MotoOnline.com.au previews this weekend's 64th edition of the Red Bull FIM Motocross of Nations, which takes place this weekend at Thunder Valley Motocross Park in the United States.
The biggest Motocross event of the year, the Red Bull FIM Motocross of Nations, has come to its 64th edition which will see the ‘Olympics’ of Motocross return to the United States of America and make its first appearance at Thunder Valley Motocross Park in Colorado this weekend.
World MX1 Motocross Champion Tony Cairoli of Team Italy and World Supercross Champion Ryan Dungey of Team USA will give battle to the rest of the 32 nations entering the event.
Last time the event was in the USA it was in 2007 when Team USA took an incredible home win at Budds Creek. Team USA is actually on a winning streak since their 2005 victory in Ernee, France, but among the 32 teams entered in the event there are several ones looking to beat the most successful team at the Motocross of Nations.
Second last year, France is the first on the list of those wanting to beat USA, followed by third placed in 2009 Belgium, Germany, Great Britain, Italy and several more all to battle amongst each other this weekend.
Following their dramatic win at Franciacorta, Italy, last year, Team USA is ready to defend the Chamberlain Trophy this year on their stomping grounds.
For the Red Bull FIM Motocross of Nations’ comeback to the USA, team manager Roger De Coster kept last year’s MXoN debutant Ryan Dungey and added 2010 AMA Nationals Lites Champion Trey Canard (MX2) with Colorado’s Andrew Short (Open) completing the team – both to make their first appearance at the event.
Dungey made a stunning debut in the FIM Supercross World Championship by winning the title as a rookie onboard his Suzuki RM-Z450, the same bike he used to win the AMA Nationals later on in the year and give De Coster his last two titles with Suzuki as ‘The Man’ will join KTM next year.
Canard battled tooth and nail with Christophe Pourcel – who was injured at the last round of the series – for the eventual AMA Nationals title in the 250 Class, but ended up third in the AMA Supercross West Coast Lites division.
Short will be really feeling at home this weekend as he is native of Colorado. The American was 12th in the AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, series and third in the Nationals on the 450.
Team Australia will consist of AMA Motocross 450 Class number two Brett Metcalfe (MX1), Dean Ferris (MX2) and triple MX Nationals Champion Jay Marmont (Open), the trio hoping for a consistent effort with the podium in their sights.
Being second on the podium since 2007, the MXoN’s comeback year to the USA, Team France is hungry for their second win at the event after their first and only Chamberlain Trophy from 2001.
Coach Olivier Robert, who actually debuted in the role in 2001, has selected a strong line up made of Gautier Paulin in MX1, who replaces Christophe Pourcel after the latter has recently injured his shoulder, Marvin Musquin in MX2 and Xavier Boog in the Open class.
Racing his first MXoN last year and shocking the opposition with a moto win at his 450cc debut before crashing in the final heat, Paulin is determined to make up for a season he started with a leg injury, the mishap preventing him for chasing the MX2 title.
That title was won by countryman Musquin, again lining up in the MX2 class, which he won at his first ever Red Bull FIM Motocross of Nations last year.
The squad will be completed by MX1 rookie Boog, steering the factory Kawasaki at the Red Bull FIM Motocross of Nations after he entered the top ten of the 2010 FIM Motocross World Championship.
Another strong presence at the Red Bull FIM Motocross of Nations is marked by Team Belgium, winning the event 14 times against the 16 wins of Great Britain and the record of 20 wins of USA.
This year Belgium will line up the factory Suzuki pair Steve Ramon (MX1) and Clement Desalle (Open), with the latter having finished second in the World MX1 Motocross Championship. The third man of Belgium will be Van Horebeek, who has successfully completed his first season with Kawasaki.
Max Nagl, Ken Roczen and Markus Schiffer will make Team Germany, who is another squad aiming at a podium finish in Lakewood. Nagl was chasing the MX1 World Championship until he broke his collarbone at mid-season while Roczen ended a bitter second in the MX2 World Championship after several mechanical failures.
Entering the top five last year, Team Great Britain underwent a lot of changes to finally line up Jake Nicholls (MX1), America-based Dean Wilson (MX2) and multiple British Champion Brad Anderson (Open).
Italy was also under the spotlight as their top riders Cairoli and David Philippaerts received the all clear to ride only two weeks in front of the event after issues with their sponsorship were settled. Unfortunately Philippaerts injured his knee and will be replaced by Manuel Monni (Open).
MX1 World Champion Cairoli will be eager to beat Dungey in the MX1 class while Alessandro Lupino completes Team Italy in MX2.
New Zealand will feature Josh Coppins (MX1) in his last international race before retiring to race just the Australian and New Zealand series, joined by Brad Groombridge (MX2) and Ben Townley (Open).
Among the top riders attending the event will be GP winners Tanel Leok (Estonia), Jonathan Barragan (Spain), Rui Gonçalves (Portugal) and Zach Osborne (Puerto Rico), while Switzerland’s Arnuad Tonus will be back in action after taking his maiden grand prix podium in the last GP of 2010 in Fermo, Italy.
Some of the most exotic countries in the event are Japan, Brazil, Iceland, Philippines – their first time in the event – Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala and Mexico.