Motocross of Nations – History

There is no event like it in the world, the Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations Presented by Fiat Professional. As far back as 1947 when a British team won the event at the Wassenaar circuit in The Netherlands this race has grown into a massive celebration of the best riders in the World.

Back in the 1950’s and 60s it was Sweden and Great Britain who dominated this event, before the Belgians started their amazing run of victories. Winning their first in 1948 and their last in 2013 the Belgian team have won 15 times.

Of course, after the Belgium era of domination came the might of Team USA, as the American took the event by storm in 1981 and in the last 31 years have won 22 times.

Riders like Ricky Johnson, David Bailey, Jeff Ward, Johnny O’Mara, Mike Kiedrowski, Jeff Emig, Jeremy McGrath, Jeff Stanton and many more made this event their own. Then came the era of Ricky Carmichael, Ryan Villopoto, James Stewart and Ryan Dungey, it was an unstoppable force that was not often broken.

It had been the American team that has really brought glamour to this event, as they came in their numbers, huge budgets and total professionalism. The rest of the world had to look on with respect, take their beating and then hope for some luck the following year.

Of course, in recent years the tide has turned a little, with Team USA not winning in 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

After losing four years in a row Ricky Carmichael rounds up his troops and won in 2005. The win by Team USA at the Ernee circuit in 2005 also saw the event move to another level. The brilliance of RC, plus a solid performance by New Zealander Ben Townley brought added interest to the event and each year bigger crowds, larger facilities and more media attention has seen this race grow at an alarming rate.

Since that 2005 victory America have had mixed results, but it’s been more about the improvement in the Grand Prix riders’ performances, that has seen the changing of the guard somewhat.

In 2012, it was Germany who won, then Belgium in 2013, before Team France took control of the event, winning in 2014, 2015 and 2016. France will try and become only the third team in history to win it four years on the trot, with Team USA having their 13-year winning streak and seven-year winning streak, and Team Great Britain winning it five years running in 1963, 64, 65, 66 and 67.

Team France rider Gautier Paulin will also be going for something special, trying and become only the third rider in the events history to win the event four years in a row. It had been done in the past by Team USA rider David Bailey, who won five times in a row in 1982, 83, 84, 85, and 86, and another American legend, Jeff Ward who won it four times in a row in 1987, 88, 89 and 90.

 

Copyright: Photo: MXLarge

Author: 
Geoff Meyer

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