USA takes 2008 Red Bull Motocross of Nations
By: Garry Morrow
Posted: Monday, 29th September, 2008 : 9:38 AM - - 17,013 Reads
A very exciting 62nd edition of the Red Bull Motocross of Nations was won by Team USA for the 19th time as James Stewart (MX1), Ryan Villopoto (MX2) and Tim Ferry (Open) rode strong throughout the three heats. Villopoto and Ferry also took the MX2 and Open Individual Overall wins with Stewart missing the MX1 win because of a final heat crash.
The French Team took second with Sebastien Pourcel also snaring the MX1 Individual Overall win from Stewart courtesy of his final heat victory. Nicolas Aubin rode solid in the Open class with Anthony Boissiere damaging his front tyre in heat two.
Team Belgium rounded off the podium with MX1 rider Ken de Dycker, MX2 rider Jeremy van Horebeek and Open class rider Steve Ramon.
Great Britain dropped down from a virtual third to fourth after Billy Mackenzie made a mistake in heat three as Italy rounded off the top five just ahead of Australia.
60000 spectators turned out to watch the event at Donington Park to see the action and heat 1 - MX1+MX2 - David Philippaerts got things started when the newly crowned World Champion took the holeshot to lead for the first two laps. James Stewart was quickly on the Italian’s tail until he moved past and cruised to the eventual victory. After a crash in the opening lap Christophe Pourcel recovered to second but once he drew closer to Stewart the American stepped up the pace leaving the Frenchman a distant second. Philippaerts and Barragan battled it out for third with the MX1 World Champion taking the honours as Spain’s Barragan ended fourth. Switzerland’s Julien Bill was a solid fifth as Villopoto took tenth after an early crash saw him restart from the back of the pack. Great Britain was a sixth and a ninth with Billy Mackenzie and Tommy Searle.
MX1+MX2 Top five:
1. James Stewart (USA, Kawasaki), 35:25.692; ;
2. Sebastien Pourcel (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:21.030;
3. David Philippaerts (ITA, Yamaha), +0:33.076;
4. Jonathan Barragan (ESP, KTM), +0:35.481;
5. Julien Bill (SUI, Honda), +0:44.913
Heat 2, MX2 and Open saw the rain start to fall as Kiwi Cody Cooper take the holeshot for team New Zealand but USA’s Ryan Villopoto got off to a great start as well to move past Cooper by the end of lap one. The American pulled away to win his only moto of the day as Cooper faced MX2 rider Boissiere’s attacks until the Frenchman passed. Later on the Frenchman broke his front wheel and went through the pit-lane for a quick check. He rejoined the race in 18th place. Cooper found himself back in second when Boissiere went out but Steve Ramon charged through the field to snatch the runner up spot. The New Zealander was also passed by Great Britain’s Tommy Searle who made a spectacular charge through the field becoming the only home rider to take a top three finish. Cooper was an eventual fourth ahead of Italy’s Alex Salvini and Puerto Rico’s Zach Osborne who put in the ride of the meeting after recovering to sixth after a crash at the start left him dead last.
MX2 and Open Top five:
1. Ryan Villopoto (USA, Kawasaki), 36:14.798; ;
2. Steve Ramon (BEL, Suzuki), +0:24.632;
3. Tommy Searle (GBR, KTM), +0:25.490;
4. Cody Cooper (NZL, Suzuki), +0:27.281;
5. Alex Salvini (ITA, Suzuki), +0:39.243
In the final race, MX1 and Open Class, Pourcel led the pack into turn one with Stewart moving past him before the end of lap one. The Kawasaki duo ran away from the rest of the field forming a five second gap after the first five minutes of racing. Pourcel moved past Stewart then the American took the lead again leaving Pourcel behind. With only a couple of minutes to go Stewart made a mistake and crashed; unable to start his bike he was an eventual 23rd as Tim Ferry came home in fifth saving team USA’s win. Philippaerts ended right ahead of Stewart in 22nd as he also crashed with team Italy losing their podium chance. Pourcel was the eventual winner ahead of Tanel Leok making up for a mechanical failure of heat one. Max Nagl was third for Germany followed by Belgian Ken De Dycker. It was a dramatic finale for home team Great Britain with Billy Mackenzie crashing out when he was fifth; the squad dropped down the rankings as Mackenzie ended 11th.
MX1 and Open Class Top five:
1. Sebastien Pourcel (FRA, Kawasaki), 35:55.949; ;
2. Tanel Leok (EST, Kawasaki), +0:05.763;
3. Maximilian Nagl (GER, KTM), +0:26.044;
4. Ken de Dycker (BEL, Suzuki), +0:37.085;
5. Tim Ferry (USA, Kawasaki), +0:40.251
From an Australian standpoint we struggled around inside the top ten after various mishaps and some bad luck.
A little race rusty, Chad Reed started race one in 22nd position but bravely battled through the pack to 12th position by the end of the race. His second moto start was much better and after starting seventh he ended the race eighth. Finishing the day eighth overall Reed was disappointed with his performance but well pleased with his new ride.
"It was a rough day and I'm a little bit embarrassed by my performance really," he said. "I didn't feel good all weekend and I just struggled with the track. The Australian team needed a leader today and I wasn't there - I'm very disappointed with myself.
"My bike was awesome though and it's only a shame that I wasn't able to twist the throttle and steer it in the right direction - I was a little off today. I'm really looking forward to getting back to Supercross so I can get my groove on."
Reed's Aussie-team team-mate Michael Byrne also had a difficult day at the races finishing with an 8-36 scorecard after struggling to find a good set-up with his bike's suspension due to the lack of track time that the MXoN format offers.
Byrne started strongly in his opening race and after gating 12th he soon powered through the pack to eighth place which is where he'd stay until the end. Starting the second moto strongly too Michael reached the edge of the top 10 before making his first big mistake that would see him hit the deck. Remounting in 14th he made another error four laps later and that pretty much ended his weekend early.
"My weekend started off well and I had a good result in my qualifier," said Byrne. "But today I struggled with my starts and that made it difficult because this track is very difficult to pass on. I made lots of little mistakes and some small crashes. It was a tough weekend and I fell twice in the second moto - it was a rough race for me but I came through it."
Brett Metcalfe showed speed in the early parts of each race but faded slightly in the stacked field as the 30 minutes plus three laps drew out. Metcalfe eventually finished with 17th and 10th and 4th overall in the MX2 class.
16 year old Finnish Harri Kullas was the youngest and best placed rider and won the Ricky Carmichael Motocross of Nations Award Youngest Rider.
Nations classification top six:
Next year’s Red Bull FIM Motocross of Nations is due to be held in Franciacorta, Italy, hosting the 63rd edition of the event.