The 71st edition of the unique Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations presented by Fiat Professional is in the books and it was one of the best in recent history. The grassy English hillsides of Matterley Basin was full with thousands upon thousands of diehard motocross fans yelling, jumping, and cheering, all for the world’s best motocross riders.
This weekend was the pinnacle of what a Motocross of Nations event should be with enthusiastic, dedicated, and patriotic riders fighting for the glory and pride of their nation. The fans resembled the riders in enthusiasm, dedication, and patriotism doing everything in their power to motivate their motocross idols. All of which brought the atmosphere of the emotional and action-packed event to an epic level.
Team France of Gautier Paulin, Christophe Charlier, and Romain Febvre was up against strong competition today but handled the challenge with perfection winning their Fourth MXoN in a row. The team was however challenged by the Netherlands returning team of Glenn Coldenhoff, Brian Bogers, and Jeffrey Herlings which for the second year in a row finished second. The final spot on the podium went to, for the first time in 20 years, Team Great Britain made up by Max Anstie, Tommy Searle, and Dean Wilson.
Team France first won the Motocross of Nations in 2001 at Namur, Belgium but they wouldn’t win it again until 2014 in Kegums, Latvia when Gautier Paulin, Dylan Ferrandis and Steven Frossard had an impressive win. Since 2014, France is yet to be beaten, and their win streak continued in masterful fashion today at the Matterley Basin circuit.
The Netherlands Jeffrey Herlings is known as the bullet but it was his teammate, Glenn Coldenhoff, who shot out the starting gate and took the Race 1 FOX Holeshot by less than half a wheel over Max Anstie.
By the second corner Anstie was in the lead and by the conclusion of lap 1 the #4 of Coldenhoff had been shuffled back to 4th. Team Italy’s Antonio Cairoli was in 4th the first few corners but when trying to pass Paulin he tipped over and would remount in 12th. The two riders who passed Coldenhoff on the opening lap where Team France’s Gautier Paulin and Team Switzerland’s Arnaud Tonus. Behind Coldenhoff was Slovenia’s Tim Gajser and Australia’s Hunter Lawrence on his 250.
On the third lap, Gajser passed Coldenhoff and 4 laps later Tonus. Meanwhile, Paulin was keeping Anstie honest at the front but many were on the young Australian rider of Hunter Lawerence who was not only holding his own against the more powerful 450’s but he was out riding many first passing Coldenhoff halfway through the race.
Back at the front Gajser made a pass on Paulin for second look easy as railed an inside line past the Frenchman. Paulin’s teammate Christophe Charlier started the race in 20th but was working his way forward eventually getting up to 14th.
Team USA struggled in the opening race as Cole Seely faced a bike issue and would not finish the race while his teammate Zach Osborne started and finished in tenth. On the final lap, Hunter Lawrence found his way by Arnaud Tonus for a 4th position as Max Anstie won the race followed by Tim Gajser and Gautier Paulin.
MXoN Race 1 top ten: 1. Max Anstie (GBR, Husqvarna), 36:10.357; 2. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:06.251; 3. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Husqvarna), +0:09.398; 4. Hunter Lawrence (AUS, Suzuki), +0:41.407; 5. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, Yamaha), +0:44.978; 6. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:55.596; 7. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +1:00.247; 8. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), +1:08.634; 9. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, Husqvarna), +1:19.761; 10. Zachary Osborne (USA, Husqvarna), +1:31.126
Nations top ten: France, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, Australia, Estonia, Slovenia, Sweden, Great Britain, Italy
When the gate dropped in the second race of the day the “Bullet”, Jeffrey Herlings, propelled himself to a several bike length holeshot. Just as in Saturday’s Qualifying France’s Romain Febvre followed into the second corner as both Estonia’s Tanel Leok and Australia’s Kirk Gibbs had good starts crossing the line 3rd and 4th.
Team USA again had struggles as Thomas Covington fell and got back up in 35th before falling again a lap or so later. The leader Jeffrey Herlings hit neutral on a jump and fell hand the lead and advantage to Febvre.
The MX2 riders of Hunter Lawrence and Christophe Charlier battled but then Zach Osborne split the pair and took a position back from Lawrence who had passed him earlier in the race. 2 laps later Lawrence again passed Osborne and his teammate Gibbs while up front Herlings charged down the inside of Romain Febvre to retake the lead. Only a couple laps later Lawrence took the 3rd position away from Alessandro Lupino.
Lawrence then fell just after the start straight and before the mechanic’s area allowing Lupino back by. Lupino didn’t stay in the third spot for long though as Zach Osborne passed him on with one lap to go.
At the finish line Herlings won over Febvre and Osborne with Lupino taking fourth and Kirk Gibbs 5th while Hunter Lawrence came across in 8th taking the MX2 Overall win just behind Charlier and Team Great Britain’s Dean Wilson. Hunter Lawrence not only took the MX2 overall but was also awarded the Ricky Carmichael Award for the best young rider.
MXoN Race 2 top ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 37:59.364; 2. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +0:13.730; 3. Zachary Osborne (USA, Husqvarna), +1:38.876; 4. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, Honda), +1:40.149; 5. Kirk Gibbs (AUS, KTM), +1:44.122; 6. Christophe Charlier (FRA, Husqvarna), +1:49.117; 7. Dean Wilson (GBR, Husqvarna), +2:01.064; 8. Hunter Lawrence (AUS, Suzuki), +2:02.897; 9. Brian Bogers (NED, KTM), +2:07.211; 10. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, Husqvarna), +2:28.124.
Nations top ten: France, The Netherlands, Australia, Switzerland, Great Britain, Belgium, Italy, Estonia, Sweden, USA.
As the final race of the day started the hometown hero and team Great Britain rider Max Anstie took the final Fox Holeshot. Once again Romain Febvre crossed the Holeshot chalk in second followed by team Belgium’s Jeremy Van Horebeek.
In lap 2 Jeffrey Herlings found his way by Van Horebeek when the Belgian bobbled and missed the rut. Herlings was then third but up front, Max Anstie fell out of the lead on the same jump that Herlings crashed on in race 2 while leading.
Romain Febvre then inherited the top spot as has teammate Gautier Paulin was left to battle with Switzerland’s Arnaud Tonus over 5th. Paulin eventually took the spot only to have Tim Gajser pass him at the halfway point.
Back up front, it was a heated three-way battle for the lead as Anstie tried to retake 1st position from Romain Febvre. Febvre made a mistake on the finish line jump coming up just short after threw away his goggles. Anstie flew back by into the lead as Febvre tried to retaliate down the start straight.
One lap later the exact same scenario unfolded for Febvre but with Herlings and as the Dutchman jumped passed Febvre waved to his team for new goggles. As he came down the start he took a face full of roost from Herlings and immediately after pulled into pit lane to take new goggles. Febvre rejoined the race in the same position which left it, in third as Herlings tried to real in Anstie.
Anstie and the British crowd boisterously backing him proved to be too much for Herlings and the rest of the competition as he took his second race win of the day to take the MXGP overall win while Herlings took the Open Overall victory.
MXoN Race 3 top ten: 1. Max Anstie (GBR, Husqvarna), 37:59.163; 2. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), +0:01.108; 3. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +1:00.011; 4. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +1:20.559; 5. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +1:27.401; 6. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Husqvarna), +1:36.967; 7. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +1:44.854; 8. Dean Wilson (GBR, Husqvarna), +1:51.593; 9. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Suzuki), +2:02.765; 10. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, Yamaha), +2:07.648
Nations top ten: France, The Netherlands, Great Britain, Belgium, Switzerland, Australia, Italy, Estonia, USA, Sweden
At the after race press conference where the Top 3 Teams plus the MX2 Overall Hunter Lawrence are invited Gautier Paulin stated: “The Motocross of Nations is something that you need to live to know how it is, because motocross is an individual sport and you don’t have the same feeling when you ride the MXGP season or similar, racing here you can talk about lines and other stuff. Winning the Motocross of Nations means a lot to be me but it also means a lot to be able to share it with all the fans and with the French Federation.”
Team Netherlands’ Jeffrey Herlings and Open Overall winner continued: “I think I did a good job and so did my teammates, I am very proud of them and the whole organization to make this happen. We rode pretty well but it’s a little disappointing because I worked hard and I really wanted to go 1-1 but I couldn’t.”
Team Great Britain’s Max Anstie “It was unbelievable, it was awesome. I tried to race as fast as I could and the guys rode amazing, this week has been stressful, probably the most stress of all of our lives but we’ve made the best of we’ve kept solid and it’s an amazing feeling to be on the podium.”