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Team USA takes 20th Motocross of Nations win

5 October 2009

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):

The second race ended with a surprise victory for Frenchman Gautier Paulin (450cc), a title contender in MX2 this year, over Italy's Davide Philippaerts (450cc) and the USA's Ivan Tedesco (450cc) - all covered by less than four seconds.

A 30 second gap then followed to Musquin (top 250), as France leaped to the head of the standings by a healthy 12 points - although with the worst moto result to be dropped at the end of the day the leaderboard was sure to change considerably after race three.

A lowly 25th for Weimer saw the USA slip to third behind the consistent Belgium, seventh and eleventh in race two with Steve Ramon (450cc) and Joel Roelents (250cc), while Great Britain dropped 23 points from the lead in fourth.

But the biggest race two losers were Italy, with Guarneri retiring after a clash with Australian Michael Byrne on lap two, dropping the home team to sixth - and in need of two strong finishes from star riders Cairoli and Philippaerts in the final moto.

Nations top ten after Race 2:
1. France - 25
2. Belgium - 37
3. USA - 39
4. Great Britain - 48
5. Republic of South Africa - 54
6. Italy - 56
7. Germany - 60
8. Australia - 66
9. Estonia - 85
10. New Zealand - 85

Race 3 (MX1 & OPEN):

The final moto opened with a massive tangle on the start straight, which left race one winner Cairoli down and out with a broken bike - and ended Italy's hopes.

“It was a pretty big crash,” said Toni. “I was full gas along the straight and I think it was Paulin who closed my line a bit from the inside and then someone else squashed me from the outside, once we touched then we went flying.”

Paulin and Byrne were also out on lap one, while Reed was left to fight his way forwards after also falling.

Up front, Jonathan Barragan led the early laps, before being overtaken by Dungey. The young American, making his first competitive foray on an MX1 motorcycle, then rode to an eleven second victory ahead of Ramon (Belgium), Philippaerts (ITA), Barragan (SPA), Frossard (FRA) and Coppins (NZL).

But seventh place for Dungey's team-mate Tedesco, who had been just 13th on lap one, was enough to hand Team USA overall victory by eight points over France, once Weimer's worst result had been removed.

Scrubbing Paulin's DNF allowed the French team to claim second over Belgium, but Italy were hit hard by the double DNFs of Guarneri (race two) and Cairoli (race three). With only one of those dropped, the team sank to sixth in the final standings.

The individual class honours went to Dungey (MX1), Musquin (MX2) and Philippaerts (Open) - and Dungey's 3-1 race results made him the hero of Team USA on Sunday. Tedesco recorded 3-7 finishes and Weimer 8-25 (the worst of which was dropped).

"This definitely ranks near the top for me,” smiled Ryan, riding in his first ever race outside America. “It has been a dream to come over here and it's a real experience to be a part of this, never mind actually winning it.

“A lot of people told me what it would be like, but when you arrive here you can't help but be amazed. We had a good time and full credit to Jake and Ivan; I had a break between the motos but they went back-to-back and that takes a lot of heart and dedication. I am glad we could work together and pull this one off,” added the modest American.

Final Nations top ten after Race 3:
1. USA - 22
2. France - 30
3. Belgium - 39
4. Germany - 55
5. Great Britain - 55
6. Italy - 59
7. Australia - 73
8. Estonia - 78
9. Republic of South Africa - 84
10. Switzerland - 88


“It is simply the biggest and best Nations ever,” enthused FIM/CMS president Dr. Wolfgang Srb. “We have reached a new dimension and touched new horizons and this is something I am stunned about.

“37 federations have entered, a huge crowd came on site to watch, this is really the 'Olympic Games of Motocross', this is all so big that I have no words to describe it.

“The riders did a great job entertaining the crowd with great racing, there was such a positive atmosphere around the whole venue as everyone celebrated the maximum expression of Motocross.”

“The races we just watched were part of a really well organized event under all points of view, including show, sport and crowd. It was so spectacular that it gave a lot of dignity to our sport and the FIM is very much satisfied about it,” added FIM president Vito Ippolito.


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