Yesterday, Christophe Pourcel announced that he is retiring from professional racing and moving on to the next step in his life. During his long career, Pourcel won a World Championship, two supercross Lites championships, numerous races both indoors and outdoors, and just last summer graced our Canadian soil with his buttery smooth riding style. However, for as smooth and precise as Pourcel was on a dirt bike, throughout his racing career he suffered more than one serious injury. There was his crash in 2007, which left him paralyzed for a short time, and since then there was yet another broken neck in 2016, as well as a few more broken bones that has left the 29-year-old Frenchman’s body bruised and battered. Here is what Pourcel had to say on his Instagram:
“Well, today is the day, I am pleased to announce my retirement from racing. It’s all I’ve ever known, but I have been so blessed and fortunate to race all around the world in front of many fans and to work with many great companies. From racing GPs, winning a world championship, then coming to America, two supercross championships, winning races… and now finding a new life here in the states, racing has given me so much. Those good times don’t come without tough times, from my paralyzing accident in 2007, internal injuries, countless collar bones, to my most recent neck fractures… I’ve had my fair share of injuries but I’m happy to walk away happy and healthy. I’m looking forward to the next chapter of my life away from racing. I’ve sacrificed so much in life, things that are normal for most people, to dedicate my life to racing and training. I want to enjoy this time now with my wife, family, and friends and to say THANK YOU to all the great people and companies that have supported me throughout my career and to the fans who have enjoyed watching me race. It’s been a tough decision, I know I can still be competitive but my body has said enough with the injuries!! I’m 29 and have so much more life to live. Again, thank you all and see you around.”
As you can read, Pourcel has simply had enough of putting his body through this very difficult sport. Sadly, for the third time in the past few seasons, one of this sport’s most talented under 30 riders has decided to call it quits on their career. Motocross, like any professional sport, is very difficult at the top. These athletes are forced to put themselves through hell to first get to the top, and then once there it takes a massive physical and mental workload to stay there. Although Pourcel’s effortless riding style led most to believe that he didn’t work as hard as the next guy, his career stats speak for themselves. Pourcel, when happy and feeling confident, was as fit and focused as any rider on the track. His World Championship and two US Supercross titles most certainly proves that.
This past summer we welcomed Pourcel to Canadian soil to race his Rockstar Energy Factory Husqvarna in the CMRC Nationals. From Kamloops, to Gopher Dunes, to Barrie, ON, Pourcel put on a riding display that most of us have never seen before. While not as aggressive and explosive as Davi Millsaps was the year before, Pourcel methodically navigated each lap of each moto this summer like a brain surgeon in an operating room. If there was a smooth line on the track, Pourcel found it. If there was a faster way through a difficult section, Pourcel would find it. In twenty challenging motos against some of the world’s best riders this past summer, I think I only heard Pourcel’s Husqvarna FC450 rev above 2000RPM once. Yes, in the end he did come up short of winning the 2017 MX1 title, but it was only due to his own mistakes, and the neversay-die riding of Matt Goerke. Each time he took to one of our national tracks, everyone in attendance stopped what they were doing just for a minute to watch the crafty Frenchman ride.
His final lap, final corner pass on Goerke in the second MX1 moto in Prince George will go down in Canadian moto history as one of the best passes ever. If there was a moment that summed up Pourcel’s career and how he cerebrally made his way around a race track, that final pass was it. Just like a Stefan Everts, Kevin Windham, or our own Colton Facciotti, Pourcel could see the track as if he was 1,000 feet above it looking down. Yes, some people loved him, some people didn’t like him, and some people just misunderstood him, but no one can ever sit there and say that Christophe Pourcel didn’t know how to ride a motorcycle. Wherever the next road takes Pourcel, we want to wish him all the best, and we want to say thank-you for allowing us to watch you ride.