When word came down just over a week ago that Competition Park had been forced to close up shop, it looked like the 2002 Motocross des Nations had effectively been reduced to something more like the Motocross duh Nations.
Trying to assess blame for how it got cancelled, and who was right and wrong in the whole thing is nearly impossible. We’d guess it’ll all eventually get worked out in courts (but that the only real winners will be the lawyers).
The FIM sanctioned Motocross des Nations has been rescheduled for October in Spain, but teams and fans who had already planned to travel to the Comp Park event were faced with a huge disappointment. Also, the timing of the rescheduled event was firmly in the middle of what little off-season is left in the racing calendar. That makes it doubtful than many teams will travel there to compete.
The good news is, we’re not here to grab a stick and poke around in that mess. Instead, it’s about the event that rose from the ashes of the MXdNS (The World Cup of Motocross).
Assembled in just over a week by Rick Doughty, Bud Feldkamp, Brad Zimmerman and Greg Primm, along with Lori Yarnell and the crew from Glen Helen, it featured a $100,000 purse, huge industry support, and teams from 14 countries. Spectator attendance was estimated at 10,000. Spectators with an MxdN ticket got $10 off, and international spectators got in free.
It was amazing that a race assembled in a week looked as good and ran as smoothly as it did. International flags lined the track, and the track prep was as good as it gets at Glen Helen. It was a bit shorter than the national track (they didn’t use Yamaha mountain), but the downhill from Mt. Saint Helens was even rougher than during the spring race.
In a nutshell, here’s what you need to know:
Each team’s best two finishes from each moto were added together to determine the overall.
The racing was really good, with spirited battles for the lead in nearly every moto. That was one advantage to having Ricky Carmichael sitting at home.
Timmy Ferry and Chad Reed swapped the lead back and forth in the first moto (with Reed coming out on top). Reed looked really strong on his YZ450F. He’s still undecided whether he’ll be on the 450F, or a 250 two-stroke, for the upcoming supercross season.
Sebastian Tortelli went down hard early in moto one, and sat out the rest of the day.
Team Costa Rica’s Ernesto Fonseca took control of moto two after a Reed holeshot, though Reed made it really close at the end.
Sean Hamblin holeshot the third moto before contact with Grant Langston (their second encounter of the day) gave the lead and win to Chad Reed. While upright, Hamblin was flying.
The three 30-minute moto format was awesome (and far preferable to the single 30-minute final that the MXdN will use).
The attitude at the race was upbeat. Fans were toting flags from their countries, blasting airhorns, and some were sporting face and body paint with their national colors. Politics and fan backlash over the departure from the original Team USA lineup was minimal. We saw a couple “fans” doing their version of street corner preaching in the pits, but most seemed more interested in cheering on the revamped Team USA of Timmy Ferry, Sean Hamblin, and Kyle Lewis than on bashing Ricky Carmichael or Mike Larocco.
Mike Metzger was a guest member of Team New Zealand. The guy just loves to ride.
Almost as entertaining as the international motos were the Fast Masters, which included a who’s who of old school heroes (Jeff Ward, Danny Laporte, Marty Smith, etc.), along with a couple riders (Jeff Emig and Ryan Hughes) who are on enforced retirement from the pro ranks.
Emig and Doug Dubach had a great battle in moto one, swapping the lead back and forth. Ryan Hughes, who was nursing a nasty-looking swollen shin after catching a footpeg across it earlier in the week, rode a 125 KTM in for third.
In the second moto, Jeff Ward nabbed the holeshot before Dubaach went by him halfway through the first lap. Emig got a so-so start and was working his way through the pack. With a couple laps to go, he and Eric Kehoe tangled, and they both did some big league soil-sampling. Dubach scooped up the overall.
The World Cup event may not have drawn the attendance of the annual Glen Helen national event, but the spectators and participants who did show up were treated to a great show. All indications pointed toward the organizers being interested in making the World Cup an annual event. Whether it does or not, they put on a great show.
World Cup of Motocross Overall Results:
1. Australia (Chad Reed, Michael Byrne, Craig Anderson) 9+6+5=20 pts.
2. USA (Tim Ferry, Sean Hamblin, Kyle Lewis) 6+9+9=24 pts.
3. Canada (Jean Sebastian Roy, Blair Morgan, Marco Dube) 24+21+15=60 pts.
4. South Africa (Grant Langston, Greg Albertyn, Kevin McGovern) 13+16+35=64 pts.
5. Japan (Akira Narita, Yoshitaka Atsuta, Kazuyoshi Idagiri) 24+27+16=67 pts.
6. England (James Dobb, Neil Prince, Rob Herring) 23+29+50=102 pts.
7. Costa Rica (Ernesto Fonseca, Adrian Robert, Cristian Leon) 33+25+46=104 pts.
8. Denmark (Kasper Jensen, Kim Nielsen, Bo Vang Jensen) 47+38+36=121 pts.
9. New Zealand (Shayne King, Cody Cooper, Mike Metzger) 52+36+39=127 pts.
10. Chile (Jeremy Israel, Walter Helfmarm, Alfredo Gomez Norambuena) 51+47+36=121 pts.
11. Czech Republic (Marco Dorsch, Josef Dobes, Willy Musgrave) 50+45+44=139 pts.
12. Argentina (Luis Cutura, Marcus Caco, Augusto Freytes) 52+54+45=151 pts.
13. France (Sebastien Tortelli, Rodrig Thain, Eric Sorby) 34+50+96=180 pts.
14. Bolivia (Vicente Esquerre, Juan Carlos, Benjamin Esquerre) 68+71+111=250 pts.
Fast Masters Overall Results:
1. Doug Dubach (Yam)
2. Jeff Emig (Kaw)
3. Ryan Hughes (KTM)
4. Terry Fowler (Yam)
5. Erik Kehoe (Hon)
6. Mike Healey (Hon)
7. Marty Smith (Hon)
8. Jeff Matiasevich (Kaw)
9. Pete Murray (Yam)
10. Jeff Ward (Hon)
11. Ron Turner (Yam)
12. Micky Dymond (Yam)
13. Kelly Andris (Hon)
14. Chuck Sun (KTM)
15. Demian Caco (Hon)
16. Andy Jefferson (Yam)
17. Danny LaPorte (Hon)
18. Jim Gibson (Cannondale)
19. Claudio Pesce (Yam)
20. Pablo Marelli (Hon).