France was victorious at the 2014 Motocross of Nations on Sunday in this annual and fiercely fought competition. Belgium and USA, led by Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey as captain took the minor places at the Kegums circuit in Latvia.
The competition where the world’s leading riders from both sides of the Atlantic fight for national glory was celebrating its sixty eighth edition. It was a clear victory for Team France who garnered only 17 points, while the 2013 winner Team Belgium finished second with 27 points assisted by KTM rider Julien Lieber.
Team USA battled it out with Team Great Britain and both finished with equal points with Team USA taking the final podium place on a count back of results. The result went in USA’s favor when KTM rider Shaun Simpson, the British national champion had to retire with a damaged chain.
Riders in three classes – MXGP, MX2 and Open – all race against each other with the three-man team allowed to drop their worst result.
Only two Red Bull KTM Factory riders took part, Dungey and Antonio Cairoli who captained Team Italy. Both riders had mixed fortunes on the gnarly sand track. Dungey was in hot form in his first race, finishing second, but a crash in his second race left him with everything to do to salvage a result.
Ryan Dungey: “The first moto went really good. I got a good start and I was able to make the pass into second. Everything was there. The effort was there and the bike felt good. We made some changes going into the second moto – nothing drastic. But then I had a nasty tip over in the first lap. I started dead last and had to work my way up to eleventh. I did the best I could and I think I would have been right up front if I didn’t have that tip over. Team USA did an awesome job, we did our best and that’s all we can do.”
Racing for Team Italy eight-times World Champion Antonio Cairoli was racing in the 250-class and started the weekend on a high note.
Tony Cairoli: “I had a great qualifying race yesterday coming from last to win the MX2 class. That was good for Italy and put us in fifth place for today’s starting line. I knew I had to win or finish in the top three to have a chance to be on the podium. I had to push very hard and always on the limit. I had a bad start and that also compromised the performance. I had to come from tenth back to fourth then I tried to attack to move up to third. I made a big mistake and made a big crash and went down hard on my knee. I was in a lot of pain in the second moto so I was not on my top speed in my second race.” Team Italy finished in sixth place.
Red Bull KTM factory riders Jeffrey Herlings and Ken de Dycker, who last year competed for Team Netherlands and Team Belgium respectively were both sidelined with injuries this time round. Newly crowned MX2 World Champion Jordi Tixier did not compete for Team France.
1, France, 17: 1 pt Gautier Paulin, MXGP; 2 pts Steven Frossard, Open; 9 pts Dylan Ferrandis, MX2.
2, Belgium 27, 1 pt. Kevin Strijbos, Open; 2 pts; Jeremy Van Horebeek, MXGP;11 pts. Julien Lieber, MX2
3, USA 33, 2 pts Ryan Dungey, MXGP; 3 pts Eli Tomac, Open; 11 pts Jeremy Martin, MX2
4, GBR 33, 3 pts Dean Wilson, Open; 4 pts Tommy Searle, MX2; 13 pts Shaun Simpson, MXGP
5, Germany 72, 3 pts Maximilian Nagl, MXGP; 14 pts Dennis Ullrich, Open; 28 pts Henry Jacobi, MX2
6, Italy 73
7, Switzerland 74
8, Russia 75
9, Estonia 77
10, The Netherlands 80
11, Sweden 92
12, Latvia 97
13, Portugal 99
14, Australia 108
Image courtesy KTM