By Chris Couto
The race is more than a month away, but we already know it will be the most epic motocross experience of all time. It’s coming October 6-7, 2018, when the Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations comes to RedBud. Combining this track with this event is an idea literally 60 years in the making. If you haven’t already been to a MXoN in person, you don’t know what you’re missing. We’re reaching out to you, the fans, to hear your stories of attending Motocross of Nations in the past. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line "MXoN Story" for a chance to be featured.
Racer X reader Chris Couto sent us this story of his experience at several different Motocross of Nations events over the past decade, from Italy and Belgium to at home at Thunder Valley and Budds Creek.
(Note: This post has been slightly edited for clarity.)
So this year will be my fifth MXoN, and I have a bunch of stories. My buddy Jeff and I went to the MXoN at Budds Creek in 2007, and even though we go to about four SX and three MX races a year, the MXoN was a totally different experience. There seemed to be more Europeans than Americans there! It was great and so different than any other race weekend. On Saturday, all the Italian fans were talking smack to us: “Wait ‘til Cairoli gets his bike outta impound, he’s gonna whip Carmichael’s ass and show him what real speed looks like.” Well, we all know what happened there—RC4 was fast but RV2 was faster than anyone that day, and Tim Ferry was an absolute stud to make sure USA finished first.
In 2010, five of us went to Thunder Valley, where we were a little more prepared for the number of Europeans that were gonna show up. This was the first time we watched a kid named Ken Roczen, and holy smokes, that dude was fast! Even though Ryan Dungey, Trey Canard, and Andrew Short were fast, Team USA was lucky there was a quad jump that Roczen couldn’t clear on his RM-Z250, because he might have beaten them all!
That same group of us went to the legendary Lommel, Belgium, in 2012 to watch Team USA put it to the Euros in their backyard. Well, we all know how that went: Dungey couldn’t figure out the sand and struggled, Blake Baggett crashed but rode his ass off, and Justin Barcia had a front wheel issue and a “fan” (fellow countryman and former Team USA member Chuck Sun) helped him. That got Barcia a DQ in the qualifying race, but our group of five made it into the magazines with our American flag top hats on, and you can even see me on TV marching around the track with a American flag on a 20-foot pole! Also, we toured all of Belgium from bar to bar. After the races, we went to Amsterdam to check it out. We ended up missing the last train for the day back to Brussels and had to sleep on the benches outside of the train station. We got up at 5 a.m. and caught the first train back, then we had to run to our hotel room to pack our stuff. We were so late that they were calling last call to board our flight back to America.
Our group of five also went to the MXoN Maggiora, Italy, in 2016, this time for a 15-day bar crawl around four different countries. As we got to the gate to the races, out came our American flag top hats and flags. We were met instantly by the Europeans and lots of alcohol and a great time. The crowds were incredible with all the chainsaw noise-makers and the plumes of Italian flag-colored smoke and a sea of #222 flags. Our group flew our flags and met up with other Americans. Well, our team of Jason Anderson, Cooper Webb, and Alex Martin had only okay practice and qualifying rides, but come race day, the impossible became possible as Anderson beat Jeffrey Herlings and all was looking good until the checkered flag flew.
Anyway, after the races we went to Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, where one of our group ended up breaking his foot. There were five days left in our trip, so we drank more beers and walked around Amsterdam for four more days. Great trip, and months later, we found out I made the highlight reel as the American with the big flag chest tattoo yelling, “’Merica!” This year we are heading to RedBud in hopes to watch Team USA reclaim the trophy. USA, USA, USA!