AMERICANS IN MXGP

The FIM Motocross World Championship have the longest and most prestigious history in the sport. Starting back in 1957 when Swedish legend Bill Nilsson captured the 500cc World championship. Back in the day, the series pretty much raced throughout Europe, thus in many ways with European riders.

Things changed in the 1970s when American riders started turning up and the first to be taken seriously was Jim Pomeroy, who was responsible for a number of firsts in motocross during the 1970s including being the first American to win a Grand Prix, when he took out the Spanish GP at the famous Sabadell Terrassa circuit near Barcelona.

Brad Lackey followed and was then the first American to win a Motocross World Championship, back in 1982. Danny Laporte also won a World title that same year and then a long list of American’s came to the FIM World Motocross championships.

What followed was impressive, with Trampas Parker, Donny Schmit, Bobby Moore all winning MX World titles for America in 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992 and finally 1994. It was the golden era of American racers racing the Motocross World Championships and while many came later, they generally struggled to compete with the European riders.

Mike Brown finished third in the World in the 125cc Championship in 2000, after a season long battle with South African Grant Langston and British rider James Dobb, but since that 125cc Championship win by Moore in 1994, no American has really come close to winning on the Grand Prix scene, at least not a championship.

The final MX World Championship for the American riders was a special one. After a quiet 1993 season in the 250cc MX World Championship, Moore switched back to the 125cc Championship for 1994, as Yamaha had just introduced a re-designed YZ125, tuned by Michelle Rinaldi.

It was a winning combination right from the get-go, as Moore claimed the overall win in round one at Gallarate, Italy, taking a second overall victory of the season at round three in Carlos Paz, Argentina.

Further Grand Prix victories in Sweden and Germany followed, and heading into the penultimate round at Foxhills, Moore was closing in on that elusive first title. At the track that saw him hospitalised the previous year, the American was in fine form, taking victory in race one to edge even closer, as long-time rival Alessio Chiodi could only manage fifth.

The Italian bounced back to win in race two, but Moore’s level ride to second gave him a near unassailable lead of 36 points in the standings, meaning he just needed four points in Borgloom, Belgium to be crowned champion.

In Belgium, Moore never panicked and dominated the opening moto to take the 1994 125cc Motocross World Championship honours. He had little time to celebrate but won again in the second race to round off the season just as he had started it, with a Grand Prix victory.

Names like Tallon Vohland, Thomas Covington, Scott Sheak, Robbie Reynard, Zac Osborne, Ryan Villopoto, or more recently Jack Chambers have come to race in the MXGP World Championships, but success has been limited to the odd GP win and filling places inside the top ten.

Photo Credit: Pascal Haudiquert

Author: 
Geoff Meyer

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