On the last weekend in September, in a rain-drenched valley in Great Britain, Team USA finished ninth in the 2017 FIM Motocross of Nations—the team’s worst finish since 1975—due in large part to a knee injury and a pair of breakdowns. There’s also the fact that while Zach Osborne is the best overall rider in America’s 250cc ranks, our best 450cc riders weren’t available, whether due to injury, retirement, or scheduling conflict.
“This is our worst result that we have ever had in the Motocross of Nations,” Roger DeCoster, Team USA’s manager, explains. “I mean, it was for me, as a rider or a team manager.” Before he began skippering Team USA in 1981, DeCoster won the MXoN (or the old Trophee des Nations) 16 times as a rider with Team Belgium.
How did Team USA go from winning every year from 2005 to 2011 to losing six straight? What can we do to get back to being the fastest country in the motocross world? Team USA needs to take a deep dive into the data, history books, and calendars—not to mention the mirror—to find out.