The world’s top motocross countries faced off against one another on a grey and foggy day in England for the 2017 Motocross of Nations. Overnight rains that hit Matterley Basin greatly changed the English circuit from the Saturday qualifying motos and riders were forced to fight through heavy track conditions and mud while still maintaining a top pace. With teams fielding three riders in three classes (MXGP, MX2, Open) in a trio of motos (two races per class), consistency is the key for a team’s hopes of taking the Chamberlain Trophy back to their nation. When the final flag waved, there was no denying that the strongest team had outright won.
2017 Motocross of Nations | Moto One (MXGP & MX2)
Anstie (Great Britain) simply dominated the opening race, as he expertly navigated the first lanes of muddy track and charged off with the lead over Paulin (France). With each lap Anstie's advantage grew over the field and he calmly clicked off laps to the roar of the British crowd. There was one moment of alert for Anstie in the moto, when in the early stages he ran into Seely (USA) and his broken motorcycle. Aside from this, the race was near perfect and Anstie won by a six-second margin. Unfortunately, a mechanical issue forced Searle (Great Britain) to withdraw from the race and he was credited with a 37th place finish.
Paulin held second for much of the moto until he was outrun by Gajser (Slovenia) in the latter half. Charlier (France) went on to finish fourteenth.
Osborne (USA) was pinched off by the pack of riders at the start of the moto, but made moves in the early laps to rank in the top-ten. Despite a brief battle with Olsen (Denmark), Osborne was alone for much of the race and finished tenth. Like Great Britain, this result was offset by the broken rear shock that forced teammate Seely to DNF.
Lawrence (Australia) put in a hard charge against the big bikes in the field and the MX2 rider finished fourth. Like Great Britain and the USA, his effort was counteracted by a twenty-second place finish from teammate Ferris.
Coldenhoff and Boogers (The Netherlands) scored consistent finishes (Coldenhoff – 8, Bogers – 12), which greatly helped the team's classification after the first race. The same can be said for Tonus and Guillod (Switzerland), as they both put in top-twenty finishes (Tonus – 5, Guillod – 18).
2017 Motocross of Nations | Moto Two (MX2 & Open)
The battle between Herlings (The Netherlands) and Febvre (France) started the moment the gate drop, when Febvre went into the first turn with the lead only to see Herlings slip by with an inside line. In almost no time there was a large gap between them and the rest of the field. Herlings held the advantage in the early laps, until a small mistake when coming out of a valley sent him off of the track and allowed Febvre back into the front of the pack. There was a sizable space between the two in the middle of the moto, but Febvre encountered issues when it came to slower lapped riders and Herlings managed to reel him back in. The pass came in the final minutes of the race and with this, Herlings rode off to the win by a thirteen-second margin.
Gibbs and Lawrence (Australia) stayed near the top of the chart for the full duration of the moto, as Gibbs was as high as third in the early laps and was later shuffled back to fifth. Lawrence, meanwhile, worked his way by riders on 450cc machines was near the top-five until a late tip-over. He was able to remount the bike and finished eighth.
Covington (USA) was caught up in a first-turn crash and spent the full duration of the race fighting with riders in the running order. He ultimately finished twenty-second. Osborne again battled with a handful of riders after getting shuffled at the start. A strong push in the closing laps helped him pick off a number of front-runners and he finished the race in third, the highest placing 250 in the field.
Wilson and Searle (Great Britain) each logged solid motos, as Wilson stayed in the top-ten for the full race and Searle fought through the pack to finish fifteenth, a huge improvement over his moto one DNF.
Charlier (France) finished sixth and Bogers (The Netherlands) finished ninth, two scores that greatly helped their teams in the overall rankings.
2017 Motocross of Nations | Moto Three (MXGP & Open)
Anstie (Great Britain) aced the start in the final race of the day over Febvre (France) and Herlings (The Netherlands). The trio stayed in a close formation in the early part of the race, with a slight advantage held by Anstie and Febvre over Herlings. Febvre closed in on Anstie at one point until a fogging issue forced him to toss his goggles and duck out of Anstie's roost. Anstie had much bigger issues of his own soon after, as a small crash allowed Febvre to fly by. Anstie did all that he could to overcome the crash and with much faster lines around the slick track, he caught and passed Febvre for the lead midway through the race. Herlings put in a very late charge to pass Febvre and catch up to Anstie, and with this, the two longtime rivals were in a tight fight in the final laps. Anstie held the advantage in the fight and with that, claimed his second moto win of the day.
Wilson (Great Britain) came into the race with a black eye, caused by a stone to his face in the earlier race, and maintained a steady tempo throughout the full moto. Wilson traded passes with Seewer and Tonus (Switzerland) in the final stages, with Wilson coming out on top to take eighth place.
With Febvre in the top three, teammate Paulin put in another consistent ride. He spent much of the moto alone and went on to finish sixth place. Coldenhoff, meanwhile, finished eleventh in the moto.
Covington and Seely (USA) had their share of issues: Covington was shuffled deep in the pack at the start and worked to finish in seventeenth and another suspension failure forced Seely to pull out of the race.
With five of their six scores in the top-ten (2-3-3-6-6-14 [lowest score dropped]) and a final tally of twenty-points, France claimed their fourth consecutive win at the Motocross of Nations. The Netherlands finished second overall with a final tally of thirty-one points (1-2-8-9-11-12 [lowest score dropped]), and Great Britain third overall with a final tally of thirty-two points (1-1-7-8-15-37 [lowest score dropped]).