The Ernée circuit was full to capacity for the 2015 Monster Energy Motocross of Nations as the sport signed-off the motocross racing season with a bonanza of racing, atmosphere, noise, colour and expectation for the 69th edition of this historic race.
Team France of Romain Febvre, Marvin Musquin and Gautier Paulin triumphed around the narrow and winding hillside layout but Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe’s Glen Coldenhoff soldiered through discomfort from a sore right shoulder to help the Netherlands place sixth overall from 20 countries.
The sport of motocross has rarely seen such spectator numbers – 80,000 for the weekend – hype and emotion in the modern era and the combination of this event’s popularity, France’s passion for the racing and the fact that the winning team were defending champions turned Ernée into an authentic spectacle.
The three fastest athletes from each country lined up for three 30-minute and two lap motos in MXGP, MX Open and MX2 categories. Scoring points according to their classification the country with the lowest total (after dropping their worst from the six results) walked the podium. Following France, USA, Belgium, Estonia and Switzerland were the Dutch but Coldenhoff’s weekend started-off on the wrong foot after a crash during Saturday’s practice and qualification sessions meant he was struggling with his right shoulder.
The GP of Latvia winner wore strapping for the first moto and managed a seventh. Removing the assistance he felt slightly freer on his RM-Z450 and rode to 10th after recovering from a bad start in what was the last race of the day and pitched the MXGP and Open classes together. Coldenhoff ranked fifth overall in the Open division.
Representing Switzerland was team-mate Jeremy Seewer in MX2 and on the RM-Z250. The youngster ended his second season at the top level as the best performer from his country with two-10th positions.
Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe closes 2015 with Grand Prix victory in MXGP, maiden MX2 podium finishes for Seewer and the ADAC MX Masters German Championship.
“In practice I had a big crash and hurt my shoulder pretty bad,” Glenn Coldenhoff said. “I didn’t feel good all weekend long. I was stiff and to protect the joint we put tape but it made it feel even tighter. I couldn’t ride like I wanted to so we took the tape off for the second moto. I didn’t have good starts in either moto actually.
“In the second one I was so focussed that I actually pulled the gate down with my wheel. It was a bit weird and I had to start from second-last and found my way to 10th. Seventh-10th and sixth overall is not a bad weekend for the Dutch.
“Overall it has been a pretty good year and I kept progressing. I want to thank the team for the last two seasons and all their support. It was great working with them and I’ll always remember what they did for me.”
Jeremy Seewer said: “I feel pretty good about today. It was quite a special track with so many ruts and bumps and it was quite sticky and soft. It was difficult for suspension and to keep on two wheels and smooth. I had a good start in the first moto and finished 10th, which was okay and I think I was the third best 250 rider.
“In the second race I got stuck between two 450s in the gate and had to shut-off the throttle which meant I was quite far back around the first corner. I came back to 10th again, almost ninth on the last lap. I think we achieved a good placing with Switzerland. We had some fun!”