Motocross of Nations Preview

It is hard to believe, but the 2009 running of the Motocross of Nations is just around the bend.  In fact the legendary race is now less than a week away and this year will take place in Franciacorta, Italy.  Never heard of it?  Neither had most of the motocross community until earlier this year. That is because there wasn't a motocross track there until Italy won the bid to host the MXoN.

The track was only recently built at the Autodromo di Franciacorta road racing facility in the northern part of the country, right near the foothills of the Italian Alps and about one and a half hours east of Milan.  Therefore, much like last year's race at Donington Park in the UK, no one has ever raced on this year's MXoN course because it is purpose-built, specifically for this event.  Does this mean there is no home court advantage for the Italian team? In terms of the track, yes, but in every other respect, no.  Italy is very, very passionate about all forms of racing, and you better believe that the fans will be going absolutely nuts every time their riders, who include the 2008 and 2009 MX1 World Champions, go by.  Antonio Cairoli has become somewhat of a celebrity in his native land and his fans will be cheering him on all the way.

Of course, the United States will again be well represented with a team that includes two first time participants and one seasoned veteran of the MXoN.  Ryan Dungey will be representing his country in his very first outdoor 450 ride as the MX1 entry, with Jake Weimer looking very much like Ryan Villopoto aboard a Pro Circuit number two machine in the MX2 division.  Ivan Tedesco, who has helped bring home the bacon twice in his career, will again represent the USA in MX3 competition aboard his factory Honda.

This year's race could prove to be one of the closer battles we have seen in recent years.  Although the US rarely gets a good look at the speed of European based talent during the year, this season in particular we witnessed the type of talent that can be produced across the Atlantic, with the likes of Christophe Pourcel (who has opted out of representing France this year), Britan's Tommy Searle, South African and former MX2 Champ Tyla Rattray, along with impressive guest appearances by Belgian rider Clement Desalle (who scored a third in the first 450 moto at Washougal), and another South African Gareth Swanepoel  (450 Class sixth overall at Unadilla).  All of these riders will be participating this weekend and you can expect to see them all near the front of the pack.

Then there is Team Australia with Chad Reed in MX1, Brett Metcalfe in MX2, and Michael Byrne in MX3.  Its actually the identical team from last year with one very major difference.  Last year at this time, Reed only had a single 450 moto win to his credit, had not raced outdoors since his previous MXoN appearance in 2007 at Budds Creek (that is one entire year), and he had just switched over to Suzuki.  Oh what a difference a year makes.  Reed now has several overall wins in his pocket, is the current AMA 450 Class Champ, and is very comfortable aboard his yellow machine.  With Byrne and Metty backing him up, the Aussies will be very strong this year.

This weekend will be very interesting to say the least.  Unlike every other motocross race, the MXoN really is a team effort.  Even if a team has the fastest rider on the planet who completely dominates, that performance is meaningless if his teammates don't place well.  For those of you who do not know, here is how the race works:

-Each participating country can enter three riders with one alternate in case of an injury.

-Of the countries entered, only 20 qualify for the three main motos.

-The three classes are MX1 (450s), MX2 (250s), and MX3 (Open) with combined class motos: MX1/MX2, MX2/MX3, and MX1/MX3.

-Points are scored by position, therefore first place in moto gets one point, two points for second, and so on.

-The worst finish for each country is discarded

The United States, France, and Belgium have finished in that order for the last two years.  Who knows what the podium will look like this year so be sure to watch all of the action LIVE on the Fox Racing website.  That's right www.foxracing.com will be hosting will be the exclusive web-host of the 2009 MXoN's. More details will be released soon. Fans can log onto www.foxracing.com starting Saturday 10/3 to view the Preview Show & Qualifying and Live Racing on Sunday 10/4.

For now, here is a list of each of the 37 different countries' top three riders entered for this weekend's action.  Who is your pick?

2009 Red Bull Motocross of Nations entry list:

UNITED STATES
DUNGEY Ryan MX1 SUZUKI 450
WEIMER Jake MX2 KAWASAKI 250
TEDESCO Ivan OPEN HONDA 450

FRANCE
AUBIN Nicolas MX1 YAMAHA 450
MUSQUIN Marvin MX2 KTM 250
PAULIN Gautier OPEN KAWASAKI 450

BELGIUM
DESALLE Clément MX1 HONDA 450
ROELANTS Joël MX2 KTM 250
RAMON Steve OPEN SUZUKI 450

GREAT BRITAIN
ANDERSON Brad MX1 HONDA 450
SEARLE Tommy MX2 KTM 250
NUNN Carl OPEN SUZUKI 450

ITALY
CAIROLI Antonio MX1 YAMAHA 450
GUARNERI Davide MX2 YAMAHA 250
PHILIPPAERTS David OPEN YAMAHA 450

AUSTRALIA
REED Chad MX1 SUZUKI 450
METCALFE Brett MX2 HONDA 250
BYRNE Michael OPEN SUZUKI 450

SPAIN
CAMPANO Carlos MX1 YAMAHA 450
BUTRON José Antonio MX2 KTM 250
BARAGAN Jonathan OPEN KTM 450

NEW ZEALAND
COPPINS Joshua MX1 YAMAHA 450
PHILLIPS Michael MX2 SUZUKI 250
COLUMB Scott OPEN TBA 450

SWITZERLAND
BILL Julien MX1 APRILIA 450
TONUS Arnaud MX2 KTM 250
WICHT Grégory OPEN HONDA 450

GERMANY
NAGL Maximilian MX1 KTM 450
ROCZEN Ken MX2 SUZUKI 250
SCHIFFER Marcus OPEN KTM 450

FINLAND
PYRHONEN Antti MX1 HONDA 450
KULLAS Harri MX2 KTM 250
REMES Eero OPEN KTM 250

ESTONIA
LEOK Aigar MX1 TM 450
KRESTINOV Gert MX2 KTM 250
LEOK Tanel OPEN YAMAHA 450

CANADA
MEDAGLIA Tyler MX1 SUZUKI 450
WILSON Dean MX2 KAWASAKI 250
COOKE Mitchell OPEN KAWASAKI 450

BRAZIL
SILVA Leandro MX1 HONDA 450
GARCIA Wellington MX2 HONDA 250
BALBI JUNIOR Antonio OPEN HONDA 450

SOUTH AFRICA
SWANEPOEL Gareth MX1 KAWASAKI 450
RATTRAY Tyla MX2 KAWASAKI 250
BRADSHAW NEVILLE OPEN HONDA 450

LATVIA
STEINBERS Ivo MX1 HONDA 450
KARRO Matiss MX2 SUZUKI 250
FREIBERGS Lauris OPEN YAMAHA 450

NETHERLANDS
KRAS Mike MX1 KTM 450
HERLINGS Jeffrey MX2 KTM 250
BRAKKE Herjan OPEN HONDA 250

PUERTO RICO
APONTE Gino MX1 YAMAHA 450
EVNAS Ben MX2 YAMAHA 250
FONT Juan OPEN YAMAHA 250

DENMARK
HANSEN Nicolai MX1 SUZUKI 450
JÖRGENSEN Rasmus MX2 SUZUKI 250
LARSEN Nikolaj OPEN SUZUKI 250

IRELAND
EDMONDS Stuart MX1 TM 450
BARR Martin MX2 SUZUKI 250
IRWIN Graeme OPEN KTM 250

RUSSIA
BOBRISHEV Evgeny MX1 YAMAHA 450
TONKOV Alexander MX2 SUZUKI 250
PARSHIN Dmitry OPEN YAMAHA 450

SWEDEN
HULTMAN Andreas MX1 HONDA 450
THURESSON Filip MX2 SUZUKI 250
SÖDERSTRÖM Tom OPEN KAWASAKI 450

PORTUGAL
CORREIA Luis MX1 YAMAHA 450
GONCALVES Rui MX2 KTM 250
RODRIGUES Joaquim OPEN APRILIA 450

CZECH REPUBLIC
MICHEK Martin MX1 TM 450
SMITKA Petr MX2 KTM 250
NEUGEBAUER Filip OPEN KAWASAKI 450

SLOVENIA
IRT Matevz MX1 HONDA 450
GERCAR Klemen MX2 YAMAHA 250
IRT Jernej OPEN HUSQVARNA 250

NORWAY
LUNEWSKI Jan Olav MX1 SUZUKI 450
NYEGAARD Remi MX2 HONDA 250
HEIBY Even OPEN HONDA 250

SLOVAKIA
KOHUT Martin MX1 KTM 450
SIMKO Tomas MX2 HONDA 250
BUCENEC Tomas OPEN KTM 450

ICELAND
OMARSSON Aron MX1 KAWASAKI 450
GUDBERGSSON Viktor MX2 SUZUKI 250
KARLSSON Gunnlaugur OPEN KTM 505

MONGOLIA
TEMUUJIN Khadbaatar MX1 SUZUKI 450
KHALIUNBOLD Broenebileg MX2 SUZUKI 250
GANOD Boldbaataar OPEN SUZUKI 250

AUSTRIA
SCHMIDINGER Günter MX1 HONDA 450
WALKNER Matthias MX2 KTM 250
STAUFER Michael OPEN KTM 450

CYPRUS
SAVVAS Savva MX1 YAMAHA 450
NIKOLETTIS Alexandros MX2 KAWASAKI 250
KOUMASIS Zanetos OPEN HONDA 450

CROATIA
SIPEK Nenad MX1 YAMAHA 450
LELJAK Marko MX2 KTM 250
BOZIC Danijel OPEN KTM 480

THAILAND
PENJAN Thanarat MX1 YAMAHA 450
THANGTHONG Trakarn MX2 HONDA 250
KANLAYA Wattana OPEN SUZUKI 450

HUNGARY
BORKA Janos MX1 KAWASAKI 450
DECZI Balazs MX2 SUZUKI 250
SZVODOBA Bence OPEN KTM 450

GREECE
KOUZIS Panagiotis MX1 YAMAHA 450
ILIOPOULOS George MX2 KTM 250
KOSMAS Spiros OPEN YAMAHA 250

UKRAINE
ONYPCHENKO Sergiy MX1 HONDA 450
MOROZOV Roman MX2 KTM 250
PASCHYNSKYI Mykola OPEN KTM 505

LITHUANIA
MACHROV Raimund MX1 YAMAHA 450
RUKSTELA Nerijus MX2 SUZUKI 250
BARANOVSKIJ Radoslav OPEN HONDA 505