The United States of America made it seven in a row when they won the 2011 FIM Motocross of Nations in France at the weekend but they were made to work for it.
The best motocross riders from around the world converged on the Circuit du Puy de Poursay, a few kilometres south of St Jean d’Angely, in France, on Saturday and Sunday and put on a breathtaking display of motocross racing.
Dubbed the “Olympic Games of Motocross”, this annual spectacular never fails to entertain and so it proved this time around as the Americans left it until the last race before finally putting it all together.
Great Britain led after the opening race and France held the advantage after race two, but when Washington’s Ryan Villopoto and Minnesota’s Ryan Dungey finished 1-2 in the final deciding race, the pendulum swung back in favour of the star spangled team from the US.
In the end, Team USA won by just 13 points from host nation France, with the trio from Australia finishing third overall, the first time Australia has visited the podium at this event.
Despite being regular contenders in the past, New Zealand could send only a “development squad” this time around.
Though they fought bravely, New Zealand’s line-up of Auckland’s Joel Doeksen (MX1), Elsthorpe’s Kieran Scheele (Open Class) and Rotorua’s John Phillips (MX2) were overwhelmed, failing to qualify for the main event.
As a team, they finished 10th overall in the “B final”, a consolation race for non-qualifying countries, and ended the weekend with an overall Motocross of Nations ranking of 30th.
© Words and photos by Bridget McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
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