The prestigious Motocross of Nations event will again host more than 35 teams from around the world, with it announced yesterday that Australia will be represented by Mitch Evans, Dean Ferris and Kyle Webster.
For the 23-year-old Webster, this will be his MXoN debut.
Australia hopes it can improve upon the fourth-place finish it achieved at the 2018 event held in the United States – on that occasion the team was Kirk Gibbs, Evans and Hunter Lawrence.
The Australians were shaken by the recent unavailability of Lawrence this year after he injured his knee injury prior to the final round of the 2019 US motocross nationals. Lawrence won the MX2 class at the 2017 Motocross of Nations and finished runner-up in the category to Jorge Prado at the MXoN in the US last year.
Amid a strong campaign on the elite MXGP circuit, Evans, a Cairns native, is confident the team will be hard to beat. Evans is currently running 11th overall in the MX2 world championships.
“I’m excited to get out there, represent my country and race the best in the world,” the 19-year-old Evans said.
“I’m looking forward to everyone getting behind us and hopefully we can get a spot on the box because we’ve got a really strong team this year.”
Ferris (KTM), who is a three-time Australian motocross champion and recently competed in the U.S., said representing his country was a highlight of his highly successful career.
“I’m super excited to be representing Australia at the Motocross of Nations this year in Assen,” the 29-year-old from Lismore said.
“I’m really looking forward to racing alongside Mitch Evans and Kyle Webster, so it will be great to catch up with the boys.”
While Webster (Honda), who was the runner up in the 2019 MX Nationals MX2 class, was shocked when told he’ll be heading to the Netherlands.
“Honestly, I’m stoked. I didn’t really expect to be picked for the team, but I’m wrapped to be able to head over to Assen,” said the West Australian.
“It’s my first time heading over to the MXoN, so I’m not sure what to really expect.
“Being the biggest motocross event in the world, I just can’t wait to be a part of it. Without a doubt, it’s the biggest thing in my career for sure, so I’m really excited.
“It’s awesome to have both Dean [Ferris] and Mitch [Evans] as my team-mates.”
The other team from this part of the world, Team New Zealand, was announced two weeks ago and it comprises Wyatt Chase (Honda), Maximus Purvis (Yamaha) and Dylan Walsh (Husqvarna).
The Kiwi trio will each be making their MXoN debuts at Assen.
New Zealand has a remarkable record at this most prestigious of motocross events, the Kiwis having finished third on the podium three separate times – in England in 1998, in Belgium in 2001 and in England again in 2006 – as well as finishing fourth in Belgium in 2003, fourth in France in 2005 and fifth in Austria in 1993.
In all, a Team New Zealand trio has finished among the top 10 on 14 memorable occasions. New Zealand finished 17th overall when the MXoN was held in the United States last year.
All three of the New Zealand team from 2018 – Cody Cooper, Rhys Carter and Hamish Harwood – were unavailable this year because of injuries or for personal reasons.
An Australian team has only been on the MXoN podium once, when they finished third overall at St Jean d’Angely, in France, in 2011 – with the team on that occasion comprising Chad Reed, Brett Metcalfe and Matt Moss.
However, the Australians have been strong over the past 10 years – they finished 6th in 2008, 7th in 2009, 6th in 2010, 3rd in 2011, 10th in 2012, 4th in 2013, 14th in 2014, 7th in 2015, 8th in 2016, 6th in 2017 and then 4th last year.
© Photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ
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The photo above shows Dean Ferris, in splendid green and gold, in action at the Motocross of Nations at Maggiora, in Italy in 2016. Photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com