For many American motocross fans, the 2007 FIM Motocross of Nations at Budds Creek was this nation’s finest moment in the sport so far. On the eve of the 2018 Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations at RedBud, we talked to the key men who played roles in making the 60th anniversary of the Olympics of Motocross so very memorable: Team USA’s Ricky Carmichael, Ryan Villopoto, and Tim Ferry; Team USA manager Roger DeCoster; assistant team manager Mitch Payton; and Youthstream’s Giuseppe Luongo.
ROGER DeCOSTER: By 2007, [the] Motocross of Nations had become a big deal in the U.S., and everybody was excited about it coming back to America. The fans and the riders were excited about it, and everybody wanted to be on the team. And it was going to be Ricky’s last outdoor race as well.
RICKY CARMICHAEL: Not a lot of people know this, but my last race was actually going to be the U.S. Open in Las Vegas, which was going to be held shortly after the 2007 Motocross of Nations, but I was so sick with Epstein-Barr and couldn’t continue. In fact, I honestly don’t know how I even finished that MX of Nations. I was in really, really bad shape. It was just something that I had to do—it was my duty. It was bittersweet, too. I was bummed I was sick, and I was sad it was my last professional race and I couldn’t enjoy it like I wanted to just because I was just so beat and run down.