The 2018 Motocross Des Nations kicked off this past weekend at historic Red Bud MX in Buchanan, Michigan. As one of the most anticipated races of the year you can bet that expectations, excitement, and pressure were high for all teams. Riders from all over the world made the journey to represent their respected nations in one of the greatest Motorspsorts races there is. We had the pleasure of being in attendance for the first time and wanted to share some memories from the event. It’s not often that we get a chance to attend a race as just race fans so we couldn’t wait to take it all and enjoy the races with our fellow Motocross die-hards from all over the world.
By now everyone is aware of the incredible displays of talent from the race. It’s no surprise that the MXGP riders were every bit as talented and capable as the US AMA riders, and then some. Team France once again brought home the win and ownership over the coveted Chamberlain Trophy for a 5th consecutive year. The team of Gautier Paulin, Dylan Ferrandis, and Jordi Tixier all rode with an aggression and consistency that no other team could match (save for the Dutch, but we’ll get into that later). Watching Paulin lay down laps at the front of the pack was amazing as he was able to match the speed of Spanish youngster Jorge Prado and Dutch rider Glenn Coldenhoff. The French team connected as a unit and was able to limit their mistakes and set backs unlike most other teams. Ferrandis had several stand out riders as he was able to hold off attacks from 450 superstars aboard his YZ-250F for several motos. As time goes on it appears that team France has elevated their game and don’t plan to slow down (or give up that Chamberlain trophy) anytime soon.
To everyone’s surprise team Italy took the second step on the podium. The industry as whole didn’t seem to put much of a spotlight on multi-time MXGP champion Antonio Cairoli or his team mate Alessandro Lupino yet both riders had a stellar weekend. Cairoli (in true AC222 fashion) was a front runner all weekend and showed some serious technique and talent as he won the weekend’s qualifying race on Saturday. Alessandro Lupino was possibly one of the biggest shocks of the weekend as he rode amazingly in the top ten and chased down the front runners on multiple occasions.
Despite not winning the event the team from the Netherlands put on a masterful performance and came away as the clear powerhouse of the race. Winning nearly every race on the weekend this team was a force to be reckoned with. Both Jeffery Herlings and Glenn Coldenhoff were head and shoulders above the competition. Had it not been for some very unfortunate luck that resulted in an eye injury and DNF for MX2 rider Calvin Vlaanderen, the Dutch team would have won the race by a landslide…in every sense of the word. For 2019 the Dutch team will have to settle for numbers 7-9 as they took the final step on the podium. Hats off to the Netherlands team and Jeffrey Herlings on a truly dominate 2018 race season.
Team USA was one of the biggest shake-ups of the event (and not in a good way) as they rode to a very lack luster 6th place in the event. For a team that was touted as the hands down favorites to win the event, many were surprised to see the Americans ride very uninspiring in all motos. Eli Tomac had the best finish with a 4th in race 1 after a come from behind ride. Justin Barcia showed some serious aggression and ability to keep pace, but fell victim to some bad luck and even worse starts. Everyone’s favorite American Aaron Plessinger had quite possibly the most “off” weekend and could only muster up a 16th place finish after a severe crash during Saturday qualifying. Team USA’s lack of results put a huge damper on the weekend for many fans (which is a huge understatement), but in true MXDN fashion the overwhelming number of fans in attendance still rallied to cheer on the rest of the uber- fast field.
Speaking of the rest of the field…TEAM PUERTO RICO ROCKS! What more can be said about the team of ungodly talented misfits? They came, they raced, they won the B final, and they absolutely lit the place on fire. The crowds showed this bunch more love and support than any other team and the sirens and chainsaws could be heard all around the track as they whizzed by. The coolest thing about them racing was the fact that even though 2 out of the 3 racers were fresh off the couch (made evident by Kevin Windham’s beer belly and santa beard along with Pastrana’s football sized knee) they still had loads of talent that could be seen here and there. The team was able to raise a lot of money and awareness for the relief effort in Puerto Rico and that alone is worth a standing ovation
Overall the event exceeded all of our expectations and really showcased the current top talent of our sport. Only time will tell if the Americans can ever regain their “mojo” and win the event. In the meantime, it’s time to bust out those dusty passports and start booking for MXDN 2019 in Assen! We’ll see ya there!