The Talkessel circuit in Teutschenthal, Germany was jammed packed for the 67th Motocross of Nations today and the sunshine and rough hard-pack near the city of Halle was the setting for a memorable victory for Team Belgium.
The trio of racers selected to represent the country included Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1’s Clement Desalle; who unfortunately wasn’t able to join in with the party scenes on Sunday night. The 2013 MX1 World Championship runner-up helped towards the winning tally with third position in the opening moto on his works RM-Z450, but his second race lasted only seconds when he fell on the first corner and dislocated his left shoulder.
Desalle was able to gingerly walk the podium to celebrate the Belgian team’s triumph – the first since 2004 at the annual international spectacle for the sport – but then left promptly for further medical examinations on the joint. The #25 had started the weekend in promising form with a dominant performance to take pole position in the MX1 class on Saturday. The crowd figure for the event would eventually rise to 85,000 as the roads and access routes into Talkessel locked solid on race day. A problem at the start of the initial moto on Sunday meant Desalle was effectively last into the banked first turn but some ruthless and efficient work through the long ruts and bumps and in chilly but sunny conditions drew him up to the top three.
While Belgium started the party minus their Suzuki ace on Sunday evening, there were other causes for champagne corks to be popped: Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe were represented by 2013 EMX250 European Championship runner-up Jeremy Seewer. The 19 year old guided the factory-backed RM-Z250 for Switzerland to an impressive double of 17th and 24th and defeated many more experienced riders. His scorecard landed him the prestigious Ricky Carmichael Award for the best-performing and youngest rider on the day.
Team Japan’s Yohei Kojima was able to steer the other factory RM-Z450 but the Japanese were unable to make the qualification cut through the B-Final on Sunday morning.
Testing duties for 2014 now lie ahead for both Rockstar Energy Suzuki teams with some restructuring also taking place in terms of the MX2 set-up. Desalle’s injury will be assessed before the teams and riders break for a short holiday period.
The 2014 Motocross of Nations will see around 40 countries again gather to compete but this time at the Kegums circuit in Latvia next September.
“I’m sorry to miss out a little bit because I have some pain and I’m worried about my shoulder but it is so nice to finally win. We have been speaking about how it would feel for several weeks. I made a mistake in the first moto and started so far behind. I felt good and strong on my bike and it was a good race. I’m sad to have had a last moto of the season like that but I will try to enjoy the moment before we go to the doctor. I want to thank all of Team Belgium and my team-mates. We did a good job.”
“My day was really good. I started from 34th position and didn’t get away that well but I passed a lot of riders to get up to 15th or 16th. I was ahead of Butron and Nicholls and behind Lupino. Tomac passed me on the last corner but 16th was still OK for me and for Switzerland. In the second race I was taken out at the start and had to fight back to get near the top 20. I was dead-last and so far behind but my times were really good and among the top MX2 guys. Team Switzerland finished ninth so it wasn’t such a bad day and my speed overall was pretty good. I’m also very happy to have won the Ricky Carmichael Award; a nice way to finish the season.”
Motocross of Nations Classification: