Race Report – 2008 Motocross of Nations

The big question this weekend wasn’t who would win the Motocross of Nations, but who would give the Americans a run for their money. With such a large spotlight on Team USA, and American motocross in general, it seems that Team USA is bigger than life at MXoN. It’s easy to forget that the best in the entire world are also here to race, and they want to win as bad as the Americans do.

In America, many of us are not familiar with many, if not most, of the European superstars that make up the FIM World Championship series. So, miss out on the talent that entertains the masses on European soil. Guys like Sebastien Pourcel, Ken De Dycker, and David Philippaerts show up to challenge the Americans at their own game; and it makes for amazing racing. It doesn’t take an AMA card to do well on the World stage, but it doesn’t hurt either.

MOTO 1 (MX1/MX2)

The energy that spread through the crowd can only be described as complete hysteria. The first moto saw both the MX1 and MX2 classes line up to do battle on the foggy moor of Donington Park. The setting was signature British scenery; gray skies, haze, and Union Jacks sprinkled throughout the crowds. When the gates finally dropped to the roar of the 60,000+ crowd, Italy’s David Philippaerts snatched up the holeshot with Jonathan Barragan on his back. Team USA’s James Stewart and Spaniard Jonathan Barragan made chase. Stewart’s teammate Ryan Villopoto, unfortunately, found himself way back in 26th after a poor start and a fall on the first lap.

Check out some highlights…

Check back for more highlights from moto 2 and 3.

After the first lap, new MX1 World Champion David Philippaerts sailed over the finish line jump first with Stewart on his back. Philippaerts enjoyed the first two laps out in front, but Stewart had enough of second place and passed the Frenchman before three laps were logged. France’s Sebastien Pourcel, meanwhile, took advantage of his fifth place start and quickly moved in toward Barragan. On the third lap, Pourcel took over the Spaniard’s position and spent the rest of the moto trying to keep Stewart from opening too large of a gap. Unfortunately for the rest of the field, Stewart continued to inch away lap after lap.
Villopoto, on the other hand, clawed his way through a tight riding group riding all over the track, taking different lines, trying to find a seam.
Eventually, RV found the the rear fender of Australia’s Chad Reed. After a few laps, Reed could no longer hold the American off and overtook his position. From there, Villopoto set his sights on France’s Anthony Boissiere.
While Villopoto did his best to salvage an awful start, Belgium’s Ken De Dycker tracked Mackenzie down to the dismay of the hometown British fans. Barragan and Philippaerts continued to battle for third. Philippaearts held his own for the majority of the moto, but Barragan had a flash of brilliance on the ninth lap and made a move on the Italian. Unfortunately for the Spaniard it was only a flash, and Philippaerts was able to regain position within another lap and hold onto third.
On the final lap, the crowd, again, roared with delight as De Dycker, Mackenzie, Searle, and Villopoto entered the last corner all within a couple bike lengths of eachother.
As they flew over the finish line, Searle just edged out Villopoto for the ninth place position.

RESULTS (MX1/MX2)

1. James Stewart (USA)

2. Sebastien Pourcel (FRA)

3. David Philippaerts (ITA)

4. Jonathan Barragan (ESP)

5. Julien Bill (SUI)

6. Billy Mackenzie (GBR)

7. Josh Coppins (NZL)

8. Ken De Dycker (BEL)

9. Tommy Searle (GBR)

10. Ryan Villopoto (USA)

MOTO 2 (MX2/OPEN)

The weather began to give way, yet again, and the rain came down onto the already slick Donington track. AMA Outdoor Motocross National stand-out Cody Cooper blasted the holeshot for his country of New Zealand, with Ryan Villopoto right on his heels. Cooper, however, only enjoyed open track for a majority of the first lap; Villopoto made his move on Cooper to take over lead before he crossed the finish line jump. Villopoto’s teammate, Timmy Ferry, suffered a pretty poor start, but did his best to move up through the group. He pulled out his fishing line and tried to reel in Britain’s Tommy Searle and Australia’s Michael Byrne. But Searle had a fire under his seat all day and he showed it early on. While Ferry chased him, Searle caught Metcalfe.
The track started to take its toll on Ferry and Italy’s Manuel Monni was able to get around the seasoned vet. While Searle was all over Metcalfe, Ferry found his way back around Monni within a lap of getting passed.
Searle heard it from the crowd as he made his move on Metcalfe.
Searle wasn’t the only racer hearing cheers, though. Puerto Rico’s Zach Osborne put on a show of his own by working his way up from 26th place, gaining a position on nearly every lap. He would finish the moto impressively in sixth place.
With four laps left to go, Villopoto was well out in front, while Cody Cooper and Steve Ramon rounded out the top three. But as the laps ticked down, Ramon blitzed past Cooper to edge out second place on the second-to-last lap. Searle, meanwhile, continued to pressure everyone who he came up on and squeezed into third in the final corner.

RESULTS (MX2/OPEN)

1. Ryan Villopoto (USA)

2. Steve Ramon (BEL)

3. Tommy Searle (GBR)

4. Cody Cooper (NZL)

5. Alex Salvini (ITA)

6. Zach Osborne (PUR)

7. Nicolas Aubin (FRA)

8. Michael Byrne (AUS)

9. Tim Ferry (USA)

10. Brett Metcalfe (AUS)

MOTO 3 (MX1/OPEN)

As if the atmosphere itself knew the drama was to unfold in the final moto, the clouds retreated and the sun made an appearance to see if Team USA would, indeed, sweep another MXoN. When the gates dropped James “Boo-ba” Stewart snuck in the inside to win the holeshot, but France’s Sebastien Pourcel tenaciously chased the American superstar. The crowd blew up in hysterics as the Frenchman zigged and zagged in hopes to get around Bubba. On the second lap, as the two entered the rutted out right-hand sweeper before the whoops, Sebastien came in hot on Stewart and bumped him out of the rut. Pourcel took control of the lead, but it was Bubba’s turn to put the pressure on. Bubba returned the favor, taking Pourcel inside and regaining the lead. Crowd completely nuts.
Billy Mackenzie electrified the crowd with a big push into the top five, overtaking Ken de Dycker and Josh Coppins. De Dycker, however, was not discouraged, and blasted by Coppins on a step-up.
Then disaster struck the Americans. With just a handful of laps left to go, James Stewart cross-rutted as he faced a table top, forcing him to drift too far, and he landed on a hay bale. Fortunately he was up and remounted in no time, but the bike, on the other hand, was unwilling to cooperate. As James sat and kicked his bike over and over, the flood gates were opened for Pourcel and the rest of the field to get around the once invincible racer.
It seemed desperation time for Team USA, but luckily they have a guy named Tim Ferry running in the same moto. Ferry had turned his 22nd-place start into 9th place when Stewart went down. He knew James was down, and he put it all on his shoulders. In four laps, Ferry moved into 5th place to secure Team USA’s overall victory and chance to bring the Chamberlain Cup home.

RESULTS (MX1/OPEN)

1. Sebastien Pourcel (FRA)

2. Tanel Leok (EST)

3. Max Nagl (GER)

4. Ken De Dycker

5. Tim Ferry (USA)

6. Josh Coppins (NZL)

7. Julien Bill (SUI)

8. Chad Reed (AUS)

9. Jonathan Barragan (ESP)

10 Nicolas Aubin (FRA)

OVERALL MOTOCROSS OF NATIONS STANDINGS (Top Ten)

1. USA

2. France

3. Belgium

4. Great Britain

5. Italy

6. Australia

7. Spain

8. New Zealand

9. Switzerland

10. Germany