Geboers) to have won world titles in the 125, 250 and Open classes.
CROCKARD GRIEF AS REED PIPS HIM FOR SECOND
IN the blue riband 250 class it was disaster for top-rated Ulster rider Gordon Crockard in the final round of the championship.
The motorcyclenews.com-backed star lost the second place in the series that he has held for most of the season to Aussie Chad Reed. CAS Honda rider Crockard fell twice while Reed was holding a comfortable third in the race and despite brave attempts to claw back through the field could only finish fifth. The points difference between them meant Reed overhauled Crockard by just two points in the series.
Crockard said: " To say I'm annoyed is an understatement. Same old story for me - bad luck and poor starts. "
Runaway 250 champ Mickael Pichon kept up his relentlessly dominating pace of this season, taking an incredible 10th win from 14 races. The Frenchman scored a final 318 points from a maximum available of 350, with second placed Reed on a very distant 190.