On a slick track, under intermittent rain in France, Team USA pulled together a clutch perfomance in the final moto of the day to pull out their 7th straight Motocross of Nations victory.
Things were not looking good for the American team early, with Blake Baggett crashing in moto two and getting caught up in the first turn of moto one to carry 17-17 overall finishes in his motos. And Ryan Dungey and Ryan Villopoto struggled in their first motos, each taking a third.
Meanwhile, Chad Reed won the first moto for Australia, but the Australian's teams hopes went out the window when Matt Moss' bike apparently broke after the parade lap in the second moto, and he suffered a DNS. This drama left France, the home team, with a solid lead heading into the final moto. Gutier Paulin won the second moto overall for the French, and Christophe Pourcel had an 11th in moto one, and Marvin Musquin a 12th and 8th on his MX2 machine.
But in the third moto, the Ryans both gated well. Russia's Evgeny Bobryshrev grabbed the early lead, but Dungey was right behind, and somehow Ryan Villopoto pulled a third-place start from an outside gate. Before long, RV had moved into the lead, but then fell. He got right back up, held the lead and checked out. But Pourcel was right there, passing Dungey for third and trying to pull it out for France, until suddenly he pulled off and dropped his bike, apparently from bike troubles, although word or what happened is not available. Absolute heart break for the home team, who may have had this one.
Eventually Dungey moved up to second to make it a Team USA 1-2 in the final moto, which, combined with Pourcel's DNF, gave them an easy win on points. France still took second overall, and Australia was third. Reed and Metty both had a few problems in the final moto but they dug it out to finish 7th and 10th. It's the first MXoN podium for Australia, ever.
We'll have a full race report and photos available later tonight.