20 September 2007
Preview – 2007 Motocross of Nations.
Budds Creek will host the 61st edition of the famous end-of-season team event, which America has won a record 17 times - and Team USA are again the overwhelming favourites for 2007.
After missing last year's event through injury Carmichael, the most successful AMA Supercross/Motocross rider of all time, will captain Team USA for the final time this weekend before retirement. RC, a long-time supporter of the 'Nations, will be joined by Ryan Villopoto and Tim Ferry, the latter replacing the injured James Stewart.
With RC's skills beyond question in the MX1 class, and Villopoto a reigning MX2 class champion in both AMA Supercross and Motocross, Ferry represents the weakest link in a very strong chain. Nevertheless, Ferry was in contention for the 2007 AMA Motocross crown, after team-mate Stewart's injury, and Team USA is considered to have a stronger line-up than the Stewart/Villopoto/Tedesco team that triumphed - albeit without a moto win - in 2006.
Individual star of last year's event was retiring ten times world champion Stefan Everts, who won both his heats but couldn't lift his country above America alone. This year's Belgian squad features two Motocross of Nations rookies in the form of Ken De Dycker and Jeremy Van Horebeek, with MX1 world champion Steve Ramon completing the team.
At Matterley Basin last year, Belgium was the most successful team from an individual point of view, with Ramon and Everts winning the Open and MX1 classes respectively, while Villopoto had won the MX2.
New Zealand, who finished an excellent third last year, has been hit by Josh Coppins' shoulder injury, which cost the Kiwi the MX1 crown. Coppins will be replaced by Daryl Hurley, who will race alongside countrymen Cody Cooper and Ben Townley. Former world champion Townley will be well known to the American fans, having won an MX2 class Supercross title and finished a close second to team-mate Villopoto in the Motocross series.
It was a bitter Motocross of Nations for the Italians last year, who missed the podium by just two points but look primed for podium success in 2007. Antonio Cairoli, who dominated the World MX2 championship this season, will be joined by rookie MX1 race winner David Philippaerts and Davide Guarneri, who won his maiden MX2 GP this year at Namur. With the exception of Everts, Cairoli was the only heat winner last year, when he brilliantly beat his opponents in the MX2/Open class race.
France will be represented by a very young team; after Christophe Pourcel and David Vuillemin's injuries, the squad underwent a few modifications. Nicolas Aubin, winner of his first GP this year at Loket, and Pierre-Alexandre Renet will make their first appearance in the event, alongside 2007 MX1 rookie Sebastien Pourcel, who completes the team.
Great Britain is the second most successful country after the USA, with a total of 16 wins at the Motocross of Nations, and will call upon a fast but unpredictable line-up of Billy Mackenzie, Tommy Searle and James Noble.
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