For a while, this event was simple. Teams had really fast riders, won motos, and that was it. Many of the classic Motocross of Nations duels have happened at the front, with pivotal moto wins up for grabs. However, more recently, the event has trended toward consistency. As cool as it is to say one nation smoked everyone else, luck and timing have played as large as role as anything else. Go back no further than last year, when the Netherlands dominated the motos but still lost the team event due to a one-in-a-million rock to the eye.
In a one-day event, the race can turn in a hurry. Here’s a look at the last ten years of the Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations.
2009: Team USA has to go searching because the AMA 450 National Motocross Champion is Chad Reed, an Australian, and Ryan Villopoto and Mike Alessi, who took 450 race wins early in the summer, are both out with knee injuries. The solution is to move 250 National Motocross Champion Ryan Dungey up to a 450, and put Jake Weimer, fourth in the 250 National standings (behind Dungey, Frenchman Christophe Pourcel, and Australian Brett Metcalfe) in the 250 slot. MXoN veteran Ivan Tedesco, third in 450 MX points, is an easy pick for the Open Class.
Dungey is decent on the 450, but he’s not a match for Reed or MXGP Champion Antonio Cairoli, who battled through the whole first moto. That 2009 first moto is a rare duel between all-time greats Reed and Cairoli, it should probably be more heralded than it is! Cairoli wins it over Reed and Dungey takes third. But in the final moto, a massive first-turn crash wipes out both Reed and Cairoli, and Dungey wins the moto. That’s enough for Team USA to win it.
Also of note, France’s Gautier Paulin rams Tedesco in moto two and wins the race (hey, all’s fair in love and racing). Ten years later, Paulin is still a key part of Team France!
Moral of the story: Team USA was against the ropes, but the first turn of moto three tells all. A massive crash claims Reed and Cairoli, and Dungey sneaks through to deliver a win.
|Ryan Dungey||1||Race 3 (MX1 + Open)||MX1||Suzuki|
|Ivan Tedesco||3||Race 2 (MX2 + Open)||Open||Honda|
|Ryan Dungey||3||Race 1 (MX1 + MX2)||MX1||Suzuki|
|Ivan Tedesco||7||Race 3 (MX1 + Open)||Open||Honda|
|Jake Weimer||8||Race 1 (MX1 + MX2)||MX2||Kawasaki|
|Jake Weimer||25||Race 2 (MX2 + Open)||MX2||Kawasaki|
|Gautier Paulin||1||Race 2 (MX2 + Open)||Open||Kawasaki|
|Marvin Musquin||5||Race 2 (MX2 + Open)||MX2||KTM|
|Marvin Musquin||5||Race 1 (MX1 + MX2)||MX2||KTM|
|Steven Frossard||5||Race 3 (MX1 + Open)||MX1||Kawasaki|
|Steven Frossard||14||Race 1 (MX1 + MX2)||MX1||Kawasaki|
|Gautier Paulin||37||Race 3 (MX1 + Open)||Open||Kawasaki|
2010: A Team USA home race in Colorado’s Thunder Valley Motocross Park. This is the rare Team USA with both the 250 and 450 AMA National Motocross Champs, via Ryan Dungey (450) and Trey Canard (250). Colorado’s own Andrew Short competes in the Open slot. Despite that firepower and a home race, this is a nail biter. Dungey wins moto one overall, outlasting early pressure from Tony Cairoli. Short is taken out by Ben Townley in moto two and finishes 13th (Townley, generally popular in America, takes some heat. But he does get the moto win). Canard struggles with bad starts and goes 7-12 overall in his motos (here’s something interesting—in one moto Canard tangled in the first turn with Zach Osborne, who was racing for Puerto Rico!).
France is out of contention due to bike problems in both motos for young MX2 World Champion Marvin Musquin.
Germany, thanks to the sensational RM-Z250 mounted Ken Roczen and the capable Max Nagl, leads going into moto three. However, third man Marcus Schiffer can only muster up 14-16 scores, and Nagl crashes out of moto three. That ruins Germany’s chance. Further, Short and Dungey shoot out of the gates 1-2 in the final moto and finish 1-2, which seals it for Team USA.
Moral of the story: Again, the first turn of moto three tells all—Short and Dungey started up front together and took care of business from there. Nagl’s crash and Musquin’s bike problems further opened the door for the home team.
|Ryan Dungey||1||Race 1 (MX1 + MX2)||MX1||Suzuki|
|Ryan Dungey||1||Race 3 (MX1 + Open)||MX1||Suzuki|
|Andrew Short||2||Race 3 (MX1 + Open)||Open||Honda|
|Trey Canard||7||Race 2 (MX2 + Open)||MX2||Honda|
|Trey Canard||12||Race 1 (MX1 + MX2)||MX2||Honda|
|Andrew Short||13||Race 2 (MX2 + Open)||Open||Honda|
|Clement Desalle||3||Race 3 (MX1 + Open)||Open||Suzuki|
|Clement Desalle||4||Race 2 (MX2 + Open)||Open||Suzuki|
|Steve Ramon||6||Race 3 (MX1 + Open)||MX1||Suzuki|
|Steve Ramon||7||Race 1 (MX1 + MX2)||MX1||Suzuki|
|Jeremy Van Horebeek||10||Race 2 (MX2 + Open)||MX2||Kawasaki|
|Jeremy Van Horebeek||13||Race 1 (MX1 + MX2)||MX2||Kawasaki|
2011: The last Team USA win featured the riders who finished 1-2 in the 450 Nationals, Ryan Villopoto and Ryan Dungey. That might not be a coincidence. The Ryans needed to pull through because MX2 rider Blake Baggett goes 17-17 in his motos.
The French team, racing at home in St. Jean d'Angely, is in contention coming down to the final moto, thanks to yet another moto win from Gautier Paulin. Just like the previous two years, the moto three start tells the story, as the Ryans both get to turn one at the front. But France is not done! Christophe Pourcel, no stranger to Villopoto or Dungey, puts the team on his back and passes Dungey. Then he sets sights on Villopoto, only to suffer a rear flat tire.
Moral of the story: Once again, the first turn of moto three combined with bad luck for others results in another Team USA win.
|Ryan Villopoto||1||Race 3 (MX1 + Open)||Open||Kawasaki|
|Ryan Dungey||2||Race 3 (MX1 + Open)||MX1||Suzuki|
|Ryan Villopoto||3||Race 2 (MX2 + Open)||Open||Kawasaki|
|Ryan Dungey||3||Race 1 (MX1 + MX2)||MX1||Suzuki|
|Blake Baggett||17||Race 2 (MX2 + Open)||MX2||Kawasaki|
|Blake Baggett||17||Race 1 (MX1 + MX2)||MX2||Kawasaki|
|Gautier Paulin||1||Race 2 (MX2 + Open)||Open||Yamaha|
|Marvin Musquin||8||Race 1 (MX1 + MX2)||MX2||KTM|
|Gautier Paulin||8||Race 3 (MX1 + Open)||Open||Yamaha|
|Marvin Musquin||11||Race 2 (MX2 + Open)||MX2||KTM|
|Christophe Pourcel||11||Race 1 (MX1 + MX2)||MX1||Kawasaki|
|Christophe Pourcel||35||Race 3 (MX1 + Open)||MX1||Kawasaki|
2012: Lommel absolutely levels the Americans and ends a seven-year win streak, as Team USA is never in contention. The only rider with a decent performance is Justin Barcia, who is a podium guy in both of his motos until a late crash in his second race. Dungey never gets going and runs 7-9.
Individually, Jeffrey Herlings and Cairoli win the motos but don’t have the teammates to win the race. This time it’s Germany avenging its tough loss in Colorado in 2010. Roczen is magical on a 250 again. He wins the MX2 class with 5-4 overall moto scores, Baggett is actually second in the class but goes 14-6. Nagl goes 3-6, and this time Schiffer pulls through with a seventh. That’s more than enough for the first-ever German ‘Nations triumph.
Moral of the story: Germany has a strong team with Roczen and Nagl, but they need one good moto from the third man (Schiffer). They get it and they win. If a team doesn’t have depth, that’s the game plan—the good guys avoid the bad races, and the third man gets one good result. Done!
|Maximilian Nagl||3||Race 1 (MX1 + MX2)||MX1||KTM|
|Ken Roczen||4||Race 2 (MX2 + Open)||MX2||KTM|
|Ken Roczen||5||Race 1 (MX1 + MX2)||MX2||KTM|
|Maximilian Nagl||6||Race 3 (MX1 + Open)||MX1||KTM|
|Marcus Schiffer||7||Race 2 (MX2 + Open)||Open||Suzuki|
|Marcus Schiffer||14||Race 3 (MX1 + Open)||Open||Suzuki|
|Ken De Dycker||3||Race 2 (MX2 + Open)||Open||KTM|
|Clement Desalle||4||Race 1 (MX1 + MX2)||MX1||Suzuki|
|Ken De Dycker||5||Race 3 (MX1 + Open)||Open||KTM|
|Clement Desalle||7||Race 3 (MX1 + Open)||MX1||Suzuki|
|Jeremy Van Horebeek||10||Race 1 (MX1 + MX2)||MX2||KTM|
|Jeremy Van Horebeek||38||Race 2 (MX2 + Open)||MX2||KTM|
2013: Remember how the first turn of moto three told the story in earlier editions of this event? Well, it should have here, as Belgium appeared in control of the event until bad luck struck and Clement Desalle went down a third moto first turn pileup. He hurt his shoulder and suffered a DNF.
And yet, Belgium hung on to win anyway! Dungey only netted 6-7 scores on the day, Barcia got caught in the same first-turn crash as Desalle, and MX2 entrant Eli Tomac….oh, Eli. He was so fast, putting on pitched battles with Roczen in MX2 (it was quite a sight to see two 250Fs tussle for an overall moto win) but then suffered a huge crash while trying to make a pass on Roczen. That led to a 16th place finish, and Barcia could only get to 11th in the third moto. On home soil, Germany had good runs again from Roczen and Nagl but Dennis Ulrich went 39-40.
Moral of the story: You don’t have to win motos to win the race. Belgium’s best is a second from Ken De Dycker and a third from Desalle. That’s enough!
|Ken De Dycker||2||Race 3 (MX1 + Open)||MX1||KTM|
|Clement Desalle||3||Race 2 (MX2 + Open)||Open||Suzuki|
|Jeremy Van Horebeek||7||Race 2 (MX2 + Open)||MX2||Kawasaki|
|Jeremy Van Horebeek||7||Race 1 (MX1 + MX2)||MX2||Kawasaki|
|Ken De Dycker||8||Race 1 (MX1 + MX2)||MX1||KTM|
|Clement Desalle||Race 3 (MX1 + Open)||Open||Suzuki|
|Eli Tomac||2||Race 2 (MX2 + Open)||MX2||Honda|
|Justin Barcia||4||Race 2 (MX2 + Open)||Open||Honda|
|Ryan Dungey||6||Race 1 (MX1 + MX2)||MX1||KTM|
|Ryan Dungey||7||Race 3 (MX1 + Open)||MX1||KTM|
|Justin Barcia||11||Race 3 (MX1 + Open)||Open||Honda|
|Eli Tomac||16||Race 1 (MX1 + MX2)||MX2||Honda|
2014: The great French Revolution begins, starting of course with a sensational day for ‘Nations stalwart Gautier Paulin, who goes 1-1 overall in his two motos. Steven Frossard goes 2-4 in his motos, Dylan Ferrandis contributes a ninth on his 250. France wins easily.
Team USA is actually pretty solid in this one, Dungey back to his old form to net second in moto one. Tomac almost completes a comeback for the ages in moto three, from way, way back he nearly catches everyone until a late stall holds him to third. The real issue is 250 National Champion Jeremy Martin, who breaks his foot in Saturday’s qualifying, and struggles to 11-13 scores.
Moral of the Story: Sometimes Gautier Paulin just rides out of his mind at this event. If there were a Motocross des Nations Hall of Fame, he’d be in it. Also, Martin’s Saturday injury reminds of how phenomenally lucky Team USA has been through the years. Random injuries are part of motocross but rarely strike the American team.
Note how Belgium scored the exact same points two years in a row but got two different results.
|Gautier Paulin||1||Race 1 (MXGP + MX2)||MXGP||Kawasaki|
|Gautier Paulin||1||Race 3 (MXGP + Open)||MXGP||Kawasaki|
|Steven Frossard||2||Race 2 (MX2 + Open)||Open||Kawasaki|
|Steven Frossard||4||Race 3 (MXGP + Open)||Open||Kawasaki|
|Dylan Ferrandis||9||Race 1 (MXGP + MX2)||MX2||Kawasaki|
|Dylan Ferrandis||9||Race 2 (MX2 + Open)||MX2||Kawasaki|
|Kevin Strijbos||1||Race 2 (MX2 + Open)||Open||Suzuki|
|Jeremy Van Horebeek||2||Race 3 (MXGP + Open)||MXGP||Yamaha|
|Jeremy Van Horebeek||4||Race 1 (MXGP + MX2)||MXGP||Yamaha|
|Kevin Strijbos||9||Race 3 (MXGP + Open)||Open||Suzuki|
|Julien Lieber||11||Race 2 (MX2 + Open)||MX2||KTM|
|Julien Lieber||15||Race 1 (MXGP + MX2)||MX2||KTM|
2015: An epic battle in France, Team USA gets itself together and logs some great races—but the French squad, at home, is just that much better. Justin Barcia wins a moto overall on his JGR Yamaha, the first American moto win since Villopoto in 2011, but new MXGP World Champion Romain Febvre is just a monster, winning the other two motos. Febvre is just able to outpace Cooper Webb, who is a 250 rider back home but jumps onto a 450. Martin is the 250 entrant again, he’s good but Musquin is better. In the final moto, Barcia and Webb don’t get the starts, and Febvre and (of course) Paulin pull through.
Moral of the story: Sometimes the best team just wins. France, at home, was just too strong.
Note how low these scores are compared to previous years.
|Romain Febvre||1||Race 2 (MX2 + Open)||Open||Yamaha|
|Romain Febvre||1||Race 3 (MXGP + Open)||Open||Yamaha|
|Marvin Musquin||3||Race 2 (MX2 + Open)||MX2||KTM|
|Marvin Musquin||4||Race 1 (MXGP + MX2)||MX2||KTM|
|Gautier Paulin||5||Race 3 (MXGP + Open)||MXGP||Honda|
|Gautier Paulin||7||Race 1 (MXGP + MX2)||MXGP||Honda|
|Justin Barcia||1||Race 1 (MXGP + MX2)||MXGP||Yamaha|
|Cooper Webb||2||Race 2 (MX2 + Open)||Open||Yamaha|
|Justin Barcia||3||Race 3 (MXGP + Open)||MXGP||Yamaha|
|Jeremy Martin||5||Race 1 (MXGP + MX2)||MX2||Yamaha|
|Jeremy Martin||5||Race 2 (MX2 + Open)||MX2||Yamaha|
|Cooper Webb||6||Race 3 (MXGP + Open)||Open||Yamaha|
2016: Lots of hype for Maggiora, Italy, marking 30 years after what’s considered the most dominant team performance in event history, Team USA finishing 1-2 in all three motos at the 1986 event at the track. Team USA is a bit compromised (Eli Tomac, highest-ranked American in the 450 Nationals, doesn’t compete, so 250 National Champion Webb jumps to a 450 again, and Jason Anderson, who missed most of the Nationals with injury, returns for the Open Class. Alex Martin, second in 250 National points, fills the MX2 spot) but they perform really well. Martin is solid enough with 9-9 scores for second overall in MX2, the key is that he bests France’s Benoit Paturel, who goes 14-10. Anderson is a sensation by winning the second moto overall…but in a shot heard ‘round the world, he gets landed on while rolling the finish line jump!
That leaves Webb solo in the last moto. He’s not as sharp on the 450 as he was in 2015, but then again neither is his rival, Febvre. They both suffer bad starts in the last race and struggle under the weight of coming through. The Netherlands, with Herlings gone in the race lead, is now in control. Webb makes enough passes to get the win back in Team USA’s grasp with the white flag in sight, but crashes, and then Febrve goes on a tear, going around the downed Webb and passing Britain’s Tommy Searle to steal enough points for France to win again! The Dutch, leading heading into the final lap of the race, lose by a single point.
Moral of the story: Sometimes luck isn’t on your side. Anderson getting landed on while winning a moto is one of the wildest moments in the history of the event.
|Romain Febvre||1||Race 1 (MXGP + MX2)||MXGP||Yamaha|
|Gautier Paulin||3||Race 2 (MX2 + Open)||Open||Honda|
|Romain Febvre||4||Race 3 (MXGP + Open)||MXGP||Yamaha|
|Benoit Paturel||10||Race 2 (MX2 + Open)||MX2||Yamaha|
|Gautier Paulin||11||Race 3 (MXGP + Open)||Open||Honda|
|Benoit Paturel||14||Race 1 (MXGP + MX2)||MX2||Yamaha|
|Jeffrey Herlings||1||Race 3 (MXGP + Open)||Open||KTM|
|Jeffrey Herlings||2||Race 2 (MX2 + Open)||Open||KTM|
|Glenn Coldenhoff||6||Race 1 (MXGP + MX2)||MXGP||KTM|
|Glenn Coldenhoff||7||Race 3 (MXGP + Open)||MXGP||KTM|
|Brian Bogers||14||Race 2 (MX2 + Open)||MX2||KTM|
|Brian Bogers||20||Race 1 (MXGP + MX2)||MX2||KTM|
2017: Expecting all three top riders from any nation to make it to the MXoN healthy and willing is a long shot, and that’s what makes France’s win streak so impressive. A ton of injuries leaves the French selecting Christophe Charlier, a former GP rider who had switched to the World Enduro Championship, as the MX2 entrant. He grabs a rock-solid sixth in a moto on a 250F, and France is set. The Paulin/Febvre tandem takes care of the rest by grabbing podium finishes.
Being called a “B Team” is a cool motivator for a team to rally around, but it doesn’t work in Team USA’s favor at all in Matterley Basin, England. Tomac, the 450 National Champion, chooses not to race again, Blake Baggett, the next highest-ranked American 450 rider, is out with a thumb injury. So Team USA turns to Cole Seely and expat MX2 rider Thomas Covington. Seely is simply out of place in the mud, and then his Honda’s rear suspension breaks in both motos. Worse, Covington tears his ACL in Saturday’s qualifier. The only highlight is Zach Osborne, the 250 National Champ now making his Team USA debut after turns with team Puerto Rico. Zach goes 10-3 for second overall in MX2 behind Australia’s Hunter Lawrence. But basically, this is a disaster in the mud in England. Surely Team USA will strike back on home soil the next year?
Moral of the story: Even without Musquin, and even with a guy who had switched to the World Enduro Championship, France wins. The French team definitely has something figured out here.
|Romain Febvre||2||Race 2 (MX2 + Open)||Open||Yamaha|
|Gautier Paulin||3||Race 1 (MXGP + MX2)||MXGP||Husqvarna|
|Romain Febvre||3||Race 3 (MXGP + Open)||Open||Yamaha|
|Gautier Paulin||6||Race 3 (MXGP + Open)||MXGP||Husqvarna|
|Christophe Charlier||6||Race 2 (MX2 + Open)||MX2||Husqvarna|
|Christophe Charlier||14||Race 1 (MXGP + MX2)||MX2||Husqvarna|
|Jeffrey Herlings||1||Race 2 (MX2 + Open)||Open||KTM|
|Jeffrey Herlings||2||Race 3 (MXGP + Open)||Open||KTM|
|Glenn Coldenhoff||8||Race 1 (MXGP + MX2)||MXGP||KTM|
|Brian Bogers||9||Race 2 (MX2 + Open)||MX2||KTM|
|Glenn Coldenhoff||11||Race 3 (MXGP + Open)||MXGP||KTM|
|Brian Bogers||12||Race 1 (MXGP + MX2)||MX2||KTM|
2018: RedBuuuud! France gets heat on its team selection by leaving Musquin off the team (this time at an American-based event) but once again comes out on top. This time it’s better to be lucky than good, though, because the Netherlands clearly have the strongest team. Herlings and Glenn Coldenhoff sweep the motos and even go 1-2 in the last race. But MX2 entrant Calvin Vlaanderen is hit in the eye with a rock in moto one, and records DNF-DNS finishes. The Netherlands has finished second three years in a row.
As for the Americans? Even on home soil, it’s just a complete disaster. That’s about all you can say.
Moral of the story: France has just one moto victory in the last three years but also has six-straight MXoN team victories. The team has won at home and away, in all weather conditions, despite injuries, controversial team selections, and whatever weird luck the event can throw its way. Again, they have clearly figured something out.
|Gautier Paulin||2||Race 1 (MXGP + MX2)||MXGP||Husqvarna|
|Gautier Paulin||3||Race 3 (MXGP + Open)||MXGP||Husqvarna|
|Dylan Ferrandis||7||Race 1 (MXGP + MX2)||MX2||Yamaha|
|Dylan Ferrandis||8||Race 2 (MX2 + Open)||MX2||Yamaha|
|Jordi Tixier||15||Race 3 (MXGP + Open)||Open||KTM|
|Jordi Tixier||32||Race 2 (MX2 + Open)||Open||KTM|
|Jeffrey Herlings||1||Race 1 (MXGP + MX2)||MXGP||KTM|
|Glenn Coldenhoff||1||Race 2 (MX2 + Open)||Open||KTM|
|Glenn Coldenhoff||1||Race 3 (MXGP + Open)||Open||KTM|
|Jeffrey Herlings||2||Race 3 (MXGP + Open)||MXGP||KTM|
|Calvin Vlaanderen||36||Race 1 (MXGP + MX2)||MX2||Honda|
|Calvin Vlaanderen||0||Race 2 (MX2 + Open)||MX2||Honda|
For more Motocross of Nations results back to 2004, visit our new MXoN database.
Main Image: Andrew Fredrickson