With its win at the 2008 Red Bull FIM Motocross of Nations in Donington Park, Great Britain, on September 28, Team USA claimed an unprecedented 19th victory in the prestigious end-of-season event.
But the result was in no way guaranteed, as a tough track and some bad luck potentially threatened the record-setting achievement of James Stewart, Ryan Villopoto and Tim Ferry.
While each member, once again managed by multi-time world Motocross champion Roger DeCoster, put in one strong ride, each also carded a less-than-perfect showing during the three races, each of which combine two classes.
Ferry, USA's Open class rider, admitted the team was taken by surprise by the course. Ferry finished ninth in his first moto before improving to fifth in his second to secure the Open class overall win.
"I definitely struggled throughout the first moto. I underestimated this track, it was really gnarly and difficult to pass on," Ferry said.
Villopoto, the MX2 class rider, also battled track conditions, particularly in his first moto as he tried to recover from a bad start. Villopoto, tenth in the first moto, had a much stronger performance in his second, winning by a huge margin and taking the individual honours in the MX2 class, which features 250cc four-stroke machinery.
"It was really choppy, and unbelievably slippery. It was definitely a tough racetrack today," Villopoto said. "The 450F is obviously going to be faster, but my 250F was the best bike out there."
The rider who fared the worst on the day, however, was uncharacteristically Stewart, who had just wrapped up a perfect season in the AMA Toyota Motocross Championship presented by FMF. Although Stewart put in an incredible ride during his first moto, where he rode away with the win, his second was marked by near disaster for the team.
After battling with Team France rider Sebastien Pourcel for the early part of the moto, Stewart broke away and started to build a large lead. Stewart then cross-rutted going over a tabletop jump, landed on a hay bale and crashed.
"I got up pretty quickly, but I couldn't start my bike after that. I kept kicking, kicking and kicking and wore myself out. I felt like I blew it and was bummed with myself. Sitting there kicking, I was actually embarrassed," said Stewart, who ultimately finished the second moto in 23rd for ninth overall in the MX1 class, which features 450cc four-stroke bikes.
But Ferry's eventual fifth position meant that the title was safe and Tim later stated that the challenges had only made victory sweeter.
"I felt that it would be hard to top what we did last year where we won easily [when the 'Nations was held in Budd's Creek, Maryland], but I feel like we really accomplished something today," Ferry said.
Next year's Motocross of Nations will be held in Franciacorta, Italy.