Yes, BikesportNZ.com was there to see Everts put a demon pass on American MX1 rider James Stewart, the Belgian rider standing up, on the foot-pegs, and sweeping around the outside of the American … incredible.
Later, at the post-race press conference, Stewart claimed he was satisfied to settle for that and to follow Everts because he was just “riding for the team”, but it came across as a shallow excuse from a man who didn’t have the simple courage to admit that, in reality, he was well beaten by a better man that day.
Perhaps we’ll witness a similar clash of cultures – the Euros versus the Yanks, GP heroes versus AMA stars – at this year’s edition of the big race?
New Zealand finished on the podium at that MXoN in 2006.
The United States trio – James Stewart, Ivan Tedesco and Ryan Villopoto – lived up to their star billing that day but, on the race track, they had to bow to a 33-year-old on the cusp of retirement as Belgian legend Everts (MX1, Yamaha YZF450) ran away with two of the three motos, the race for MX1/MX2 riders and the race for MX1/Open class riders. Italian Antonio Cairoli (MX2, Yamaha YZF250) won the other race, for MX2 and Open riders.
The New Zealand riders were also outstanding, with Josh Coppins (Honda, MX1) finishing 6-8, Ben Townley (Kawasaki, MX2) finishing 5-3 and Cody Cooper (Honda, Open class) managing 17-13 results.
The Americans were the best team and Belgium’s Everts was the best individual, but the Kiwis were on the podium and that made them pretty special too.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
Find BikesportNZ.com on FACEBOOK here
Leading final standings in the 2006 Motocross of Nations:
- United States (Stewart, Villopoto, Tedesco) 15 points.
- Belgium (Everts, Strijbos, Ramon) 22.
- New Zealand (Coppins, Townley, Cooper) 35.
- Italy (Philippaerts, Cairoli, Beggi) 37.
- France (S. Pourcel, C. Pourcel, Demaria) 48.
Anyway, let’s look back at 2006 and the battle between Everts and Stewart one more time and cross our fingers for 2015 to produce similar drama: