In just over a month's time some of the best riders in the world will head to Northern France for the 2015 Motocross of Nations. As reigning champions and the home team, the French squad have more pressure than most, yet having won in 2014 with what might not have been considered their strongest team, this year's riders have reason for a certain amount of confidence.
With Romain Febvre and Gautier Paulin leading the World championship and Marvin Musquin on the cusp of an AMA 250 title, no other Nation has a better line up.But rather than rest on their laurels, the French team are already practicing hard together, team building, discussing strategy and generally acting like a team should. They are staying at the same hotels that they will use during the competition, they are practicing on the same track, they are working with the same support team and trainers - they are 100% committed to retaining their title. Contrast this to the situation in the UK when the full team is yet to be picked, let alone looking to build any team spirit going into the biggest competition of the year.
The French Federation can't bring all their team together yet as Musquin is still fighting for the title, but they've drafted in Yamaha's Benoit Paturel to act as an MX2 marker for Paulin and Febvre in their preparation. It's a strategy that undelines the French riders current high ranking in world and US motocross and is the type of dedication and preparation that most countries simply are not putting in. If the French retain their title in Ernee it will not be any surprise, and neither will it be undeserved.
Here's the video of the French team in action - it's got subtitles but don't let that put you off. It shows exactly why they will go to Ernee with the 1, 2 & 3 plates and stand a very strong chance of leaving with them.