A half dozen years ago, a Chicago playwright developed a script about a group of friends on a camping trip. Red Bud was written by Brett Neveu, who visited the actual RedBud track one Fourth of July weekend. But the play wasn’t about the motocross race; it was about fading friendships, midlife crises, and the underlying fear of becoming irrelevant. Red Bud made it to the stage—all the way to London’s Royal Court Theatre, complete with a pickup truck, fake campfire, piles of beer cans, and “Redddd Buuuudddd!”
The race that provided the setting was the annual RedBud National, but it could just as easily have been placed at the 2018 Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations. And the theme would ring true, because Team USA is in the midst of its own midlife crisis. If they don’t win this time—at our centerpiece track, in front of home fans, with our best riders—snapping out of it will only get harder.
We spoke with veteran journalists and race-watchers from around the world, both to gauge Team USA’s chances, and to see what the rest of the world might do at RedBud on October 6 and 7.
Team USA’s childhood years in the seventies blended low expectations with indifference—America didn’t even send a team in 1979 and ’80. They hit puberty in 1981 with their first wins, at what were then called the Motocross and Trophee des Nations. Their teenage years were a blur of fun conquests, peaking in 1993 with a 13th straight win. By that point, the realities of adulthood had caught up, and some confusing years followed. The swagger was back by 2005, and a half dozen solid, healthy years followed. Come 2012, it was time for the proverbial seven-year itch. Then the bottom fell out; apathy and even depression followed.