Motocross of Nations Race Report 2016

What Really Happened at this year’s MXoN

Motocross of Nations, 2016
The Open/MX2 race gets underway at the Italian circuit of Maggiore for the 70th running of the Motocross of Nations.Photo By Jeff Kardas

Gautier Paulin, Roman Febvre, and Benoit Paturel brought home a third-straight Chamberlain Cup trophy for France after winning the 70th running of the Motocross of Nations held this weekend at the Italian circuit of Maggiora. The final outcome came down to the last few laps of the final moto, and in the end the French squad edged out The Netherlands (led by Jeffrey Herlings) by one point to claim the victory, while Team USA (comprised of Cooper Webb, Jason Anderson and Alex Martin) finished third behind the Netherlands. An American team last won the MXoN in 2011.

The Yanks suffered through a rough two days at this year’s event, starting with a crash-filled qualifying session on Saturday, which left the Americans sitting 15th heading into Sunday’s final motos. In the MXGP qualifying race, Webb ran as high as fourth during the early going but hit a downed rider late in the race and finished 18th. Martin fell twice en route to ninth in the MX2 qualifying race, while Anderson injured his foot during a crash in his Open class qualifier, leaving the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory rider 14th at the finish.

Motocross of Nations, 2016
Jason Anderson led the Open/MX2 race from start to finish. The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Rider was not able to ride the final race due to a lapper landing on him after the second moto.Photo By Jeff Kardas

Saturday’s qualifying results meant that Team USA would be among the last to pick their starting gates, and when the gate dropped for the first MXGP/MX2 Moto, Webb was in 14th at the end of the first lap, while Martin finished the opening lap in 23rd.

Out front, the Netherlands’ Glenn Coldenhoff and Italy’s Antonio Cairoli battled for the lead, as Romain Febvre lined both riders up in his sites. Romain would go on to pass Coldenhoof and then Cairoli to win moto one ahead of Cairoli and Kevin Strijbos, with Webb finishing fourth and Martin finishing ninth. After one moto, Belgium held the provisional lead ahead of the United States and France.

Anderson grabbed a rare holeshot to start the second moto, and proceeded to pull a small gap on the field, as Switzerland’s Arnaud Tonus, France’s Gautier Paulin and Holland’s Jeffrey Herlings rounded out the top four. Herlings made short work of Paulin and Tonus and was soon closing in on Anderson, although Anderson picked up the pace, putting the pressure back on Herlings. A Herlings bobble with eight minutes remaining slowed the newly crowned MX2 champ’s charge and gave Anderson some breathing room, which he held to the finish. However, that’s when the unimaginable happened. As Anderson was coasting away from the finish line, celebrating his win, a lapped rider flew full bore over the finish line jump and landed squarely on Anderson, seeming to knock the Husqvarna rider out.

Anderson was checked out at the race and then taken to a hospital for further evaluation, meaning he would not be able to ride the final MXGP/GP moto. Anderson later reported that he was did not suffer any ill effects from the incident but he was disappointed at not being able to ride the final race.

Motocross of Nations, 2016
Team captain Cooper Webb rode a fast and aggressive race to keep Team USA in contention for the win after Anderson was knocked out of the race.Photo By Jeff Kardas

Heading into the final moto, the Americans now held the provisional lead on the strength of Anderson’s win, with France in second, with Switzerland and the Netherlands rounding out the top four. Webb would be the lone Yank flying the American colors, making Anderson’s “non ride” the throw out score for the team. This put added pressure on Webb.

At the start of the final moto, it was Herlings with the early lead, followed by Great Britain’s Tommy Searle and Coldenhoff. Meanwhile, a battle for fourth soon emerged between Webb and Febvre, which put the Americans in the lead in the overall Team standings.

Webb did a masterful job of holding Febvre at bay, until late in the race when Webb got cross-rutted in a turn and tipped over, dropping the Yamaha rider several spots and moving the Netherlands into the overall lead. However, a last-lap pass by Febvre on Searle was just enough to give France the overall win over the Netherlands.

When the final scores were tallied, France won the overall with a total of 29 points, followed by The Netherlands with 30. Team USA was third with 33, followed by Belgium at 36 and Italy with 44.

Motocross of Nations, 2016
Alex Martin was riding his first MXoN as part of the US effort, although he had competed in the race previously as part of the Puerto Rico team.Photo By Jeff Kardas

This year’s race also marked the 30th anniversary of the 1986 Team USA Nations winners David Bailey, Rick Johnson and Johnny O’Mara, who scored perfect 1-2 finishes in all three motos.

RESULTS

  1. Team France 29 (Romain Febvre, Benoit Paturel, Gautier Paulin)

  2. The Netherlands 30 (Jeffrey Herlings, Glenn Coldenhoff, Brian Bogers)

  3. USA 33 (Cooper Webb, Jason Anderson, Alex Martin)

  4. Belgium 36 (Kevin Strijbos, Jeremy Van Horebeek, Brent Van doninck)

  5. Italy 44 (Antonio Cairoli, Samuele Bernardini, Michele Cervellin)