The 2009 motocross season will come to a dramatic conclusion this weekend in Franciacorta, Italy for the annual Red Bull Motocross of Nations at Autodromo “Daniel Bonara.” The yearly gathering of the world’s best riders serves as motocross’ version of the Olympics with three riders representing each country across a trio of classes: MX1, MX2 and MX3. The global battle is undoubtedly the most exciting event of the year, making it a fitting conclusion to the summer season as competitors from both the AMA and the FIM compete against one another for one time only on the same circuit. For the last four years, Team USA has hoisted the Chamberlain Cup and will look for five in a row on Sunday. However, stout lineups from Australia, Italy, Belgium and France will look to break the dominance.
Thor will be well represented when the gates drop, led by three world champions, a veteran Kiwi on the verge of motocross glory and a pair of young guns hoping to take the world by storm in their first trip to the legendary race. With six riders representing six different countries, it will be exciting to watch the talented Thor team mix it up with the world’s elite.
Chad Reed – Team Australia: MX1
The newly-crowned Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship 450 Class Champion is the leader of the Thor team. He boasted five wins after returning to the outdoor nationals for the first time since 2006 and proved that he has what it takes to be a champion in motocross as well as supercross. He has been quoted as saying that he is having the most fun of his career right now and after what he considered to be disappointing results at the MXoN last year, he is eager to bounce back and hopefully lead what is arguably the most talented team in the field to victory.
Dean Wilson – Team Canada: MX2
Wilson is likely the most inexperienced of any of the competitors at the MXoN, but in no way is that seen as a hindrance as much as the potential to turn some heads. Fresh off the conclusion of his amateur career, Wilson was named the 2009 winner of the Horizon Award, recognizing the most successful rider at the world famous Loretta Lynn’s Amateur National Motocross Championship. He claimed a pair of national titles and also made an appearance at three professional events in Canada where he dominated the field. After his impressive summer, many are tabbing him as a future star in the U.S. from which he earned a spot on the MXoN team. Wilson enters Italy with little pressure, possibly making him one of the most dangerous competitors in the MX2 Class.
Teammates: Tyler Medaglia (MX1) / Mitchell Cooke (MX3)
David Philippaerts – Team Italy: MX3
Philippaerts claimed the 2008 FIM MX1 World Motocross Championship and rode to another strong finish this season in fourth. His potent Monster Yamaha carried him to a moto win and overall victory along with five podium finishes. He is one of the most experienced riders in the world and is a fixture at the front of the pack at the MXoN, including an impressive third place effort in the first moto last year. With current MX1 champion Antonio Cairoli as a teammate, expect Italy to make their presence felt.
(Courtesy Parts Europe)
Teammates: Antonio Cairoli (MX1) / Davide Guarneri (MX2)
Josh Coppins – Team New Zealand: MX1
At 32 years of age, Coppins is the elder statesman of the Thor lineup. After a runner-up finish in the MX2 Class in 2003, he has been a consistent threat to claim the coveted MX1 title, boasting a trio of championship finishes within the top three. This season, he captured one overall victory and three podium finishes to help him finish sixth in the standings as a teammate to Philippaerts. He captured a pair of top-10 finishes in the 2008 MXoN and is undoubtedly the leader of the New Zealand squad.
(Courtesy Pirelli Tire)
Teammates: Michael Phillips (MX2) / Scott Columb (MX3)
Tyla Rattray – Team South Africa: MX2
After earning the 2008 FIM MX2 World Motocross Championship, Rattray made his way overseas to compete stateside in the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship. His rookie season featured mixed emotions, but none better than his first career moto win at Southwick after returning from a broken thumb. Despite missing a handful of races, he still finished ninth in the standings thanks to a pair of podiums. He is one of the hungriest and determined riders in the world and will look to build off the tough luck he suffered from last year at the MXoN in leading the South African stable.
Teammates: Gareth Swanepoel (MX1) / Neville Bradshaw (MX3)
Jake Weimer – Team USA: MX2
Weimer experienced a breakout season in the 2009 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship, resulting in his selection to the favored U.S. team. After a promising start to the season in supercross, he carried the momentum into the outdoors, bouncing back from a slow start to capture three overall victories, two moto wins and four podiums for fourth overall. This marks Weimer’s first time as a MXoN competitor and he is eager to prove to the world that team manager Roger DeCoster made the right choice by inviting him. Despite four wins in tow for the Americans, Weimer doesn’t feel the pressure to bring home number five, believing that if he rides to the best of his ability everything will work out.
At the media debut of Team USA at Perris Raceway in California a couple weeks ago, Thor Motocross caught up with Weimer as he wore the custom red, white and blue gear for the first time to get his thoughts on the product Thor provides as well as his feelings about the trip to Italy.
About Parts Unlimited
Parts Unlimited is the world's largest distributor of aftermarket accessories in the powersports industry and is owned by LeMans Corporation headquartered in Janesville, Wisconsin. Parts Unlimited sells to over 12,000 dealerships world wide and continues to expand its market penetration with its sister companies, Parts Canada, Parts Europe and Drag Specialties.
Parts Unlimited continues to promote racing through its campaign WE SUPPORT THE SPORT®, helping to drive consumers to dealerships, while entertaining its dealers through hospitalities at the events it sponsors.
About Thor Motocross
Thor is one of the originators of motocross apparel. When Torsten Hallman made his first U.S trip to race and promote motocross in 1966, he inadvertently started to develop Thor riding gear. Thor is a hardcore, grass roots company that understands what it takes to reach the top and more importantly, how to stay there. It is one of a few companies with over 40 years experience in the motocross marketplace.