Photos by James Lissimore
Olympics of motocross otherwise known as the Motocross des Nations was, for the third time, held in the USA this year. The venue was Lakewood, Colorado and the team that USA selected was the heavy favorites going in. I went to the race, I hung out there all weekend and here is everything I observed.
America was sending (I'm not going to use the term "we" because as most know but some may not, I'm Canadian. Although I'm only six years away from living in America more than I lived in Canada) its 450 SX and MX champion, the second best American in the 450 motocross class and the 250 national champion. All in all, a pretty formidable team and if nothing else, Ryan Dungey, Andrew Short and Trey Canard would easily win the nicest team in motocross awards.
We've had the Lakewood national track on the AMA circuit now for a few years and I have to say, it keeps getting better and better. For the MXDN, there weren't that many changes made but I have to say, the changes that were made were better. There was a big quad jump added, a big tabletop that 250's had a hard time doing (Remember when Thorpe and the boys would freak out over jumps added to a USGP back in the day? Uh yeah, those days are over I guess.) and the track was rerouted to go behind the starting gate so that the ginormous GP pit boxes could be added.
All good changes methinks but the one change that I didn't like was the angling of the starting gate which is a philosophy that Youthstream (GP promoters) embrace for some reason. It makes starting position very important (too important in my opinion). With all the hubbub, brouhahas, press releases and animosity that has come up between the promoters on both sides of the ocean it was also good to see the MX Sports people working the MXDN hand in hand with the YS guys. I know there were some meetings between the sides that went well. Hopefully this stuff continues, with the USGP's and MXDN's keep on happening over here and everyone gets along really well.
I figured America would win this thing in a rout because, just like Budds Creek, it's a lot to ask of the Europeans to travel over to the USA tracks that they are not familiar with, in front of hostile fans and beat the best motocross country out there. The depth the USA has to choose from is phenomenal and the other countries are lucky if they can get two moto superstars, never mind three. Now having said that, USA trailing notorious mx superpower (?!?) Germany by six going into the last moto of the day was definitely a shocker.
This was it, on American soil Ryan Dungey and Andrew were left to make it happen. And as soon as the gate dropped and the riders released their clutches, well that was when Dungey and Short became clutch. In a remarkable performance that defined rising up under pressure, Short grabbed the holeshot, Dungey right behind him and Team America was off!
In talking to Short after the race in THIS podcast, he told me that he didn't know the points going into the last race but he knew it wasn't good after his crash in the second moto.
The two riders swapped positions (after the universe got Ben Townley and made him crash) and finished 1-2 in that crucial third moto which helped the USA win going away.
So America wins and all is right with the world. Really it was amazing to me that America trailed at all going into the third moto but Trey Canard had to come from the back in both races, Short crashed in his race and Ken Roczen summoned the ghosts of Johnny O'Mara, Sebastian Tortelli and Steve Lamson. Roczen was the single most impressive rider of the weekend when he passed Short and Townley on his 250F and shot into the lead! He didn't win the moto but the German Vunderkid was on it and he won the MX2 class on the day.
When I saw Rocking Roczen last year in Germany, he was awesome as it was only his fifth GP or something like that but then this year at the Glen Helen USGP, he was so-so. I didn't know what guy I would see this weekend but looks like I saw the mega-fast version of Roczen. He signed with KTM for next year and we'll see him racing the west coast supercrosses in 2011.
Well Ryan Dungey did what I thought he was going to do. Which was show everyone that right now, he's the best rider in the world. The Dunge didn't win the qualifying race on Saturday to maybe give some people doubts on him but when it counted (and when the motos were longer and the track was rougher) he walked away with both of his races.
Although for a little while, Antonio Cairoli gave him a bit of a run in the first moto of the day. The Italian rider avenged his poor Budds Creek performance with a couple of pretty good rides and showed that no matter what track, where it is in the world, he is right there in the mix whenever you're talking about the best riders in the world.
Did I mention that Ryan Dungey dominated the day? No? Ok. Well he did.
Great Britain's Dean Wilson (it still hurts) rode well on the day and in talking to Dean afterwards, he was a little bummed on his day but really, he beat everyone not named Ken Roczen. It wasn't a case of Wilson not riding well, he did but Roczen had one of those days that riders dream of. Dean-o went 2-2 in the MX2 class and along with teammates Brad Anderson (who I thought was surprising) and Jake Nicholls, team GB just missed the podium by one point.
I don't really know what Ben Townley was thinking when he slammed into Short in the second moto of the day as it seemed harsh to do so early. I am sure BT wanted to go out there and win the moto, which he did, but he had time to work around Short as it was early. As well, the Honda guys are all his friends, he knows that the USA guys are going to beat his country handily and it's just that the timing seemed strange. Definitely some guys were scratching their heads at the normally mild mannered BT101 losing it.
BT's teammate Josh Coppins was racing with the GP guys for the last time as he's going back home to New Zealand next year to race the Australian motocross series. One of the classiest, most friendly guys in the pits the GP's definitely lost something with Coppini (as I call him) departing. A real intelligent guy who's a big fan of the sport, Coppins never won a World title but he won the hearts of his fans and fellow competitors, no doubt about it.
One thing about the Motocross des Nations that never really gets talked about it the fact there are more than a few riders out there that don't belong on the track. One rider from Venezuela was 35 seconds slower than Ryan Dungey. On one lap! Anyways, before the A and B mains are settled there are some sketchy moments out there in the Saturday qualifiers as the guys come up on the slower riders really, really fast.
My home country Canada did not, for the 739 consecutive time, send its three best riders and the natives of Canada did not hold high hopes for the team of Jeremy Medaglia, Kyle Keast and Kaven Benoit. Nothing wrong with the guys on the team but they weren't Colton Facciotti, Dusty Klatt or Dean Wilson (and don't kid yourself, I know that had Canada committed to bringing Klatt and Facciotti, Wilson would've been in). I took some heat in my home country for being too negative on the guys as well when I wrote that I didn't think they would make the A main.
Well, once again, I was wrong. The Canucks easily made the A main and from there, it was all gravy really. The guys ended up sixteenth out of twenty but they never really got good starts and Medaglia didn't race one moto due to getting dehydrated. I was pumped on Jeremy's 11th in Saturday qualifying, it was a good ride. Keast never gave up all day and rode his usual never say die race each time out. It was cool to see Mitch Payton step up and give Keast three brand new race systems for his CRF450 that would pass the FIM sound level limit. When I asked Mitch about that, he said he was happy to do because "the guys riding the Motocross des Nations!"
It doesn't matter who is hurt, who doesn't go for Team Belgium because no matter what, they produce fast motocrossers. There have been years that I have no idea who Belgium is going to send to the MXDN because of injuries or whatever but it usually doesn't matter, they will be right there fighting for the podium. This year the guys got second after Max Nagl crashed out for Germany with Clement Desalle, Steve Ramon and Jeremy Van Horebeek. No matter what the conditions are, one can never count out the Belgiums.
I know it's a good story and all that but I just can't get behind the whole Puerto Rico thing. You know, somehow the riders can hold American passports and still ride for PR. They end up picking up a couple of Americans and team him with a real live PR rider, show up at MXDN and usually put in a good showing. I don't know, it's cool for Zach Osborne and Kyle Regal to get to ride this prestigious race but to me, either go all in or be real and keep the integrity of the event.
By this I mean, take a team of Mike Alessi, Kyle Chisholm and Justin Barcia and really skirt the rules or stick to three native Puerto Ricans and good luck in the B main! I'm probably going to get crucified for this but I'm just being honest. I have a hard time cheering on the guys although two years ago in England, Osborne rode amazing in the MX3 class.
Another rider that was a real story was Brett Metcalfe. The Australian was the hottest rider in the 450 series the second half of the series (I'm not counting Dungey because he's always burning the same temperature as the sun. He never cools off) and he continued his strong rides this weekend. Metty kept Cairoli and Dungey in sight the entire first moto (as well Spain's Jonathan Barragan was right there) and he rode awesome. The second moto, Brett was a little off the pace but he was still strong and ended the day third OA in the MX1 class.
Let's take a look at the overall standings:
Pos Country Points Race Nr Name Fed. Bike Class
1 USA 23
1 Race 3 1 DUNGEY, Ryan AMA Suzuki MX1
1 Race 1 1 DUNGEY, Ryan AMA Suzuki MX1
2 Race 3 3 SHORT, Andrew AMA Honda Open
7 Race 2 2 CANARD, Trey AMA Honda MX2
12 Race 1 2 CANARD, Trey AMA Honda MX2
13 Race 2 3 SHORT, Andrew AMA Honda Open
2 Belgium 30
3 Race 3 9 DESALLE, Clement FMB Suzuki Open
4 Race 2 9 DESALLE, Clement FMB Suzuki Open
6 Race 3 7 RAMON, Steve FMB Suzuki MX1
7 Race 1 7 RAMON, Steve FMB Suzuki MX1
10 Race 2 8 VAN HOREBEEK, Jeremy FMB Kawasaki MX2
13 Race 1 8 VAN HOREBEEK, Jeremy FMB Kawasaki MX2
3 Germany 44
3 Race 2 11 ROCZEN, Ken DMSB Suzuki MX2
5 Race 2 12 NAGL, Maximilian DMSB KTM Open
6 Race 1 11 ROCZEN, Ken DMSB Suzuki MX2
14 Race 1 10 SCHIFFER, Marcus DMSB Suzuki MX1
16 Race 3 10 SCHIFFER, Marcus DMSB Suzuki MX1
39 Race 3 12 NAGL, Maximilian DMSB KTM Open
4 Great Britain 45
6 Race 2 14 WILSON, Dean ACU Kawasaki MX2
8 Race 2 15 ANDERSON, Brad ACU Honda Open
8 Race 1 14 WILSON, Dean ACU Kawasaki MX2
11 Race 3 15 ANDERSON, Brad ACU Honda Open
12 Race 3 13 NICHOLLS, Jake ACU KTM MX1
37 Race 1 13 NICHOLLS, Jake ACU KTM MX1
5 Italy 50
2 Race 1 16 CAIROLI, Antonio FMI KTM MX1
4 Race 3 16 CAIROLI, Antonio FMI KTM MX1
9 Race 2 18 MONNI, Manuel FMI Yamaha Open
15 Race 3 18 MONNI, Manuel FMI Yamaha Open
20 Race 1 17 LUPINO, Alessandro FMI Yamaha MX2
25 Race 2 17 LUPINO, Alessandro FMI Yamaha MX2
6 Australia 54
3 Race 1 19 METCALFE, Brett MA Honda MX1
5 Race 3 19 METCALFE, Brett MA Honda MX1
10 Race 3 21 MARMONT, Jay MA Yamaha Open
18 Race 2 21 MARMONT, Jay MA Yamaha Open
18 Race 1 20 FERRIS, Dean MA Honda MX2
27 Race 2 20 FERRIS, Dean MA Honda MX2
7 France 71
5 Race 1 4 PAULIN, Gautier MCM Yamaha MX1
7 Race 3 6 BOOG, Xavier FFM Kawasaki Open
9 Race 3 4 PAULIN, Gautier MCM Yamaha MX1
11 Race 2 6 BOOG, Xavier FFM Kawasaki Open
39 Race 1 5 MUSQUIN, Marvin FFM KTM MX2
40 Race 2 5 MUSQUIN, Marvin FFM KTM MX2
8 New Zealand 90
1 Race 2 33 TOWNLEY, Ben MNZ Honda Open
11 Race 1 31 COPPINS, Joshua MNZ Aprilia MX1
14 Race 3 31 COPPINS, Joshua MNZ Aprilia MX1
29 Race 1 32 GROOMBRIDGE, Brad MNZ Honda MX2
35 Race 3 33 TOWNLEY, Ben MNZ Honda Open
36 Race 2 32 GROOMBRIDGE, Brad MNZ Honda MX2
9 Portugal 94
9 Race 1 37 GONCALVES, Rui FMP KTM MX1
13 Race 3 37 GONCALVES, Rui FMP KTM MX1
21 Race 3 39 CORREIA, Luis FMP Yamaha Open
22 Race 2 39 CORREIA, Luis FMP Yamaha Open
29 Race 2 38 BASAULA, Hugo FMP Suzuki MX2
31 Race 1 38 BASAULA, Hugo FMP Suzuki MX2
10 Puerto Rico 99
2 Race 2 78 REGAL, Kyle FMPR Honda Open
14 Race 2 77 OSBORNE, Zach FMPR Yamaha MX2
15 Race 1 77 OSBORNE, Zach FMPR Yamaha MX2
32 Race 3 76 RUIZ, Christian FMPR Honda MX1
36 Race 3 78 REGAL, Kyle FMPR Honda Open
36 Race 1 76 RUIZ, Christian FMPR Honda MX1
11 Switzerland 102
8 Race 3 30 TONUS, Arnaud FMS Suzuki Open
16 Race 2 30 TONUS, Arnaud FMS Suzuki Open
22 Race 3 28 WICHT, Gregory FMS Honda MX1
28 Race 2 29 GUILLOD, Valentin FMS KTM MX2
28 Race 1 29 GUILLOD, Valentin FMS KTM MX2
40 Race 1 28 WICHT, Gregory FMS Honda MX1
12 Austria 109
17 Race 1 67 WALKNER, Matthias OeAMTC KTM MX1
18 Race 3 67 WALKNER, Matthias OeAMTC KTM MX1
24 Race 2 68 RAUCHENECKER, Pascal OeAMTC KTM MX2
24 Race 1 68 RAUCHENECKER, Pascal OeAMTC KTM MX2
26 Race 3 69 SCHMIDINGER, Günter OeAMTC Suzuki Open
38 Race 2 69 SCHMIDINGER, Günter OeAMTC Suzuki Open
13 Spain 115
4 Race 1 34 BARRAGAN, Jonathan RFME Kawasaki MX1
21 Race 2 36 LOZANO, Alvaro RFME Yamaha Open
22 Race 1 35 BUTRON, Jose Antonio RFME Suzuki MX2
31 Race 3 36 LOZANO, Alvaro RFME Yamaha Open
37 Race 3 34 BARRAGAN, Jonathan RFME Kawasaki MX1
39 Race 2 35 BUTRON, Jose Antonio RFME Suzuki MX2
14 Finland 116
19 Race 2 53 KULLAS, Harri SML Yamaha MX2
19 Race 1 53 KULLAS, Harri SML Yamaha MX2
25 Race 3 52 ERIKSSON, Toni SML KTM MX1
26 Race 1 52 ERIKSSON, Toni SML KTM MX1
27 Race 3 54 SÖDERBERG, Jon SML KTM Open
31 Race 2 54 SÖDERBERG, Jon SML KTM Open
15 Estonia 118
10 Race 1 22 LEOK, Tanel EMF Honda MX1
20 Race 3 22 LEOK, Tanel EMF Honda MX1
26 Race 2 24 KRESTINOV, Gert EMF Kawasaki Open
27 Race 1 23 RÄTSEP, Priit EMF Honda MX2
35 Race 2 23 RÄTSEP, Priit EMF Honda MX2
38 Race 3 24 KRESTINOV, Gert EMF Kawasaki Open
16 Canada 119
17 Race 2 81 KEAST, Kyle CMA Honda Open
21 Race 1 79 MEDAGLIA, Jeremy CMA KTM MX1
23 Race 3 81 KEAST, Kyle CMA Honda Open
25 Race 1 80 BENOIT, Kaven CMA KTM MX2
33 Race 2 80 BENOIT, Kaven CMA KTM MX2
17 Latvia 121
16 Race 1 50 KARRO, Matiss LAMSF Suzuki MX2
20 Race 2 50 KARRO, Matiss LAMSF Suzuki MX2
23 Race 1 49 STEINBERGS, Ivo LAMSF Honda MX1
29 Race 3 49 STEINBERGS, Ivo LAMSF Honda MX1
33 Race 3 51 FREIBERGS, Lauris LAMSF Honda Open
37 Race 2 51 FREIBERGS, Lauris LAMSF Honda Open
18 Brazil 123
12 Race 2 42 BALBI, Antonio CBM Kawasaki Open
17 Race 3 42 BALBI, Antonio CBM Kawasaki Open
28 Race 3 40 CIDADE, Anderson CBM Kawasaki MX1
32 Race 2 41 CASTRO, Cristopher CBM Kawasaki MX2
34 Race 1 41 CASTRO, Cristopher CBM Kawasaki MX2
35 Race 1 40 CIDADE, Anderson CBM Kawasaki MX1
19 Japan 128
15 Race 2 132 ATSUTA, Yoshitaka MFJ Suzuki Open
19 Race 3 132 ATSUTA, Yoshitaka MFJ Suzuki Open
30 Race 2 131 MIHARA, Takuya MFJ Kawasaki MX2
30 Race 1 131 MIHARA, Takuya MFJ Kawasaki MX2
34 Race 3 130 NARITA, Akira MFJ Yamaha MX1
38 Race 1 130 NARITA, Akira MFJ Yamaha MX1
20 Ireland 142
23 Race 2 48 CROCKARD, Gordon MCUI Kawasaki Open
24 Race 3 48 CROCKARD, Gordon MCUI Kawasaki Open
30 Race 3 46 EDMONDS, Stuart MCUI TM MX1
32 Race 1 47 BARR, Martin MCUI Honda MX2
33 Race 1 46 EDMONDS, Stuart MCUI TM MX1
34 Race 2 47 BARR, Martin MCUI Honda MX2
France didn't have a good MXDN. After losing top rider Christophe Pourcel to injury just a few weeks ago, fill-in rider Gauthier Paulin performed quite well in finishing fourth in the MX1 class. MX3 rider Xavier Boog was also pretty good despite a crash. The real let down for the country was Marvin Musquin who suffered fuel pump issues in both motos. Musquin, who will be a top rider next year in America, was up front when it happened and would for sure have been a threat to win the class. Even still, they ended up in seventh spot but oh what could have been. If they get anything decent from Marv, the team makes the podium easily.
This is my fifth MXDN (by the way, besides being the defending Summercross Champion's mechanic, another record I hold is a member of the last USA team to lose a MXDN. Good times!) and one thing about them is the epic after-parties and this year, it lived up to its reputation. Thanks to Alpinestars, Parts Unlimited, Red Bull and Alieve for all of their help in allowing me to celebrate Team USA's victory.
For more on what happened at the after parties, listen to the Pulpmx Show from Monday right HERE.
Thanks to all the fans that stopped me this weekend to tell me how much they enjoyed reading this column and listening to the podcasts, I appreciate it and if you want to email to talk moto, it's email@example.com