Kickstart: MXdN Edition

Last weekend the eyes of the motocross world shifted to the other side of the Atlantic for the Acerbis Motocross des Nations held in Belgium. Lucky spectators who made the trip over from the U.S. reported having a great time, and fans who couldn’t make it lined up on MotoGP.com to watch the live scoring.

One of our pals from The Netherlands, Bart de Jong, was on the scene, and filed this report:

Belgium beats team USA, Carmichael, beats Everts at MXDN

Over the last few weeks the hype around the Motocross Des Nations had been building. All of a sudden everyone gets really patriotic and the fans of individual riders team up and root for their national team. If I had to believe the American media, the USA was going to kick some European ass at the MXDN in Zolder, Belgium.

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Saturday saw timed practice to decide what national teams made it to the race on Sunday. Granted that the American team of Ricky Carmichael, Ryan Hughes and Tim Ferry are not used to one-lap timed qualifying, they got beat by the team of three world champions (Stefan Everts, Steve Ramon, and Joel Smets) who each won their qualifying group. Everts and Carmichael were in the same group and Mr. 875cc (Everts) beat Ricky’s lap time by almost one second. This had the fanatic crowd warmed up for the race on Sunday.

The 24 national teams that made it to the final were split into two groups with the top six teams making the A final and the other teams battling it out in the B-final. Belgium and USA met up in Semi number one and it was Joel Smets taking the holeshot in front of Everts and Ramon. A pretty good start for the home team. Everts soon took over the lead from Joel but Ricky caught up quickly and started battling with Stefan. For the next four laps the two passed one another five times and the crowd ate it up. There were actually two races this weekend, the Team Belgium vs. Team USA race and the Everts/Carmichael battle and this is what the crowd had come for. Soon enough, Ricky started to pull away leaving Everts behind with some arm pump. The pace was too high and there was no need to take a risk as the main goal was to qualify the team for the A-final. Steve Ramon was in third position for most of the race until Ryan Hughes made it to the front on his Ryno-powered KTM. Ryan had been waiting to make it to Team USA and showed he loved his country by passing both Ramon and Everts to finish second behind number 85 (Ricky). Ferry rode a consistent semi and finished 6th. Team New Zealand with Josh Coppins and Ben Townley won the other semi and looked strong.

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Did Stefan Everts slow down in the semi to save himself for the main event? We had to wait until 5:00 PM to witness that. “That’s the stupidest decision made this weekend” said a disappointed Ryan Hughes. The sun had come down by that time which made it impossible to see for the riders on one section of the track. This caused Ryan to tangle with Miska Aaltonen from Finland in the beginning of the final race. Aaltonen continued the race without a front fender but Ryno was out with a broken chain. With the best two scores counting for the overall team result, this put pressure on Tim Ferry to move up to the front after a bad start. After lap one, Ferry was in 20th but passed many GP riders to ride on eighth place for a while until he crashed and dropped back to 11th. With four laps to go and every position counting for the team result, Ferry made it to ninth. A great result considering he was riding with an injured hand that he had been nursing all day.

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What was going on up front? Smets got the holeshot again followed by Everts, Coppins and Ramon with Ricky not far behind. Everts passed Smets in the first lap and seemed to ride away but Ricky had other plans. He does not like to lose and especially not in Belgium after all the hype that had been going on before the race. Everts’ first lap was his only lap under 2 minutes. Ricky had a fast pace going when he was reeling in the World Champ early in the race scoring lap times two seconds faster than Everts who ran number four on his YZ. During the middle of the race, Carmichael got the inside of a 180-degree left turn and passed Everts on his two-stroke CR to the delight of the American fans who had made the long trip over to see the race. As admitted by Stefan during the press conference, he did not have an answer to Ricky’s pace but he hopes he’ll be back for a few more battles in the future as the riders, as well as the 23.000 crowd loved the Americans who brought a lot of prestige and excitement to the race.

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With Joel Smets in a solid third position the team victory went to Belgium with five points. Ferry’s ninth and Ricky’s first scored the USA a total of 10 which was good for second overall. Finland rode strong and stepped on the podium for third. The King (not Elvis) was present to congratulate the Belgium team which was a big deal. Where does this leave the American bench racers? Stoked on one side that Ricky beat a bunch of World Champions but a second place for team USA, beaten by a bunch of Belgian World champs, was not the result they hoped for. Team captain Roger de Coster loves the MXdN race and there are American riders who want to represent their country this one time a year, even if their schedule is packed. Next year the MXdN race will be in Lierop, The Netherlands. Team USA is badly needed for this race and to have full bragging rights Roger better show up with a trio of fast American sand riders to beat the rest of the world.

2003 Acerbis Motocross des Nations
Team Results

  1. Belgium – 5
  2. USA – 10
  3. Finland – 16
  4. New Zealand – 19
  5. Great Britain – 20
  6. Japan – 20
  7. Ireland – 27
  8. Estonia – 27
  9. France – 36
  10. Czech Republic – 37
  11. South Africa – 38
  12. Denmark – 55

Individual Results

  1. Ricky Carmichael – USA – Honda
  2. Stefan Everts – Belgium – Yamaha
  3. Joel Smets – Belgium – KTM
  4. Gordon Crockard – Ireland – Honda
  5. Josh Coppins, New Zealand – Honda
  6. Jussi Vehvilainen – Finland – Honda
  7. Paul Cooper – Great Britain – Honda
  8. Akira Narita – Japan – Suzuki
  9. Tim Ferry – USA – Yamaha
  10. Antti Pyrhonen – Finland – Yamaha

Thanks, Bart. If you want to see more of the race, check the photo gallery here.

Over on this side of the pond, there was plenty of action. An annual Fall classic is the Kawasaki Race of Champions, held at Englishtown, New Jersey. In its 27th year, it drew the usual assortment of Kawasaki talent, as well as top riders from around the country. Of course, it couldn’t be a full-fledged amateur race without some controversey, and with no less than three riders trying to claim Ryan Villopoto’s bike, it filled the bill. Rumor has it that the bike will end up on eBay. Sheesh.

Kyle Chisholm took the Ironman Classic ahead of Matt Boni, while in the 125 Pro Expert class Donnie McGourty beat out Chris Hunter and vets like Jeff Emig (3rd) and Barry Carsten (5th). Emig came back to win the 250 Pro Expert class, ahead of Damien Plotts and Ty Wallace.

There was also a fun legends gathering and exhibition moto that was a total hoot with such former pros as Jim Pomeroy, Jim Weinert, Gary Semics, Mike Bell, Tom Rapp, John Savitski, JoJo Keller, Jim Meenan, Mickey Kessler and more.

Over in Columbus, Ohio, it was the third round of the AMA Red Bull Supermoto Championship held at the Promowest Pavilion in Columbus, Ohio. While making the jump from motocross to Supermoto is sometimes hard for us, we were psyched to hear that former National Champion Doug Henry in action and going fast.

Rodney Webb was on the scene and sent us this report and photos:

It was an all MX podium with Jeff Ward, Jeremy McGrath, and Doug Henry finishing 1-2-3, respectively. Apparently SuperMoto suits Doug Henry well. He didn’t have the two-wheel drift dialed like Wardy, instead opting for a “stab and grab” approach to make it around the circuit.

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According to the announcer, it was the longest and most technical of the three AMA SuperMoto events, thus far. Doug Henry’s heat race win was arguably the most exciting racing action of the day. Ward was on Henry’s rear wheel for the entire 8 laps, but could not make a pass stick.

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Jeremy McGrath reminded the fans why he’s the “King” with a heat race win of his own. Jeremy looked extremely comfortable in the dirt section, but did not posses the speed to hold Ward off in the main event.

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Ward passed McGrath at about the halfway point of the main event.

The SuperMoto main event was a thriller with several lead changes as the front runners continued to wad-it-up on various sections of the track.

Ironman Ben Carlson won the SuperMoto Unlimited Class main and minutes later was leading the SuperMoto Championship Class main event. Doug Henry moved into second place after local phenom Mark Burkhart crashed. Ward passed McGrath and after Henry crashed, moved into second and applied pressure to Carlson. Carlson high-sided in the dirt section and Wardy cruised out front to the finish. After falling, Henry quickly remounted and managed to finish in third behind McGrath.

Other notables. Legendary speedster, Doug Chandler tangled with Ben Carlson during a first turn pile-up in the SuperMoto Unlimited Class main.

The race was restarted, sans Doug Chandler, who reportedly suffered a broken leg. After the restart, the unfettered Carlson went on to smoke the rest of the field, with an impressive victory. Even more impressive was Carlson’s smokey burnout following the checkers. (MX needs more smokey burnouts). Finally, youngster Christopher “Is-he-really-16-years-old?” Fillmore, rode the wheels off his KTM in both classes.

[Isortment of Kawasaki talent, as well as top riders from around the country. Of course, it couldn’t be a full-fledged amateur race without some controversey, and with no less than three riders trying to claim Ryan Villopoto’s bike, it filled the bill. Rumor has it that the bike will end up on eBay. Sheesh.

Kyle Chisholm took the Ironman Classic ahead of Matt Boni, while in the 125 Pro Expert class Donnie McGourty beat out Chris Hunter and vets like Jeff Emig (3rd) and Barry Carsten (5th). Emig came back to win the 250 Pro Expert class, ahead of Damien Plotts and Ty Wallace.

There was also a fun legends gathering and exhibition moto that was a total hoot with such former pros as Jim Pomeroy, Jim Weinert, Gary Semics, Mike Bell, Tom Rapp, John Savitski, JoJo Keller, Jim Meenan, Mickey Kessler and more.

Over in Columbus, Ohio, it was the third round of the AMA Red Bull Supermoto Championship held at the Promowest Pavilion in Columbus, Ohio. While making the jump from motocross to Supermoto is sometimes hard for us, we were psyched to hear that former National Champion Doug Henry in action and going fast.

Rodney Webb was on the scene and sent us this report and photos:

It was an all MX podium with Jeff Ward, Jeremy McGrath, and Doug Henry finishing 1-2-3, respectively. Apparently SuperMoto suits Doug Henry well. He didn’t have the two-wheel drift dialed like Wardy, instead opting for a “stab and grab” approach to make it around the circuit.

[IMAGE 5]

According to the announcer, it was the longest and most technical of the three AMA SuperMoto events, thus far. Doug Henry’s heat race win was arguably the most exciting racing action of the day. Ward was on Henry’s rear wheel for the entire 8 laps, but could not make a pass stick.

[IMAGE 6]

Jeremy McGrath reminded the fans why he’s the “King” with a heat race win of his own. Jeremy looked extremely comfortable in the dirt section, but did not posses the speed to hold Ward off in the main event.

[IMAGE 7]

Ward passed McGrath at about the halfway point of the main event.

The SuperMoto main event was a thriller with several lead changes as the front runners continued to wad-it-up on various sections of the track.

Ironman Ben Carlson won the SuperMoto Unlimited Class main and minutes later was leading the SuperMoto Championship Class main event. Doug Henry moved into second place after local phenom Mark Burkhart crashed. Ward passed McGrath and after Henry crashed, moved into second and applied pressure to Carlson. Carlson high-sided in the dirt section and Wardy cruised out front to the finish. After falling, Henry quickly remounted and managed to finish in third behind McGrath.

Other notables. Legendary speedster, Doug Chandler tangled with Ben Carlson during a first turn pile-up in the SuperMoto Unlimited Class main.

The race was restarted, sans Doug Chandler, who reportedly suffered a broken leg. After the restart, the unfettered Carlson went on to smoke the rest of the field, with an impressive victory. Even more impressive was Carlson’s smokey burnout following the checkers. (MX needs more smokey burnouts). Finally, youngster Christopher “Is-he-really-16-years-old?” Fillmore, rode the wheels off his KTM in both classes.

[IMAGE 8]

Fillmore is leading the points in the Unlimited Class and is 6th in points in the SuperMoto Championship Class. Fillmore finished 2nd and 8th in the Unlimited and Championship classes, respectively.

  1. Jeff Ward
  2. Jeremy McGrath
  3. Doug Henry
  4. Alexandre Thiebault
  5. Mark Avard
  6. Benjamin Carlson
  7. Jeff Wood
  8. Chris Fillmore
  9. Steven Drew
  10. Mark Burkhart

Jeremy McGrath had some additional business in Ohio last weekend, as he was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame on Saturday night before the Supermoto event. Former Husqvarna and Honda MXer (and current KTM employee) Chuck Sun was also inducted into the hall.

We stopped by the offices of Troy Lee Designs last week to check out their new digs. While there’s still plenty of construction going on, it was cool to see their new place, which has lots of “character,” and which will be really cool when completed. While we were there, we were also handed one of the cool movie posters for A Day in the Dirt, which makes sense, since it’s hosted by the fillm industry. Want more info on the race? Check out www.adayinthedirt.com.

Suspension and clamp specialist, RG3, is now accepting applications and resumes for sponsorship during the 2004 racing season. Resumes will be accepted through October 31st. Interested? Apply online by visiting either www.rg3online.com or www.sponsorhouse.com, or send resumes to: RG3, 3164 E. La Palma Avenue Suite A, Anaheim, CA, 92804. Not sure how to put together an effective resume? Review the `How To Get A Sponsor¿ feature in the October 2003 issue of TransWorld Motocross magazine.

And finally, now that the MXdN is in the rear view mirror, the MGM Grand is busy with odds for the U.S. Open. Can RC come back from Belgium to take another $100,000 win? Or will Chad Reed step up and take the win? Or will the U.S. Open’s reputation for surprise winners be upheld? If you’re not going to be there for the racing, parties and fun, be sure to check in with www.ussx.com, and get your webcast fix.

p>[IMAGE 8]

Fillmore is leading the points in the Unlimited Class and is 6th in points in the SuperMoto Championship Class. Fillmore finished 2nd and 8th in the Unlimited and Championship classes, respectively.

  1. Jeff Ward
  2. Jeremy McGrath
  3. Doug Henry
  4. Alexandre Thiebault
  5. Mark Avard
  6. Benjamin Carlson
  7. Jeff Wood
  8. Chris Fillmore
  9. Steven Drew
  10. Mark Burkhart

Jeremy McGrath had some additional business in Ohio last weekend, as he was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame on Saturday night before the Supermoto event. Former Husqvarna and Honda MXer (and current KTM employee) Chuck Sun was also inducted into the hall.

We stopped by the offices of Troy Lee Designs last week to check out their new digs. While there’s still plenty of construction going on, it was cool to see their new place, whicch has lots of “character,” and which will be really cool when completed. While we were there, we were also handed one of the cool movie posters for A Day in the Dirt, which makes sense, since it’s hosted by the fillm industry. Want more info on the race? Check out www.adayinthedirt.com.

Suspension and clamp specialist, RG3, is now accepting applications and resumes for sponsorship during the 2004 racing season. Resumes will be accepted through October 31st. Interested? Apply online by visiting either www.rg3online.com or www.sponsorhouse.com, or send resumes to: RG3, 3164 E. La Palma Avenue Suite A, Anaheim, CA, 92804. Not sure how to put together an effective resume? Review the `How To Get A Sponsor¿ feature in the October 2003 issue of TransWorld Motocross magazine.

And finally, now that the MXdN is in the rear view mirror, the MGM Grand is busy with odds for the U.S. Open. Can RC come back from Belgium to take another $100,000 win? Or will Chad Reed step up and take the win? Or will the U.S. Open’s reputation for surprise winners be upheld? If you’re not going to be there for the racing, parties and fun, be sure to check in with www.ussx.com, and get your webcast fix.