Motocross of Nations is to motocross what the Super Bowl is to American football. It’s the holy grail, the crown jewel of the professional motocross circuit. This year, team Belgium showed the world where best riders come from.
The entire event was held in Tueschental, Germany, some 435km west of Wrocław. My boss and motorcycle enthusiast Nick had planned the trip a while ago and we had race and paddock passes for the weekend plus a camping pass for our tents. This late in September we knew it was gonna be cold at night, but I didn’t know it would get below freezing! Luckily our camp neighbors, a great bunch of Dutch guys in their early twenties, welcomed us near their bon fire that burned hot with mixed diesel and benzine fuel, sometimes a little out of control.
What you see above is a converted chainsaw sans the actual chain. It’s a noisemaker basically, a gas powered saw with handlebars and a muffler on it made specifically for the sole puprose of being as fucken loud as possible at the race track, and hopefully all night long at the campsite as well. There was plenty of these all around, each with its own sound, noise level, and bling factor. But it’s not the campsite that was the exciting part of course.
It took a good half hour to walk the 3kms to the track through some farmers’ field. You could hear the deep four stroke “whoooomp” from far away and I must apologize in advance when I say this, but no electric dirt bike will ever replace this ear pleasing greatness. Sorry KTM Freeride!
Once at the track I couldn’t believe how big it was. Not only big area wise, but with huge elevation changes, too. Jumps looked enormous, and one especially proved to be the killer of American dreams the next day.
Having paddock tickets meant we had access to the pit area of all the teams. That’s where we got to watch Team USA’s Ryan Dungey prep his factory sponsored KTM alongside Italian Antonio Cairoli. I totally understand why the teams are split up and paired based on their motorcycle make, these are riders who all season long compete with each other and are only brought together this one weekend to play nice for their respective country. But in reality this means that you have to go over to the KTM tent to see Dungey, and then find the Honda tent to see Barcia, both of whom ride for Team USA.
Team Poland didn’t have this problem. Actually Team Poland didn’t even make the paddock area and we found it outside of the pit area, still don’t know why that was. But all riders were together no matter what bike they rode.
The great thing about walking through pit area was simply bumping into riders on their way to the track. How cool is it to see these multimillion dollar professionals right before they hit their race!
The event lasted two days; qualifying heats on Saturday and main races on Sunday. We cheered on our Polish guys but their best wasn’t good enough to make the top 20 teams that qualified to race the next day. So we switched to cheering on the Americans, then Germans, and even Australians, as long as everyone was beating the Swiss 😉
Eventually it was the Belgians that won the race when counting up all team points, ahead of the U.S. in second and Italians in third. Actually, here’s the list of how each country performed that weekend. The lower the points the better the score.
1. Belgium 27pts
2. United States 30pts
3. Italy 33pts
4. Australia 40pts
5. France 44pts
6. Great Britain 49pts
7. Germany 57pts
8. Russia 78pts
9. Switzerland 87pts
10. Estonia 92pts
11. The Netherlands 99pts
12. Austria 107pts
13. Spain 117pts
14. Denmark 118pts
15. Czech Republic 121pts
16. Latvia 129pts
17. Portugal 130pts
18. Finland 131pts
19. Norway 166pts
20. New Zealand 167pts