MOTOCROSS DES NATIONS NEWS

Press releaseBy Geoff MeyerWith the Motocross des Nations, set for Zolder, Belgium on October 4 only a little over a month away some of the most important National teams are beginning to come together.It is looking like the American National champions, plus all three World Motocross champions will be in the event. In the AMA 250cc championship Carmichael is just about assured of winning the championship and leading his men against the World, while in the 125cc class it is very much looking like Grant Langston and Ryan Hughes will fight out the 125cc championship.With this in mind it could be the first time since 2000 that the five most important AMA/FIM champions all appear on the same track, on the same weekend. Last year the top riders black-banned the event, while in 2001 America did not ride due to September 11, and Mickael Pichon was also absent.Of course in the 2000 Motocross des Nations at St Jean d'Angly Team USA won the event with their National champions Ricky Carmichael (250cc), Travis Pastrana (125cc) and veteran Ryan Hughes, while all three FIM champions Grant Langston (125cc), Frederic Bolley (250cc) and Joel Smets (500cc) represented their countries. One rider who was missing in 2000 was injured Stefan Everts. Missing from this year's event will be James Stewart (who has yet to race for his country in the des Nations), Sebastian Tortelli, David Vuillemin and Kevin Windham. Of course leading the way this year will be Belgium, with three possible World champions in the team the home team must enter the event as favorites. Steve Ramon, Stefan Everts and Joel Smets will represent the Belgians, although no official word has been supplied by the Belgian Federation, this will be the team. There was talk that the Belgian riders were disappointed with some sponsorship problems, although you can count on Ramon, Everts and Smets riding for their country on October 4.Another favorite for the event is The United States of America; they will also field a strong team with Ricky Carmichael, Timmy Ferry and Ryan Hughes lining up for TEAM USA. Possible podium runners Australia will run with Chad Reed, Michael Byrne and Andrew McFarlane, although Byrne is in some doubt due to a possible team change, if Burner is out then he will be replaced by Craig Anderson.France looking at Mickael Pichon, Mickael Maschio, Stephane Roncada, not a bad team, however they will miss David Vuillemin and Sebastian Tortelli.South Africa are said to be bringing Grant Langston, Greg Albertyn and Tyla Rattray.New Zealand look like having Josh Coppins, Ben Townley and Daryl Hurley, England are yet to name the team, although it is expected to be James Dobb, Paul Cooper and Stephen Sword.Italy will field a weak team in the defense of the title they won in the 2002 Motocross des Nations. With Claudio Federici getting surgery in the off-season Italy will have Manuel Monni, Andrea Bartolini and Alessio Chiodi, although Chiodi is also looking at surgery in the off-season, he would then be replaced by Thomas Traversini. Due to Marc De Reuver being out injured Holland will run with Erik Eggens, Oscar Vromans and Remy Van Rees.The new Zolder circuit is seeing the finishing touches, and from all accounts it will be very similar to the Lierop circuit in Holland. The track is made up of sand, with the design of the circuit running up into the stands, and will also include a slight hill section. With the event being held at the old Formula One facility the event should run with a huge atmosphere. The Belgian people have already bought up big in ticket offices and a crowd of around 40.000 is expected.