PICKERINGTON, Ohio (Aug. 1, 2003) — Ricky Carmichael, Tim Ferry and Ryan Hughes have been selected to represent the United States at the 2003 Motocross des Nations as Team USA Chevy Trucks. The event will be held on Oct. 5, 2003 in Zolder, Belgium.
The team was selected by AMA Pro Racing through a collaborative process involving team managers and the riders. “We’re thrilled that Ricky, Tim and Ryan have agreed to race on behalf of the United States and will receive full factory support from Honda, Yamaha and KTM,” said Duke Finch, AMA Pro Racing’s Motocross/Supercross Manager. “These riders and their teams recognize what a tremendous honor it is to represent their country in this event and each of them is committed to bringing home the trophy.”
The United States last fielded a team in 2000 when the event was held in France. The U.S. team won that event.
Historically known as the “Olympics of Motorcycling”, the prestige and luster of the event has diminished in recent years which has caused many in the motorcycle industry to question the value of sending and supporting a team. According to AMA Pro Racing Vice President of Commercial Development, John Farris Jr., many things need to change in order for the United States to continue to be able to send a top level team. “For the riders, teams and AMA Pro Racing to justify supporting the event, the organizers will have to look at providing better value and U.S. exposure for all involved,” said Farris. “For example, right now the Motocross des Nations isn’t even televised in the United States. American motocross fans deserve to at least see their team on television and, so far, the organizers have been unwilling to provide us with that.”
Farris also pointed out that the state of professional motocross racing has evolved, making it increasingly complicated to put together a top level team to represent the United States. “Right now, the two most important championships in the world are the AMA Supercross Series and the AMA U.S. Motocross Championship,” said Farris. “It has become increasingly difficult for riders and teams to justify jeopardizing their chances of winning these championships; especially for an event that provides virtually no exposure to their U.S. fans. The bottom line is that riders, teams and AMA Pro Racing are supporting the Motocross des Nations for sentimental reasons. If we’re going to be expected to continue involving ourselves with this event, the organizers will have to create an environment that delivers value, too.”
The rights to the Motocross des Nations will change hands beginning in 2004 and Farris is hopeful that a more agreeable arrangement can be reached moving forward. “The honor and prestige for a rider being selected to represent the United States remains great,” allowed Farris. “However, the realities of scheduling, logistics and cost are such that, unless U.S. team supporters see some tangible value from their investment, it will be nearly impossible to continue our support at this high level.”
Finch added that five-time world champion Roger DeCoster will manage the 2003 team. “Roger is without a doubt the best choice for this important role,” said Finch. “His experience and familiarity with fielding a top Motocross des Nations team is unmatched. These riders represent tremendous hopes for a top U.S. finish and Roger is the ideal guy to bring it all together.”
About AMA Pro Racing
AMA Pro Racing is the leading sanctioning body for motorcycle sport in the United States. Its properties include the AMA Supercross Series, the AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Motocross Championship, the AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship, the AMA Progressive Insuraance U.S. Flat Track Championship and the AMA Red Bull Supermoto Championship. Nearly 2 million race fans attended AMA Pro Racing events during the 2002 season. For more information about AMA Pro Racing, visit www.amaproracing.com.