The USA took their 22nd Monster Energy FIM Motocross des Nations victory in Saint Jean d’Angely ahead of France and Australia but it wasn’t an easy win for the Americans who had to pull out all the stops in the last race to retain the Chamberlain Trophy.
Before the third and final race France were leading the Nations classification with a nine-point advantage over the Americans and 12 points ahead of Belgium so the home team only needed to obtain two solid results in the last race. But Christophe Pourcel had to pull out when his rear mousse broke up, although Gautier Paulin had a great race and helped his team to the second step of the rostrum.
Australia made history in Saint Jean d’Angely by obtaining their maiden podium in the Motocross des Nations while team Great Britain finished just two points behind the Aussies with Belgium fifth.
One of the pre-event favourites, Italy had a nightmare Nations. After looking impressive in qualification, the Italians suffered a body blow early on when world MX1 champ Antonio Cairoli crashed twice in the opening race, the second one leaving him with a broken scaphoid that meant he was unable to continue.
Race 1 (MX1/MX2)
Chad Reed took the holeshot for Australia and dominated the heat until the chequered flag. Germany’s MX2 world champ Ken Roczen finished behind the Australian and he proved once more his incredible talent by beating all but one of the 450cc machines.
American Ryan Dungey started third, overtook Russian Evgeny Bobryshev on lap four but was surprised by Roczen at the end of the race. Britain’s Tommy Searle and South African Tyla Rattray came home fourth and fifth.
In the middle of the race heavy rain surprised all the MX1 and MX2 riders and American Blake Baggett could only finish 17th. Pourcel had to stop in the pitlane because a stone had hit his goggles but he went out again and finished 11th while his team-mate Marvin Musquin ended eighth.
So after one race the British team were at the top of the Nations standings thanks to the fourth place of Searle and the ninth position of Dean Wilson.
Race 2 (Open and MX2)
The spectators went crazy when Paulin took the holeshot at the start of the second heat and managed to finish first, ahead of Holland’s Jeffrey Herlings and American Ryan Villopoto. Although Musquin was back in 20th it meant France moved to the top of the standings after the second heat. Team USA were nine points behind the French after Baggett struggled home in 11th. Roczen finished fourth followed by Kevin Strijbos who helped Belgium to third in the standings after the second race.
Australia were unlucky because Matt Moss couldn’t start due to a mechanical problem with his bike. However, Brett Metcalfe finished seventh which kept Aussie hopes alive. Brad Anderson and Wilson came home 14th and 27th which dented British chances of a podium finish.
Race 3 (MX1 and Open)
French hopes of a famous victory on home soil evaporated in race three when Paulin’s mousse broke up as America’s Villopoto and Dungey swept to the front. The USA knew that only two good results would guarantee them the overall victory and the pair rose to the challenge to finish 1-2 in the third heat. Rattray finished behind the Americans and South Africa ended sixth in the final Nations classification.
Reed could not bring another win to the team but he finished in a solid seventh. Metcalfe made a mistake when he was running fourth but the Australians succeeded in obtaining their maiden podium in the Nations.
In the third heat Searle had another amazing race and finished fourth but with Anderson a battling 15th the Brits narrowly missed out on a podium finish, just as we did 12 moths ago in Colorado.
Dungey took the individual MX1 victory, Roczen won in MX2 and Villopoto won in the Open class.