In front of a capacity crowd in Ernée, at home in France, Team France sent the atmosphere into overdrive with a hard-fought victory at the Motocross of Nations, successfully defending their crown.
Cleaning up in the qualifying races yesterday with three straight wins, the team looked dominant from the outset, but faced intense competition from Team USA.
On the CRF450RW that carried the #1 plate from last year’s victory in Kegums, Gautier Paulin put in a pair of stellar performances on home soil to contribute to his team’s victory.
The event lived up to the hype with an electric atmosphere as the capacity crowd willed on the French trio of Paulin, Marvin Musquin and Romain Febvre. With two wins, third, fourth and fifth from Sunday’s races, not including the one permitted dropped round, Team France ensured the crowds raised the figurative roof with victory by a narrow two points.
On the other side of the Team HRC garage, Evgeny Bobryshev lined up for Team Russia and had, personally, just as much to be happy about.
Delivering two of his best performances of what was already his best season in MXGP, Bobby rode exceptionally to deliver a well-deserved second and fourth. The team’s best points-scorer, Team Russia finished 12th overall.
“Gautier didn’t have a bad weekend at all to help France to another Nations win, and I’m just glad that we were able to contribute to their success!” said HRC General Manager – MXGP, Roger Harvey.
“I’m very pleased with the way Bobby rode this weekend too – consistently clean with good starts, and two good results for him,” added Harvey. “The event was just fantastic – unbelievable. One of the best Motocross of Nations I’ve been to. Although we’re missing some riders and a bit of depth in the field, it’s still one of the best and the atmosphere was just fantastic.”
Gautier Paulin said: “Everything today was about fighting to try and keep our title with all the best countries and their best riders here. To defend the title here in France in front of all the home fans is amazing. They were reaching for us – it’s amazing the feeling they give us when we ride and even in the paddock. I definitely want to thank my team-mates for their great job, and the team and the French federation who did an awesome job to give us the best material for this event.
“The hardest thing after winning last year was to keep it again here in front of the home crowd on home soil, so I don’t have words to describe the feeling of winning again.”
Evgeny Bobryshev said: “I was really happy about today, especially because yesterday I had not such a good day and dislocated my thumb and cut my nail pretty badly when I went off the track so I had lots of pain today. I’ve done a good job today I think – second in the first race and then fourth and fastest lap in race two. It was a bit tough though as by the end I lost a little concentration and made a few silly mistakes. The track was not so easy, but the event is really special – there were so many fans today and the atmosphere was great. It’s a team sport and we qualified for the A final and had many supporters from Russia so big thanks to these guys who really support us with the heart!”
Top five Nations
1. Team France – 14pts
2. Team USA – 16pts
3. Team Belgium – 56pts
4. Team Estonia – 66pts
5. Team Switzerland – 67pts