The countdown to the 2011 FIM Motocross of Nations is reaching a crescendo.
In just a couple of days’ time, the best motocross riders from around the world will converge on the Circuit du Puy de Poursay, a few kilometres south of St Jean d’Angely, in France, for the biggest professional motocross event on planet Earth, the annual Motocross of Nations (MXoN).
The line-ups from more than 30 countries have been named for this “Olympic Games of Motocross”, set for the spectacular hillside course in south-western France this weekend (the big day is Sunday, September 18 … Monday morning NZ time), and the racing there looks set to be both fast and furious.
The three-rider teams are glittering with the biggest names in the sport, including riders from both the US-based national championship scene and European-based World Motocross Championships.
Team USA is again favoured to win the event after capturing its sixth straight win at the MXoN when it was staged in Denver, Colorado, last season. The United States also holds the record for having the most wins at this event, taking the podium top spot on 21 occasions since the inaugural event in 1947. Britain is next best with 16 wins to its credit.
Minnesota’s Ryan Dungey returns as the US team captain and he will be the Americans’ MX1 class rider, just as he was in Italy in 2009 and in Denver last year.
Joining Dungey will be Washington’s Ryan Villopoto, the 2011 American supercross champion, and MX2 rider Blake Baggett, making his MXoN debut.
The team will again be managed by the legendary Belgian former world champion Roger De Coster.
The teams from Italy, France, Belgium, Australia and Great Britain head the list most likely to challenge the Americans, with New Zealand sending a “development squad” this time around.
New Zealand’s line-up comprises Auckland’s Joel Doeksen (MX1), Elsthorpe’s Kieran Scheele (Open Class) (pictured above), Rotorua’s John Phillips (MX2), with Mangakino’s Kayne Lamont as the reserve rider.
Doeksen finished 22nd overall in this year’s MX3 world championship, while Phillips and Scheele have been team-mates in the Kiwi DBG Suzuki team racing in the United Kingdom this season, finishing just outside the top 15 in the MX2 class at the British Motocross Championships.
© Words by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
© Main photo by Stefan Paetow, eons netmedia