Red Bull MXoN Qualifying Report

September 27, 2008 1:46pm
The qualifying procedure for the Red Bull Motocross of Nations works like this: Each class runs a 20-minute-plus-two-lap moto, and each country gets to combine their two best scores – dropping the worst score completely. The top 19 countries then transfer to the main event, and the remaining teams will run a "B-Final" qualifier on Sunday morning to determine the 20th and final team to make the Motocross of Nations main.

It was Team USA’s James Stewart barely edging the hometown favorite Billy Mackenzie for the holeshot in the first moto of the day – the MX1 class. Stewart immediately went to work, putting some time on the rest of the pack, which included Mackenzie, Ken de Dycker and Sebastien Pourcel. Australia’s Chad Reed didn’t get the best of starts and went down early, forcing him to play catch-up the entire race.

  • James Stewart still managed to pull the holeshot after having the 19th gate pick
  • Stewart tipped over early in the race...
  • ...and allowed Billy Mackenzie to close the gap.
  • Chad Reed worked his way up to tenth after a crash
  • Stewart drew first blood by taking the win in the MX1 qualifier
Meanwhile, out front, Stewart continued to stretch his lead, but an early mistake put him on the ground. He remounted quick enough to maintain a lead over Mackenzie, who valiantly tried to make a pass on Stewart when the #1 was in his sights, but failed to do so.

“Yeah, I had a couple falls, actually,” Stewart said after the race. “I just lost the front end in a few places. I made a couple mistakes, but I was still able to win – but I’d rather get that out of the way today rather than tomorrow.”

Stewart went on to win by a comfortable margin, and he was followed across the line by France’s Pourcel, who looks to be Stewart's main competition. Belgium’s de Dycker was third, followed by newly-crowned MX1 World Champion David Philippaerts. The “Estonian Express” Tanel Leok put on a fine charge in the waning moments to finish fifth.

“I think today’s one thing and tomorrow’s a whole different day,” Stewart said in the press conference. “Sebastien [Pourcel] rode really good, and I think everyone is going to step it up tomorrow. We have to do what we did today, but keep it off the ground.”

MX1 results 
1. James Stewart (Kaw) USA
2. Sebastien Pourcel (Kaw) FRA
3. Ken de Dycker (Suz) BEL
4. David Philippaerts (Yam) ITA
5. Tanel Leok (Kaw) EST
6. Max Nagl (KTM) GER
7. Billy Mackenzie (Kaw) GBR
8. Marc de Reuver (Hon) NED
9. Josh Coppins (Yam) NZL
10. Chad Reed (Suz) AUS

  • Ryan Villopoto checked out in the MX2 class
  • Brett Metcalfe finished a solid second behind Villopoto.
It was France’s Anthony Boissiere pulling the holeshot in the MX2 class, followed by Belgium’s Jeremy Van Horebeek and Australia’s Brett Metcalfe. Villopoto started midpack and rounded the first couple of turns sixth and by the end of lap two he was in the lead.

“I got up to the gate and groomed my spot, and it was really hard and I couldn’t do much to it, so I fixed it up as much as I could,” Villopoto said in the post-race press conference. “I spun really bad and came out in the middle of the pack.”

The three-time AMA Motocross Lites Champion quickly opened up a gap over Boissiere, who was a surprise frontrunner the entire moto. Metcalfe managed to get around the KTM rider and held on for second, while KTM’s powerful duo of Tyla Rattray and Tommy Searle were forced to make up time after mediocre starts. By the time the checkered flag flew, RV had nearly a 25-second gap over Metcalfe, who was followed by Boissiere, Rattray and Searle.

MX2 results
1. Ryan Villopoto (Kaw) USA
2. Brett Metcalfe (Kaw) AUS
3. Anthony Boissiere (KTM) FRA
4. Tyla Rattray (KTM) RSA
5. Tommy Searle (KTM)
6. Jeremy Van Horebeek (KTM) BEL
7. Carlos Campano (Yam) ESP
8. Manuel Monni (Yam) ITA
9. Scott Columb (Suz) NZL
10. Matiss Karro (Hon) LAT

With wins in the first two races, the USA had already clinched the number-one qualifying position, and MX3 rider Timmy Ferry didn’t even have to race. He did, though, of course. New Zealand’s Cody Cooper grabbed the early lead, while Ferry was mired in the pack. At the end of lap one, Cooper continued to lead, followed by Canada’s Dusty Klatt, Italy’s Alex Salvini, Belgium’s Steve Ramon and Australia’s Michael Byrne. Cooper and Klatt tried to put a bit of distance on third place, but Klatt unfortunately stalled his KX450F in a corner, losing a handful of positions – but restarted within the top five. Soon thereafter, it was Ferry hitting the ground after tangling with a downed rider, putting the American in an even deeper hole.

  • Cody Cooper grabs the Open holeshot
  • Cody Cooper lead every lap of the Open main event
  • Zach Osborne passed Michael Byrne in the last corner to take second
Meanwhile, the rider on the move was American Zach Osborne, who was representing team Puerto Rico on a Yamaha YZ450F. Osborne battled with 2007 MX1 World Champion Steve Ramon for a bit before finally making the pass stick, and continued his charge to the front, passing Salvini and setting his sights on Byrne, who was in second. Over the final few laps, both Osbore and Byrne closed up to the rear tire of Cooper, and at the final turn Osborne shocked Byrne with an inside move and notched a second-place finish behind Cooper. Tim Ferry was able to charge his way back up to a hard-fought ninth place, but it was Cody Cooper nailing the win.

“I got a great start, so I think my starting technique is real good on this sort of dirt,” Cody said afterward. “I’m just real happy to be up here. I don’t know what happened to Tim Ferry, but he normally gets a decent start and powers through to the front, but I think a lot of people were having a bit of problems with the track, and I just got my rhythm going and had a bit of fun out there.”

Open results 
1. Cody Cooper (Suz) NZL
2. Zach Osborne (Yam) PUR
3. Michael Byrne (Suz) AUS
4. Alex Salvini (Suz) ITA
5. Steve Ramon (Suz) BEL
6. Matti Seistola (Hon) FIN
7. Shaun Simpson (KTM) GBR
8. Dusty Klatt (Kaw) CAN
9. Tim Ferry (Kaw) USA
10. Alvaro Lozano (KTM) ESP


The overall results on qualifying day saw the USA in first, followed by Australia (with Michael Byrne’s third and Brett Metcalfe’s second counting), France, Belgium, Italy, New Zealand, Great Britain and Estonia. Other notables include Canada in 13th (for Steve Matthes), and Puerto Rico qualifying in 18th with the help of Osborne’s second-place MX3 ride.

It’s also interesting to note that AMA riders swept all three motos, and in MX2, swept the top-two spots. In MX3, AMA riders were first and third, and American Zach Osborne was second.

1. USA (1-1)
2. Australia (2-3)
3. France (2-3)
4. Belgium (3-5)
5. Italy (4-4)
6. New Zealand (1-9)
7. Great Britain (5-7)
8. Estonia (5-11)
9. Spain (7-10)
10. Finland (6-13)
11. South Africa (4-15)
12. Germany (6-14)
13. Canada (8-19)
14. Switzerland (11-16)
15. Netherlands (8-19)
16. Latvia (10-18)
17. Denmark (11-17)
18. Puerto Rico (2-26)
19. Japan (12-17)

Stay tuned to tomorrow for updates and results from the 2008 Red Bull Motocross of Nations.