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Dylan Ferrandis at the 2018 Motocross of Nations

A French corner of a muddy American field: MXoN dazzles in RedBud

Oct 082018

The world’s biggest, oldest and most famous one-day team motorsport race landed on American soil for the first time since 2010 and the 72nd edition of the Motocross of Nations bulged the fences at RedBud and the roars of 81,000 fans bounced off the low grey cloud in Michigan.

On a startling stage for the event and for the sport, one of the most iconic circuits in American motocross witnessed a ‘surprise’ result of champions Team France conquering the rest of the world for the fifth year in a row. Star Racing Yamaha’s Dylan Ferrandis was part of the victorious line-up that vanquished the ‘best of the best’ and through muddy and demanding conditions throughout the weekend. It was the talented Frenchman’s second gold medal after his debut for his country back in 2014.

“It is always an amazing experience,” he grinned. “I loved it in 2014 and this year also. I was expecting a win in the 250s with a top five in the open class but I did the job and showed that on Saturday: I was fastest in warm-up and won the qualifying race. I showed that the team can count on me and that's the most important thing. It was a great day to win five in a row and for the sixth time in history.”


The French made the story but the get-ups and zany zeal of the fans – many from across the Atlantic – was also part of the strong fabric of this fixture. There were sights, sounds and songs that conveyed all of the passion of the Nations: the mix of patriotism and love of a sport that makes motocross so avidly followed.

There were other memorable moments: the all-star fund-raising efforts of Team Puerto Rico, the superb performances by Team Great Britain’s Tommy Searle (4th in the first of three races until his bike developed a problem two laps from the flag) and Ben Watson (4th in the second moto on his very first Nations appearance). Hunter Lawrence’s ability to drag Australia into podium contention and the domination of the Dutch as the races were controlled by Jeffrey Herlings & Glenn Coldenhoff.

The home crowd were hungry for Team USA success and a first win since 2011 but the trio of Eli Tomac, Justin Barcia and Aaron Plessinger had neither the starts nor the pace to shutdown the European threat, and Italy and Holland filled the other podium spots.


“I want to say ‘no, I’m not surprised’,” Ferrandis said of the way the American threat was nullified. “I come from the GPs and I watch them every weekend. I know the level and what the guys can do. In America the tracks are awesome, good and fun and the guys in Europe - where the tracks are so difficult, sketchy and with so many different kind of conditions – I think they build better skills and we saw that today. I didn't win my 250 class today because the others were stronger than me. I’m not surprised. I knew all the teams in Europe would be better.”


Of course there is always a chance to reverse the situation. The MXoN will head back to the old continent next year and the epic setting of the TT Circuit Assen will no doubt be packed to the grandstand rafters for another chapter in this race’s long history.