Carmichael leads USA to 'Nations victory.

Two races wins for Ricky Carmichael led America to their 16th Motocross of Nations title, matching the all-time win record held by Great Britain, after three thrilling finals held in front of 36,000 vocal fans at Ernee, France today (Sunday).

"I don't think I've ever seen such a good crowd, fair and enthusiastic," said Motocross legend Roger De Coster, manager of the American team. Even the weather helped out, with rain in the morning watering the track before bright sunshine arrived in time for the races.

AMA champion Carmichael, the pre-event favourite and America's representative in the premier MX1 class, lived up to every bit of the considerable hype that has surrounded his presence in France dominating both his races.

In the first, which saw the MX1 riders mixed with the MX2 class, RC broke away early and simply eased away from the competition to eventually take a 8-second victory over New Zealand's Josh Coppins, with home hero Mickael Pichon third for France.

Meanwhile, reigning MX1 world champion Stefan Everts failed to shine, suffering arm pump on his way to fifth position.

The top MX2 rider in race one would be Carmichael's team-mate Ivan Tedesco, who took sixth on his 250 four-stroke Kawasaki, with new KTM recruit Sebastian Tortelli one place behind for France.

Race two saw the MX2 riders line-up with the Open class, and a stroke of fortune for the Belgian team as both USA and France got into trouble, following crashes for Tedesco (who would finish 17th), Tortelli (29th) and Windham.

American ace Windham had looked likely to take victory after pulling a substantial lead over New Zealand's Ben Townley, but dropped down the order to fifth following a fall - leaving Townley, who also took a tumble, to claim victory ahead of Frenchman David Vuillemin with Steve Ramon third for Belgium.

The third and final race - featuring the MX1 and Open class riders - would be decisive with Belgium and the US effectively tied (although the worst score could be dropped) - and America got off to a perfect start as Carmichael and Windham held the top two positions early on.

However, buoyed by his race two ride, Townley would charge quickly up the order and, after passing Windham for second, thrilled the crowd as he matched Carmichael's pace lap-for-lap as he kept RC just a second ahead for the opening ten-minutes, before the Suzuki star edged ever further away.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
USA (1st), France (2nd) and Belgium (3rd) on the 2005 Motocross of Nations podium at Ernee France.
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