Two Nations: Netherlands vs USA

Ten years ago, around the very tough sand circuit of Lommel in Belgium, the greatest nation in Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations history, Team USA was sent back to America with their beloved Chamberlain trophy nicely packed away in the suitcase of Team Germany. After winning 22 Monster Energy FIM MXoN trophies, the American riders were slaughtered by the Grand Prix specialists and since that warm day in Belgium, Team USA hasn’t had a single victory in the Monster Energy FIM MXoN.

Now, as the 2022 Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations is about to be launched, one of the big favourites for this year’s win is Team USA, with a solid line-up of AMA 450 motocross champion Eli Tomac and AMA 450 runner-up, Chase Sexton, not to mention the best American 250cc rider, Justin Cooper.

While the RedBud circuit is sand, it isn’t Lommel, but still, the best sand riders in the world are commonly considered the Europeans, and while Team USA are the favourites, many are looking at The Netherlands, with Glenn Coldenhoff, Calvin Vlaanderen and Kay de Wolf as a very formidable line-up, a team that would very easily walk away with their second Chamberlain Trophy, after winning in 2019 at the Assen circuit in Holland.

It is no secret, the Dutch were extremely unlucky the last time we ventured to Redbud, in 2018, as Coldenhoff and Jeffrey Herlings went 1-1-1-2, however it was Vlaanderen on the MX2 bike that suffered a nasty eye injury and DNS the final MX2 moto, costing Holland a sure win.

It seems more than likely both Team USA and The Netherlands will be amongst the serious candidates to win in a few days’ time, however, this event doesn’t ever just pit two against each together without several other countries capable of winning, or getting in the way of the winner and Team Italy are the defending champions and with a strong line-up of Antonio Cairoli, Mattia Guadagnini and Andrea Adamo they could easily spring a surprise, just as they did in 2021 at the Mantova circuit in Italy.

When you consider The Netherlands finished second in 2016 at the Maggiora circuit in Italy, losing to France by one point, then in 2017 at the Matterley Basin circuit, again second place behind the French, of course that disappointing second to the French in 2018 at Redbud, before winning at home in Assen in 2019 and second again at Mantova in Italy in 2021. So, from the last six years (or five if you exclude 2020 being cancelled) they have gone 2-2-2-1-2.

With Vlaanderen and Coldenhoff winning Grand Prix in deep sand in 2022, Vlaanderen finishing with 1-1 at the GP of Sardegna, and claiming 2-2 at the Belgian GP at Lommel, plus Coldenhoff winning the Finnish GP with 1-2 scores and finishing with 4-1 at Lommel, then their MX2 rider de Wolf finishing with second overall at the Belgian GP at Lommel, and also second at the Finnish Grand Prix, the Dutch look very strong for RedBud.

Whatever happens on Sunday in America, you get the feeling both Team USA and Team the Netherlands might be fighting for the top step on the Monster Energy Motocross of Nations. Amazingly, while Team USA try for their 22nd win, Holland would be trying to get their second.

Geoff Meyer



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