“In this very moment, I was the happiest man on Earth. But I cannot describe it better, you just have to experience it, it is incredible.”
This is how Marc Schmidt describes the moment when he won the 2019 Mettet Coyote Superbiker on Sunday 13 October.
But let us go back in time a little bit, to the beginning of this amazing weekend. We had the chance to be there with Marc Schmidt and his team L30 racing, led by Ivan Lazzarini. Mettet Superbiker is one of the major world supermoto events in competition. Every year, it brings together the world’s best riders to Belgium, at Jules Tacheny race track in Mettet.
This year, riders competed over three days in front of thousands of spectators. For this 33rd edition, more than 400 of them, representing 26 different nationalities, had signed up. They were divided into several classes and most had to pass through the qualifiers until the finals on Sunday afternoon.
“Mettet Superbiker is the most important race of the year for me, because the best riders from all the world come there together. There you can ride any bike with any tire, so for me it is the true world championship. Every year, when I arrive in Mettet, I feel fantastic, because it is the biggest and most beautiful supermoto event in the world. There are over 400 riders, and only the best 44 remain for the final. There is also the best atmosphere – during the day and at night, with a lot of shows, partying and tire burnouts! And the organization is very good.”
FRIDAY: THE WAIT
Marc Schmidt, like other Prestige class riders, did not have to go through the qualifications, and so he did not ride on the Friday. As much as he would have loved to join in the fun earlier, Friday was about watching others ride. It was also the opportunity to get Marc’s Honda CRF450 ready, and to unveil a stunning new full-black livery for the occasion.
SATURDAY: THE PRACTICE
There were two free practice sessions and two timed practice sessions on Saturday. Marc was very excited to finally get to ride. Together with the team, they tested a few options with tires and bike setup during free practice. Weather was less cold than on Friday, and it even became fairly sunny.
Marc achieved second best lap time behind Thomas Chareyre in the first free practice, and the best lap time in the second session. Things looked already very promising!
In the first timed practice session, Marc was ahead for a good part of the session, but towards the end, Thomas Chareyre pulled a faster lap – by 0.05 second! In an attempt to regain the lead, Marc went for a last fast lap. He pushed a bit too hard on a jump, hit a track delimiter upon landing, and crashed a bit hard, hurting his elbow.
In the second timed practice, things were a bit easier for Marc despite his elbow. He got the fastest lap in front of Thomas Chareyre, although times were below those of the first timed practice. At the end of the day, Marc was in second position.
SUNDAY: THE BATTLE
Let’s leave the summary of the day to Marc:
“Sunday morning! The most important race day in the Season 2019! There was no pressure, because I ride my bike to enjoy it and that’s why we are here! So I felt fantastic. The huge crowd was encouraging throughout the day, so it was definitely a time to enjoy!
Also I had the support from the people around me, and it sure is one of the most important things for me! My father, Ivan, Luca and all the team stand behind me and give me a lot of strength! Thanks to this, every race is enjoyable. The few minutes before each race are especially important, the atmosphere in L30 racing team is great, everyone has a job and knows what to do, but also everyone enjoys their job. It’s a fantastic time!”
The first event of the day was a “Course à l’Américaine”, which was a great show featuring Belgian riders against all other countries. Marc Schmidt won this race, but the battle everyone awaited was yet to come: the famous Mettet Superbiker. Qualified riders had to go through semi-finals. For this, Marc Schmidt and Thomas Chareyre were in different groups, and both riders won their respective race. At the end of the afternoon, it was time for the final battle.
“It was a long race: 25 minutes + 2 Laps. Many things can happen in this time! And with the lapped riders nothing is ever boring or easy. I did not feel so much pressure, because I know what I have to do during a race like this. With my crew in the pit lane, giving me the most important information, I was able to focus on myself and to enjoy the race, my bike, and the fantastic cheering from the crowd.
I knew I won as I crossed the finish line with the checkered flag and the fireworks, I thought to myself ‘We did it again! We won the Mettet Superbiker! The biggest and toughest Supermoto race in the world!’ In this very moment, I was the happiest man on Earth! But I cannot describe it better, you just have to experience it, it is incredible.”
After two victories in 2015 and 2018, Marc Schmidt writes down his name again in the history of Mettet Superbiker, the biggest Supermoto event in the world.
We would like to thank Ivan Lazzarini and everyone in Team L30 Racing for this fantastic opportunity to follow Marc Schmidt and to capture the weekend. We would also like to thank the team at Mettet Coyote Superbiker for a fantastic event and for their welcome. More info at superbiker.com
Pictures : Steph Legrand / pro-photo.fr