Motocross of Nations 2018

10 Things to Watch

maddix park mx

Chase Stallo RacerXonline


The Motocross of Nations isn’t scored like your typical motocross event. So how is it actually won? Each team sends two riders to the gate in each moto. Moto one is MX2 (250Fs) and MXGP (450s, considered the premier class). Moto two has MX2 and the Open class (also 450s), and moto three features all 450s, with MXGP and Open. Each finishing position is a point (1 point for first, 2 points for second, etc.), and the team with the lowest point total wins the event. Here's a critical part: riders are scored solely on their overall finish. If a 250 rider finishes fifth, the team gets 5 points; it doesn't matter where the other 250 riders finished. In the old days, finishing second amongst the 125s gave you 2 points, even if it was tenth overall. These days, everyone is scored together. 


Each team drops one score, so five of six finishes count. Keep this in mind as you try to calculate results during the day. If you're watching the race live on CBS Sports Network or, the scores after the second moto will be way, way off, because, with only four finishes at that point, each team's score will be calculated using all of its finishes. When teams throw their bad result out, things will change drastically. So, before moto three, the best bet is to look at the three best finishes from each team instead of all four. It's a more accurate way to see where things stand.


Saturday’s qualifying races determine gate picks. There will be one moto for each class on Saturday. Each team's best two motos are then calculated to determine Saturday's overall ranking, which becomes Sunday's gate pick order. For the main motos on Sunday, since each team sends two riders to the gate in each race, each team gets two gates. The best team from Saturday gets gate choices #1 and #21, the second best gets picks #2 and #22, etc. One huge part of this event is deciding where to start your 250 rider. Down on power, he'll have a tough time getting a start, so do you give him your better gate to help? Do you just assume his start will suck anyway and give the good pick to your 450 rider, who could potentially holeshot and win? This is especially important because GP tracks usually have starts designed to favor better gate picks (which makes Saturday's racing more important), where as in the U.S. holeshots often can come from 20 different gates in the middle. With gate picks being so critical, assume that each team will have one rider with a good start and one rider with a bad start in each moto.

The last time the USA won was 2011.
The last time the USA won was 2011.Sarah Gutierrez


Team USA is in the midst of a six-year losing streak at the Motocross of Nations, marking the first time since 1997-1999 that the United States has lost three or more consecutive years. (We didn’t send teams in 2001 and 2002.) When you’re a member of the winnginest nation in the history of the event, which hasn’t won in six years, the pressure only intensifies. For Eli Tomac, he told us this week it’s a good pressure. “You know, for me, I’ve done it enough now to where it’s good pressure, you know? Maybe early on in a career, yeah, sometimes it can hurt you. But for the most part, it’s good for us and for me. I dig it. I dig the pressure now that we’re on the home turf. If anything, it’s going to give us confidence.” Can the Yanks get back to winning on home soil? 


On the other end of the spectrum is Team France, winners of the last four Motocross of Nations. Prior to the start of “the streak” France had only captured the Chamberlain Trophy once (in 2001, when Team USA did not send a team), in the history of the event, which dates back to 1947. The French revolution has been led by Gautier Paulin (a member of all four wins) and Romain Febvre (a member of three wins). This year, the team has been draped in controversy. From not selecting Marvin Musquin to Febvre getting hurt to Jordi Tixier getting the fill in spot after Marvin declined, the French have run the gamut. Deep breath. Yeah, that’s a lot for any team, rather less one looking for a fifth straight win. Still, we thought they were in trouble last year when they had to pluck former Grand Prix rider Christophe Charlier out of the EnduroGP Championship, but they STILL won. We’ll see if they can regroup this weekend.

Will it be France again?
Will it be France again?Kardy


Sure, the team aspect of the event is what draws, but another interesting storyline to watch is individual matchups that we rarely get to see during the season. Here are a few riders to keep an eye on in each class.


Gautier Paulin (France)
Jeffrey Herlings (Netherlands)
Eli Tomac (United States)
Clement Desalle (Belgium)
Antonio Cairoli (Italy)
Valentin Guillod (Switzerland)
Tommy Searle (Great Britain)
Kirk Gibbs (Australia)
Kevin Windham (Puerto Rico)
Ken Roczen (Germany)
Kirk Gibbs (Australia)
Colton Facciotti (Canada)


Dylan Ferrandis (France)
Calvin Vlaanderen (Netherlands)
Ben Watson (Great Britain)
Hunter Lawrence (Australia)
Aaron Plessinger (United States)
Jess Pettis (Canada)
Ryan Sipes (Puerto Rico)
Jorge Prado (Spain)
Henry Jacobi (Germany)
Anthony Rodriguez (Venezuela)


Jordi Tixier (France)
Glenn Coldenhoff (Netherlands)
Max Anstie (Great Britian)
Jeremy Van Horebeek (Belgium)
Jeremy Seewer (Switzerland)
Justin Barcia (United States)
Travis Pastrana (Puerto Rico)

(If you want to see the complete list - )


If you were scanning the riders above and had a hard time finding Tim Gajser it’s because Slovenia did not field a team this year. Neither did Latvia or Denmark, which means 2017 MX2 World Champion Pauls Jonass is out (he underwent knee surgery too, so he was probably out either way), as is MX2 contender Thomas Kjer Olsen, who was third in the final MX2 standings this season. Of course, you’re familiar with the Marvin Musquin situation. He won’t be there. Neither will Romain Febvre or Chad Reed. Still, there is still plenty of star power to wet your appetite this weekend.

Can Anstie get Team GB back on the podium?
Can Anstie get Team GB back on the podium?Kardy


Jeffrey Herlings has had the Netherlands on the brink of their first MXoN overall the past two years, the Dutch coming up just short each time. Following a historical dominant 2018 FIM Motocross World Championship title run, Herlings is a pre-race favorite (along with Eli Tomac) to win MXGP. Can he get enough help from Vlaanderen and Coldenhoff?


They may not even make the A Final, but everyone will be watching to see how legends Travis Pastrana and Kevin Windham perform for Team Puerto Rico. “I did a month of physical therapy with Phil Smage at Virginia High Performance just to get my shoulders, knees, right ankle, left wrist, and back to be able to be strong enough to fall over in a corner without breaking off,” Pastrana told us earlier this week. Windham added: “This will be the best race I have ever been in being this old, fat, and out of shape.” Throw it the jack-of-all-trader Ryan Sipes, and this is going to be fun! 


There may not be a spoiler that takes down France or the US or Netherlands—or whichever country wins—but we could see some podium spoilers. Ken Roczen is back and leading Germany, which won the event in 2012. Veterans Tommy Searle and Max Anstie hope to lead the Brits back to the podium. We’ll see how this plays out on Sunday.

Bookmark and Share