It has been up in the air for a little while now, but now it's official: There will be no Team South Africa at this year's MXoN.
What doesn't make sense about this is that South Africa always fields a team, including last year in Italy, which meant they had to fly guys to Italy to race (such as AMA racer and former world champ Tyla Rattray). But this year, the race is in the USA and Pro Circuit is going anyway (to support Pourcel and Wilson, at least), so Rattray is easy. But what about the others, you ask? Well, the other 450cc guy would have been Gareth Swanepoel, who is filling in on the Star Yamaha team here for the last few Nationals. So he's already here, too.
But what about the MX2 guy, you ask? (Rattray is too old, according to FIM rules, to race MX2, so he would ride MX1 or MX3.) Well, that spot would've likely been filled by Kerim Fitzgerald, who is currently racing in Canada. So, in essence, he's already here, too! He's just across the border.
Yet money is the stated reason why the team won't be fielded in the USA for the MXoN this year, and it's a big loss to the Nations event to not have longtime motocross-friendly country South Africa represented, despite how apparently convenient it would be to do so.
Although Swanepoel and Fitzgerald weren't reached for comment, Tyla Rattray is very upset at his inability to race on what would've likely been a podium-contending team for his home country of South Africa.