It must have been one of the toughest choices the AMA and American riders have ever made, but due to the senseless tragedies of September 11th, the American defense of the MX des Nations crown was impossible this year after the team elected to sit out the race for the first time since 1980. Of course, the show still went on, and it was the French riders who took home the title after the strong hometown Belgian team (namely 500cc hero Joel Smets, who was on a 250) suffered some big mechanical problems that killed the team’s chances of a win.
With Stefan Everts dominating two of the three motos, it seemed as though the Belgians had the race in the bag. The second moto proved to be a turning point, however, as Joel Smets’ 250cc engine seized, adding 28 points to the country’s scorecard. Smets’ last moto didn’t go much better, as Joel tangled with downed rider Javier Garcia Vico and lost his radiator cap in the process. Though Smets charged from 31st to 17th, there was still no chance for a win from Belgium.
Prior to the race, the French team’s chances of a win seemed to diminish, as the country lost favorites Sebastien Tortelli to an injury and 250cc World Champ Mickael Pichon to an unpaid fine, but with a little luck and some hard charging, Luigi Seguy, David Vuillemin and Yves DeMaria stood atop the podium in Namur.
France, 28 points-Luigi Seguy-David Vuillemin-Yves DeMaria
Belgium, 37 points-Steve Ramon-Joel Smets-Stefan Everts
New Zealand, 47 points-Daryl Hurley-Josh Coppins-Shayne King
Great Brittain, 56 points-Stephen Sword-Carl Nunn-Kurt Nicoll
Germany, 57 points-Andreas Kanstinger-Pit Beirer-Bernd Eckenbach