By Brendan Lutes
The festivities at the 66th edition of the Monster Energy Motocross of Nations in Lommel, Belgium, have officially begun. And today not only consisted of a press conference featuring the top teams, but a go-kart event hosted by Monster Energy, where each country raced against each other in a Go-Karting of Nations.
Heading into this year’s MXoN, most of the talk centered on the brutally rough sand track; but more importantly how the Americans would fair against the Europeans at a facility that is drastically different than what they’ve seen in the United States. In an effort to get acquainted with the conditions, Team USA came over last week and have been testing and training on some of the sand tracks found in Belgium and Germany. The team even spent a day riding Lommel before it was closed to prepare for the MXoN. Going into the event this weekend, Ryan Dungey, Blake Baggett, and Justin Barcia are confident in their abilities. Check out some of what went on today in Lommel.
As we mentioned, the track at Lommel has been the major topic of conversation leading up to this year’s MXoN. Right now, it is perfectly prepped and not a bump can be found, however, after the first practice session, the lines, bumps, and ruts will quickly begin to develop. According to riders that regularly ride the track, there are portions of it that are completely new.
Here’s a view of the pit area. It’s worth mentioning that it’s probably one of the nicest we’ve seen with concrete walkways between all the team rigs.
As is the case at any FIM sanctioned event, riders must have their bikes washed in designated wash bays. This is the set up in Belgium with each team getting a designated spot.
Aside from the team press conference this afternoon, teams were also putting their bikes through tech inspection. Each one of the riders on Team USA has a spare bike and a race bike, so both bikes had to go through tech. Here, Blake Baggett’s mechanic Shawn Irwin puts one of Blake’s KX250F machines through sound check. Last year, some of the US-based riders has issues with passing sound. This year, we didn’t hear of any major issues.
Following the sound check, the bike is then weighed to make sure it’s within the rules.