When the gate dropped for the third and final moto of the Red Bull Motocross of Nations, it was James Stewart rocketing into the lead, followed closely by France’s Sebastien Pourcel, who finished a distant second to Stewart in the first MX1 outing. As all eyes were on the two Kawasakis racing side-by-side out front, my esteemed colleague Steve Matthes had his eyes fixated on Team USA’s Open-class entrant, Timmy Ferry, who was literally next-to-last after the first three turns. But it didn’t matter, right? Stewart was out front and we could just toss out our worst moto score...
To the delight of the crowd, Pourcel stuck to Stewart like glue, and then did something that hasn’t been done the entire season in the AMA/Toyota Motocross Nationals – he legitimately passed Bubba. Pourcel set him up on the mechanics’ area straightaway, dived inside in the right-hander and pushed Stewart high to take the lead. It lasted about a lap before Stewart managed to get around the Frenchman, and he immediately started to distance himself from Pourcel and the rest of the field.
Meanwhile, Ferry was running through his normal routine, steadily ripping through his Scott tearoffs while methodically working his way through the pack. Behind Stewart and Pourcel a battle ensued between Estonia’s Tanel Leok, New Zealand’s Josh Coppins, Belgium’s Ken de Dycker, Switzerland’s Julien Bill and Germany’s Max Nagl, which kept the crowd entertained the entire moto. As the clock neared the 30-minute mark, the crowd burst into a frenzy and the yellow flags began to wave on the tabletop at the far end of the course. The announcer than blurted out words that American fans feared the most: “James Stewart is down! James Stewart has crashed!”
All attention was turned to Stewart, who frantically tried to kick his Kawasaki back to life. By the time it fired, he had gotten passed by almost the entire field. Immediately, the pencils and calculators were out, trying to determine who would win the Motocross of Nations.
With the two-lap card out, Americans were more than relieved to see that Tim Ferry had climbed all the way up to fifth place. Thus, throwing out James’s finish, Team USA still had the overall win in their pocket. Ferry held on to finish fifth to give the United States the overall win with a final tally of 26 points. France finished second for the second-consecutive time with 31 points, and Belgium rounded out the podium with 41 points.
He may not have been the fastest or the flashiest rider on the course today, but Tim Ferry showed unbelievable determination and dependability.
“Tim proved he could come from behind,” said Roger DeCoster in the press conference. “He was our security – our insurance.”
Tim Ferry even managed to win the Open class overall for the second consecutive year with his 9-5 moto scores.
“It definitely feels good to win it again,” Ferry answered in the press conference. “That track out there was really gnarly – it was really rutty and it was tough to pass on, so we had out work cut out for us. We came in thinking there’s no way we can do what we did last year – we won so easily last year that this year I feel we really accomplished something with having to fight the track. It was raining, and it was cold, and we’re in England. Unfortunately, that last moto, James went down, but we came here and won as a team.”
So what exactly happened to Stewart?
“I don’t know if I got cross-rutted or what, but I ended up landing on a haybale on the tabletop,” said Stewart. “When I first fell, I was like ‘All right, I can get up and ride.’ I was kicking and wore myself out trying to kick that thing over. A few guys passed, and all of a sudden a lot of people came by and I saw Timmy, and I was like, ‘You got to bail me out on this one!’ At the end of the day, it was a team effort and I couldn’t have done it without them. Winning that first moto helped out a lot, but when I was sitting there kicking I was a little embarrassed, actually.”
Ryan Villopoto also won his class individually for the third-straight time.
“The first moto started off pretty good, but about 40 seconds into the race I got blown out from behind by Pourcel, and I was in a big pileup and I was the last guy to get up,” said Villopoto, who ended his MX2 career with another impressive victory at the Motocross of Nations. “It was just a bummer. It just seemed like this year we had a pretty big target on our back. The second moto was a lot better for me. I just wanted to get out front and open up a gap and ride my own race, and that’s what I did.”
Team France finished second for the second year in a row, while Team Belgium did likewise in third.
Moto 3 results: 1. Sebastien Pourcel (Kaw) FRA
2. Tanel Leok (Kaw) EST
3. Max Nagl (KTM) GER
4. Ken de Dycker (Suz) BEL
5. Tim Ferry (Kaw) USA
6. Josh Coppins (Yam) NZL
7. Julien Bill (Hon) SUI
8. Chad Reed (Suz) AUS
9. Jonathan Barragan (KTM) ESP
10. Nicolas Aubin (Yam) FRA
1. United States – 26 points
2. France – 31 points
3. Belgium – 41 points
4. Great Britain – 42 points
5. Italy – 45 points
6. Australia – 55 points
7. Spain – 58 points
8. New Zealand – 63 points
9. Switzerland – 82 points
10. Germany – 96 points