When Martin Davalos popped up on the new cover of Racer X Illustrated, it marked the first time anyone from Ecuador ever landed on Page 1 of our magazine. That got us to thinking about all of the other internationals riders over the years who ended up on our front cover…
Sebastien Tortelli came to the U.S. from France as a two-time FIM World Champion. He was incredibly fast, but injuries derailed his results on the AMA circuit and kept him from achieving any titles here.
Greg Albertyn was the first foreign-born rider to appear on the cover of Racer X Illustrated. Albertyn was a three-time FIM World Champion before moving to America, where supercross became his Achilles Heel. He did hold it all together long enough to win the 1999 AMA 250cc Motocross Championship.
David Vuillemin is another French import who had some excellent years both on the Grand Prix tour and then here in America. He made this cover when his Yamaha team went retro one year a Unadilla, and the shot was made by Trevor Hawk.
Costa Rica’s Ernesto Fonseca earned himself a few Racer X covers, first by winning the 1999 AMA 125cc East Region SX title, then when he made the world debut of Yamaha’s game-changing YZ250F, and finally this shot while riding with Team Honda.
South African import Grant Langston showed up on these shores in 2001 with a 125cc World Championship in hand. He vowed to take on Travis Pastrana for the 125cc National Championship and he did, only to lose the title in the last moto to Mike Brown when his wheel collapsed at Steel City. Langston would get more covers later on when he was winning for Pro Circuit Kawasaki and then factory Yamaha.
Christophe Pourcel is another Frenchman who came here and did exceptionally well, especially in 250SX. He earned two East Region titles for Pro Circuit Kawasaki, plus a handful of nationals. He’s currently on the Rockstar Husqvarna team.
Stefan Everts earned two Racer X covers, first when he won all three classes at the last GP of 2003, then when he straight-up won the 2006 Motocross of Nations at Matterley Basin in England, which is where this shot comes from.
New Zealand’s Ben Townley should have done much more than he did in America. He came here after winning an MX2 World Championship in Europe, and immediately started getting injured. BT101 did win the 2007 East Region SX Championship and a few 250 Nationals.
Tony Cairoli earned his first Racer X cover with a dominant season in 2013. The eight-time FIM World Champion hails from Italy.
Smack-dab in the middle of this group shot is Australia’s Brett Metcalfe (123), who was riding for Pro Circuit Kawasaki at the time (hey trivia buffs, you know that's Ryan Villopoto and Jason Lawrence with him, but do you know the #57?).
Tyla Rattray is from South Africa. He made the cover after some exceptional 250 rides here, winning several nationals, but he never quite figured out supercross and that cost him a few injuries and some shots at the title.
Germany’s Ken Roczen has made several covers of Racer X Illustrated, his first coming in 2011 when he was just testing the waters in America.
Marvin Musquin made the cover after winning his first championship in America, the 2015 250SX East Region. Marvin is now in the 450 Class and closing in on his first win.
The most covers ever for a foreign-born rider belong to Chad Reed, the Australian who is the most successful foreign rider ever in AMA Supercross and Motocross. This gem (and many others) was shot by Simon Cudby.
The current issue has also been shipped to subscribers and will also be available for purchase on our Current Issue page when print copies arrive. Want your copy now? Subscribe through our site to get instant desktop and mobile access to get the digital edition as well as a Malcolm Stewart cover shirt. You can also subscribe via Apple Newsstand or Google Play for mobile-only access.
Subscribe to the current issue here or get a back issue here. And if you get your hands on this latest issue, you'll enjoy a cool feature on Davalos, including some inside info on his unfortunate miss of the Toronto supercross due to visa issues. On that end, there was a big downside to being a foreign-born rider!