2014 Motocross Of Nations Preview
World Politics & MX
Photos by Brendan Lutes
This year's running of the Monster Energy Motocross of Nations in Latvia is coincides with a pair of political events. First comes the unrest between Ukraine and Russia, which is somewhat close in proximity to the Baltic hosting country. Despite promises that the matter will not spill over into Latvia, world leaders are on edge at reported comments by Russian president Vladimir Putin to move military forces into the neighboring countries if desired. (As unimportant as it is to worldwide news, the escalating conflict forced the cancelation of the 2014 MXGP race in Ukraine. It is said to be back on the schedule for 2015, but we highly doubt that will happen due to the rate of the conflict’s resolution.)
The trio of nations (Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania) gained independence in the early 1990s following the collapse of the Soviet Union and just recently joined the European Union, but their placement on the map, large amount of Russian ethnic citizens, and ties between government leaders is a understandable cause for concern.
With art nouveau architecture, friendly citizens, and a growing economy, tourism is blossoming in Latvia. A number of travel websites have proclaimed the nation and its capital of Riga as an undiscovered oasis, and we personally look forward to landing there next Tuesday. It is said to be one of the safer countries to visit, but for those also making the trek, we advise you to remain alert and aware of your obvious "outsider" status in an unfamiliar place.
UPDATE: IT WAS ANNOUNCED ON FRIDAY MORNING THAT THE RESULTS OF THE VOTE (55-PERCENT TO 45-PERCENT) WILL KEEP SCOTLAND A PART OF THE UNITED KINGDOM. THE KINGDOM AND ITS RIDERS WILL REMAIN THE SAME FOR YEARS TO COME.
The second pressing topic is the possible separation of Scotland from the United Kingdom's control. This is a historic matter will make the northern portion of the island an entirely new and self-governed nation from ruling lower portion, the first time the two would separate since roughly the 1700s. This union helped create the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which dictates the laws of both lands from the Palace of Westminster in London. A recent referendum opened the discussion of succession by Scotland, and the vote to stay together or separate is currently taking place with a simple "yes" or "no" ballot. Political pundits have the race too tight to call, with the results of the vote to come on Friday morning.
What does this do to motocross? With Dean Wilson and Shawn Simpson on the roster Great Britain's team at the 2014 Motocross of Nations is two-thirds Scottish, but because the vote is taking place just days before the event they will compete under the Union Jack flag regardless of the decision. We reached out to Wilson via Twitter earlier today, and he replied with a resounding "No. We are committed to our team in Latvia."
Should the separation happen, the first race as a new nation would occur in 2016, as political leaders have already announced that the possible "Independence Day" would be March 24, 2016.
We felt it was important to show the global political influences on the sport. To further understand the situations taking place in Europe, have a look at news websites such as…