The Motocross of Nations returns to Italy for the first time 1986 this weekend, when 40,000 fans witnessed a memorable victory by the US dream team of David Bailey, Ricky Johnson and Johnny O'Mara.
The three American Honda riders and friends, guided by the expert hand of Team Honda and Team USA's manager Roger De Coster, left their mark in the record book with the Team win and three outstanding individual performances.
With his signature finesse, Bailey staged an impeccable performance on his 500cc Honda and elegantly marked his status of ultimate American icon in the heart of the world audience.
Johnson showed the planet why he was considered the leader in the new riding trend, combining speed and spectacle on his 250cc and from then on became the most loved American rider of the decade.
O'Mara did the impossible on the smaller machine when he beat everyone on the track except his team-mate Bailey in the 500/125 moto. Particularly breathtaking was the moment when he passed '86 500cc world champion David Thorpe to eventually finish second.
Johnson will be the only member of the trio present in Italy this weekend, but all three have reflected on that memorable day in 1986 and their thoughts for the 2009 event.
“The 1986 Maggiora event was spectacular!” said Bailey. “The awesome track, the Italian fans filling the hillsides, O'Mara's incredible ride and our perfect score make Maggiora my favorite MX of Nations.
“For Giuseppe Luongo [Youthstream president], it was his first major event and the look of it added even more to the atmosphere. Some say he has come a long way over the years, but as nice as Maggiora looked back in 1986, he didn't leave much room for improvement, he put his unique signature in MX right there already.
“I can only imagine how special this year's event will be. I am competing in the Hawaii Ironman world championship very soon so I am unable to make the trip, but I hope for a successful day again in Italy and a strong showing for team USA.”