Some last moto drama saw Team USA take a record 20th Motocross
of nations victory at Franciacorta in Italy on Sunday.
The biggest off-road motorcycle race in the world saw hot and sunny conditions cooking a mammoth and eager crowd of 90,000 over two days.
The newly-constructed circuit inside the road racing complex housed a rough and technical track of two minute lap-times with five large 'showcase' jumps split by successions of waves, rollers and technical sections.
The event involves the three best riders from each of the 36 entered countries competing in MX1, MX2 and Open categories.
After qualification heats on Saturday whittled the field down to 20 nations, three motos on Sunday (40 riders in the gate for MX1+MX2, MX2+Open and Open+MX1) determined the final classification.
From the six results recorded the five best counted towards the overall score with the points system reversed - the winner gaining 1 mark and last place 40 - and the crew with the lowest total earning the grand prize of the Chamberlain trophy.
Race 1 (MX1 & MX2):
The 2009 Motocross
of Nations got off to bang when newly crowned MX1 world champion Toni Cairoli (Italy) and AMA Motocross
champion Chad Reed (Australia) locked in a thrilling race long duel for supremacy.
Reed showed the front wheel of Suzuki to the Yamaha mounted Sicilian several times but could not force a way past, and the race finished with Cairoli 1.5sec in front, while third placed Ryan Dungey a further 27sec back for Team USA.
“I knew Chad was there all the time and it was pretty hard to make that rhythm all race but I guessed it was the same for him. We could pull away from the other guys and it was fun. The people here were amazing and I want to say thanks, because they helped me a lot,” said Cairoli.
Belgian Clement Desalle was fourth, with MX2 world champion Marvin Musquin fifth and the leading 250cc rider ahead of Josh Copping (New Zealand, 450) and Tommy Searle (UK, 250).
Unfortunately for Cairoli, team-mate Davide Guarneri was only 16th, while eighth place for Jake Weimer allowed the USA to take the early overall lead. Australia's second rider, Brett Metcalfe, was only 17th.
Nations top ten after Race 1:
1. USA - 11
2. Italy - 17
3. Great Britain - 18
4. Australia - 19
5. Belgium - 19
6. France - 19
7. Republic of South Africa - 22
8. New Zealand - 41
9. Switzerland - 44
10. Germany - 46
Race 2 (OPEN & MX2):