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Monster Energy Power Trio to Lead Team USA at MXoN

Aug 132018

Every fall the motocross world comes together for the sport’s single-biggest spectacle – the Monster Energy Motocross of Nations. Affectionately known as the “Olympics of Motocross” this global showcase of the most talented riders on the planet provides the lone opportunity for the best of the U.S. and the best of Europe to go bar-to-bar in a battle of supremacy. While the head-to-head battle to determine the proverbial “fastest man on the planet” is always a major storyline at the MXoN, nothing is more important than the bragging rights that come with being the winning country, and taking home the coveted Chamberlain Trophy.

In recent years, the United States has struggled to maintain the dominance it has enjoyed for the majority of the 70-plus years the Monster Energy Motocross of Nations has been in existence. While the U.S. didn’t even win at the event for the first time until 1981, it has gone on to capture the Chamberlain Trophy 22 times over the past 37 years to establish itself as the most successful country in MXoN history. However, Team USA is in the midst of its longest drought, which currently sits a six years. The tides of the motocross world may have shifted into the Europeans favor, but all that is poised to change this October.

For just the fourth time in more than seven decades the Monster Energy Motocross of Nations will be hosted on U.S. soil, with legendary RedBud MX adding to the legacy of Unadilla MX, Budds Creek MX Park, and Thunder Valley MX Park before it.  There may not be a more beloved track in the country than RedBud, and on October 6-7 tens of thousands of fans from around the world will converge on the small town of Buchanan, Michigan.

To make sure the rare visit of the Monster Energy Motocross of Nations to the U.S. is memorable, the American Motorcyclist Association has selected arguably the most formidable Team USA lineup in recent memory. At this past weekend’s Unadilla National, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac, Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing’s Justin Barcia, and Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha’s Aaron Plessinger were officially announced as the riders who will lead the U.S. into battle at RedBud. This trio of Monster Energy athletes have convincingly been the most successful American riders this summer, giving plenty of reason to be optimistic about their chances of ending this recent drought.

Eli Tomac – MXGP

As the reigning AMA Pro Motocross 450 Class Champion one could argue that Tomac is the most prolific rider on the planet. He’s won half of the outdoor races he’s entered the past two seasons, capturing 11 victories, and is inching closer to a successful title defense in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. He also has recent experience going against his MXGP counterparts by racing in each of the past three GP rounds on American soil, where he took two out of three wins and emerged victorious in all but one moto. 

In addition to that, Tomac’s Monster Energy Motocross of Nations résumé is also solid. He’s been a part of Team USA on two previous occasions, riding in the MX2 division in 2013, followed by a spot in the Open division in 2014. In each of those attempts he was one of the highlights of the event in the way he attacked the track and aggressively battled every one of his competitors. 

Tomac’s competitive spirit is off the charts, and that has been further showcased this summer with some truly exceptional rides. He is as battled tested as they come, and he’s the perfect choice to serve as Team Captain of the U.S. squad in the premier division. While he’ll no doubt want to take home the individual award as the best rider at the Monster Energy Motocross of Nations, he understands the big picture and how important it is to put Team USA back on top.

 

 

Aaron Plessinger – MX2

While he might be the fresh face of the Team USA lineup heading to RedBud, don’t expect Plessinger to get caught up in the moment. There may not be a rider more fun-loving and laid back than this second-generation racer, who is enjoying a breakout season. Plessinger has had every excuse to fold under pressure this season, whether it’s Monster Energy Supercross or Lucas Oil Pro Motocross. However, every step of the way the rising star has rose to the occasion and appears well on his way to securing the championship double in supercross and motocross.

If anything, this year’s Monster Energy Motocross of Nations is set up to bring the best out of Plessinger. He has a pair of stud teammates with a wealth of experience at the event, and he gets to make his MXoN debut on U.S. soil, in front of what is sure to be a raucous sea of red, white, and blue faithful. This is the moment Plessinger has dreamed of, and it’s hard to imagine him doing anything but his absolute best.

And don’t forget, Plessinger already laid waste to the 250 Class field at RedBud in July, easily going 1-1. He knows the track and he’s destined to feed off the energy of the atmosphere. He might be new to all of this, but Plessinger could end up being the biggest wild card in the entire MX2 field. 

 

 

Justin Barcia – Open 

To think of where Barcia started his 2018 season, as a privateer, is nothing short of incredible. Over the course of the past eight months he’s gone from being on the outside looking in, to being arguably the most successful Yamaha rider in the world this season. When the veteran took the fill-in role at Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing just before the start of the Monster Energy Supercross season, no one could have anticipated that he’d turn it into a full-fledged contract and a spot on Team USA. But it just goes to show how far a rider can go when he bets on himself and races with a bit of a chip on his shoulder. Barcia was motivated to return to the level that made him one of the sport’s most promising young stars, and he’s gone well beyond giving Yamaha a return on its investment.

On top of all of Barcia’s success this season, including five podium finishes and a current standing of third in the Pro Motocross Championship, he’s the most experienced Monster Energy Motocross of Nations rider on Team USA. The New York native has been a member of the American squad three times – in 2012, 2013, and 2015 – and like his teammate Tomac, has been known to leave it all on the track. In fact, Barcia has won the individual title in both the MXGP and Open divisions, and given how his 2018 season has been, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him continue that trend.

With Tomac positioned to set the tone for the team, and Plessinger looking to make a splash his first time out, Barcia steps in to serve the role of the reliable veteran. He’s a virtual lock to get good starts, and he’s certainly going to be consistent. Ultimately, Barcia rounds out the team as its anchor, and his performance could be the deciding factor in whether or not the Chamberlain Trophy returns to U.S. soil.

In each of the three previous Monster Energy Motocross of Nations visits to the United States, Team USA has prevailed with the win. Given the group that’s been handpicked to represent the stars and stripes at RedBud, that undefeated record has a very good chance at staying intact.

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