Bench Racing Ammo:  The European National

Bench Racing Ammo: The European National

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With its rough and wide-open characteristics and plenty of natural terrain, Unadilla may be the most GP-like track in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. That's not a coincidence, since 'Dilla put itself on the map hosting international races like Trans-AMAs and USGPs. In fact, the storied track didn't even join the AMA National MX schedule full-time until 1989, a good 20 years after it opened (and long after it had established itself as one of America's most famous tracks).

Perhaps this is why so many GP imports, such as Pierre Karsmakers, Jean-Michel Bayle, James Dobb, Greg Albertyn, and more, have done well there.

With the series headed to Unadilla this weekend, and MX2 World Champs Marvin Musquin and Ken Roczen still searching for their first wins here in America, we thought we’d take a look back at some of races at Unadilla that featured some of the sport’s most notable foreign racers. Below is a list of every overall podium performance from a European, South African, Australian and New Zealander in the history of Unadilla.

Year Rider Result Country Class
1973 Pierre Karsmakers 1 Netherlands 250
1976 Pierre Karsmakers 2 Netherlands 500
1989 Jean-Michel Bayle 1 France 500
1991 Jean-Michel Bayle 2 France 500
1993 James Dobb 1 United Kingdom 125/250F
1995 Mickael Pichon 3 France 125/250F
1996 Greg Albertyn 1 South Africa 250/450
1997 Mickael Pichon 3 France 125/250F
1999 Greg Albertyn 2 South Africa 250/450
2000 Stephane Roncada 1 France 125/250F
2000 Sebastien Tortelli 2 France 250/450
2000 Greg Albertyn 3 South Africa 250/450
2001 Grant Langston 1 South Africa 125/250F
2001 Sebastien Tortelli 2 France 250/450
2002 Chad Reed 3 Australia 125/250F
2003 Grant Langston 2 South Africa 125/250F
2004 Chad Reed 2 Australia 250/450
2004 Sebastien Tortelli 3 France 250/450
2005 Chad Reed 3 Australia 250/450
2007 Ben Townley 1 New Zealand 125/250F
2008 Brett Metcalfe 3 Australia 125/250F
2008 Michael Byrne 2 Australia 250/450
2008 Cody Cooper 3 New Zealand 250/450
2009 Christophe Pourcel 1 France 125/250F
2009 Chad Reed 1 Australia 250/450
2009 Michael Byrne 3 Australia 250/450
2010 Dean Wilson 3 United Kingdom 125/250
2010 Clement Desalle 2 Belgium 250/450
2010 Brett Metcalfe 3 Australia 250/450
2011 Dean Wilson 1 United Kingdom 125/250F

In the twenty-six years that Unadilla has hosted a National, foreigners have stood on the podium thirty-one times, although we’re not sure Dean Wilson counts, as the majority of his career has taken place here in the United States.

If you want to talk percentages (factoring in both classes, of course), you could say that foreigners have taken podium spots 21.53 percent of the time. Their win percentage is nearly the same at 20.83 percent, this stat highlight by the 2009 National, when GP transplants Chad Reed and Christophe Pourcel swept the top of the podium!

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Unadilla was Christophe Pourcel's best track during his time in the U.S.
Simon Cudby photo

Also worthy of note is Antonio Balbi’s fifth place finish in 2008 in the premier class. It’s not a podium, but it’s by far the best National result the Brazilian has ever had.

Stefan Everts raced at Unadilla in 1997. It was the only AMA National he ever raced in, and he nearly ended up on the podium. After taking third place in the first moto, he got together with John Dowd and crashed, knocking him back to fifth place in moto two. His 3-5 finishes earned him fourth place on the day.

What’s your take on the stats listed above?

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