Smarty’s Motocross of Nations Preview

126 riders making up 38 teams have entered the 2016 Motocross of Nations being held at the famous Maggiora Park circuit in Italy over the weekend of the 24th and 25th of  September and as you would expect, the most anticipated motocross event in the world is set to be a dead-set cracker!

MXGP 2016 Americas - Charlotte
MXGP 2016 Americas – Charlotte

The Motocross Of Nations is an event like no other and every year since 1947 over 100 riders from all over the world meet at one venue to represent their country and see which nation is the best in the motocross world but here is the kicker, in 2016 the host team of Italy with Antonio Cairoli as captain has absolutely no chance of being the champions and it is likewise for Germany with Max Nagl and Slovenia with Tim Gajser. One great rider does not make a winning team so which teams do have a chance of standing on top of the podium when all three motos are completed?

Before we go much further here is the way the MXoN points are calculated
  • First place in each class equals 1 point, second equals 2 points and third equals 3 points and so on.
  • It is the team with the LEAST amount of points that wins.
  • There are three 35 Minute motos – Moto1: MXGP & MX2. Moto 2: MX2 & Open. Moto 3: MXGP & Open.
  • Each team has three riders riding two motos which equals six points scoring rides.
  • Each team dumps their worst results with the final points calculated from the best five rides.
And let’s look at each class and who the contenders are
MXGP

The MXGP class is filled with the team leaders and potentially the best rider on each team but when push comes to shove there are really only five riders who have what it takes to win a moto or the class this year and they are 2015 MXGP Champion Romain Febvre (France), multi AMA Supercross and Motocross Champion Cooper Webb (USA), multi World Motocross Champion (and local hero) Antonio Cairoli (Italy), 2015 MX2 World Champion and 2016 MXGP World Champion Tim Gajser (Slovenia) and multi GP winner Max Nagl (Germany) while Kevin Strijbos (Belgium), Glenn Coldenhoff (Netherlands), Tommy Searle (Great Britain), Valentin Guillod (Switzerland), Todd Waters (Australia), Cody Cooper (New Zealand) and Kaven Benoit (Canada) will be battling hard to keep themselves as close to the leading pack as possible.

MXGP 2016 Americas - Charlotte - Cooper Webb
MXGP 2016 Americas – Charlotte – Cooper Webb

OPEN: The big interest in the open class is three time MX2 World Champion Jeffrey Herlings on the KTM450SX-F and many would have you believe that the young Dutch star has the measure of his fellow riders in this class but multi GP winner Gautier Paulin (France) is a proven MXoN moto, class and championship winner while Jason Anderson (USA), Clement Desalle (Belgium), Shaun Simpson (Great Britain), Evgeny Bobryshev (Russia) and Dean Ferris (Australia) all have the speed and determination to be at the pointy end of this field.

MXGP 2016 Americas - Charlotte - Jeffrey Herlings
MXGP 2016 Americas – Charlotte – Jeffrey Herlings

Hamish Harwood (New Zealand), Tanel Leok (Estonia), Arnaud Tonus (Switzerland) and Tyler Medaglia (Canada) will be the best of the rest and will play a key role in their teams overall placing on the day.

MX2

Even though the MX2 class looks stacked there is only a handful of riders who can win this class and they are 2016 Vice World MX2 Champion Jeremy Seewer (Switzerland), AMA Motocross Championship number two Alex Martin (USA) and multi GP winners in Max Anstie (Great Britain) and Jeremy Van Horebeek (Belgium) while the likes of Benoit Paturel (France), Brian Bogers (Netherlands), Jed Beaton (Australia), Josiah Natzke (New Zealand), Shawn Maffenbeier (Canada), Harri Kullas (Estonia), Henri Jacobi (Germany) and Vsevolod Brylyakov (Russia) will all be battling hard throughout their two motos to finish as close the front as possible.

MXGP 2016 Switzerland Josiah Natzke
MXGP 2016 Switzerland Josiah Natzke

Just as a point of interest, the last time Maggiora hosted a round of the World Motocross Championships was in 2015 and it was Romain Febvre who won the overall in the MXGP class ahead of Kevin Strijbos and …. Wait for it …. Todd Waters!! For what it’s worth Tim Gajser won the MX2 overall from Herlings and Seewer.

So, who will win the 2016 Motocross of Nations?

Putting luck (good and bad) aside, winning the MXoN comes down to the team who is strongest across all three classes and for mind if Cooper Webb (MXGP), Jason Anderson (Open) and Alex Martin (MX2) ride to their full potential without crashes or mechanical failures Team USA will win the 2016 Motocross of Nations – even if it is by the slimmest of margins. And let’s not forget, in the last 31 years Team USA have won the event 22 times under the on-going guidance and management of Roger DeCoster.

My thinking is that in the form he is in right now you can put Webb down for two top three rides so for the exercise let’s put him down for six points in the MXGP class while Anderson in the Open class is also a top three runner so again, let’s put him down for six points and that leaves Alex Martin to put in one podium ride in the MX2 class (A-Mart is more than capable of that) which will see Team USA end up on 15 points – is that enough to win? Read On!   

Team France has won the last two MXoN BUT their down fall this year could well be Benoit Paturel who at the time of writing is sitting third in the MX2 World Motocross Championship and will be participating in his first MXoN. I am buggered if I know why they didn’t pick Marvin Musquin to ride the MX2 class (perhaps MM didn’t want to go back to the smaller bike?) because if you put Musquin beside Romain Febvre and Gautier Paulin (like last year) and it is three in a row for France on a track like Maggiora!

The Paturel, Febvre and Paulin combination is still a strong team but can they get below 15 points to win the title? Well, they scored 14 points to win the 2015 MXoN and 17 points to win the 2014 MXoN so it is touch and go whether Team France has a sub 15 point performance in them for 2016.

The Netherlands has a good chance of winning if Herlings can score two moto wins (as he expects to do) and Glenn Coldenhoff can garner two top five rides and from there they need their MX2 rider in Brian Bogers to have the ride of his life and get at least one podium in the MX2 class. Not inconceivable as Bogers scored two third places for second overall at the GP of The Netherlands recently so if Herlings goes 1-1, Coldenhoff goes 5-5 plus a third from Bogers that is also 15 points. 

Team Great Britain have won the event 15 times and this year the Poms have Tommy Searle, Max Anstie and Shaun Simpson on deck with Anstie and Simpson both capable of podium finishes and could well jag a moto win in the their respective classes so Team GB will definitely have a chance if Searle can step up to the plate and score one top five finish in either of his motos.

Team Belgium has always been strong at the MXoN and with recent GP winner Clement Desalle being backed up by the experienced duo of Jeremy van Horebeek and Kevin Strijbos, Belgium could well be in contention if all three riders fire on the day. Add the fact that all three of these riders have won the MXoN in the past you have to put them in the mix.

So you can see, the fight for the win could well come down to the team that can get to the score of 15 points or less and all teams mentioned above could well do that if everything falls into place on the day so let’s take a look at the winners from the last 10 Years and how many points they scored to achieve that goal:

  • 2006 – USA: 15 Points – James Stewart, Ivan Tedesco, Ryan Villopoto (No wins on the day)
  • 2007 – USA: 8 Points – Ricky Carmichael, Villopoto, Tim Ferry (RC two moto wins and RV one moto win)
  • 2008 – USA: 26 Points – Stewart, Villopoto, Ferry (Stewart one moto win, RV one moto win)
  • 2009 – USA: 22 Points – Ryan Dungey, Ivan Tedesco, Jake Weimer (Dungey one moto win)
  • 2010 – USA: 23 Points – Dungey, Andrew Short, Try Canard (Dungey two moto wins)
  • 2011 – USA: 26 Points – Dungey, Villopoto, Blake Baggett (RV two moto wins)
  • 2012 – Germany: 25 Points – Max Nagl, Ken Roczen, Marcus Schiffer (No wins on the day)
  • 2013 – Belgium: 27 Points – Ken DeDycker, Jeremy Van Horebeek, Clement Desalle (No wins on the day)
  • 2014 – France: 17 Points – Dylan Ferrandis, Gautier Paulin, Steven Frossard (Paulin two moto wins)
  • 2015 – France: 14 Points – Romain Febvre, Paulin, Marvin Musquin (Febvre two moto wins)

You can see that the 15 points mentioned above will win the MXoN more often than not but there is something about this event that creates high drama and it usually comes down to an outstanding individual performance from at least one of the winning team riders.

So, what about Australia? Well, here are our results over the last ten years:

  • 2006 – 11th – 102 Points: Brett Metcalfe, Cheyne Boyd, Dan Reardon – (Best Finish: Boyd 18th in Moto 3)
  • 2007 – 20th – 79 Points: Chad Reed, Michael Byrne, Andrew McFarlane – (Sharky DNS – Reed 2nd in Moto 1)
  • 2008 – 6th – 55 Points: Metcalfe, Reed, Byrne – (Best Finish: Reed/Byrne 8th in Motos 2 & 3)
  • 2009 – 7th – 73 Points: Metcalfe, Reed, Byrne – (Best Finish: Reed 2nd in Moto 1)
  • 2010 – 6th – 54 Points: Metcalfe, Dean Ferris, Jay Marmont – (Best Finish: Metcalfe 3rd in Moto 1)
  • 2011 – 3rd – 44 Points: Reed, Metcalfe, Matt Moss – (Best Finish: Reed 1st in Moto 1)
  • 2012 – 10th – 83 Points: Todd Waters, Lawson Bopping, Luke Styke – (Best Finish: Waters 8th in Moto 2)
  • 2013 – 4th – 40 Points – Waters, Ferris, Metcalfe – (Best Finish: Ferris 4th in Moto 1)
  • 2014 – 14th – 108 Points – Reed, Moss, Luke Clout – (Best Finish: Reed 14th in Moto 1)
  • 2015 – 7th – 77 Points – Waters, Ferris, Clout – (Best Finish: Waters 12th in Moto 3)

For the sake of easy maths let’s say that Dean Ferris, Todd Waters and Jed Beaton all earn 8th in class in each of their motos – that is 6 x 8 which equals 48 points, drop one moto as is mandatory and Team Australia finishes the day on 40 points.

Over the last ten years 40 points would have put any team third overall four times (44 points did it for Team Australia in 2011), fourth overall five times and fifth once so what does Team Australia need to do to get on the podium?

  • Dean Ferris to come close to emulating his MXoN performance of 2013 (4-5 for 9 Points).
  • Todd Waters to come close to repeating the performance that earned him a MXGP podium at Maggiora in 2015.
  • Jed Beaton to get his Yamaha home in the top ten in at least one of his motos.

Finally, the circuit: 30 years ago Maggiora hosted the Motocross Des Nations and the ‘Dream Team’ of Johnny O’Mara (125), Ricky Johnson (250) and David Bailey (500) completely dominated all three races on the wide, undulating, jump infested circuit. In fact, O’Mara beat the best 250cc and 500cc riders in the world on his production based CR125 on the day but Maggiora has changed quite a bit since 1986 but it still features steep hills, long floating jumps with a plethora of switch back turns with plenty of passing opportunities so a poor start will not be a complete disaster if the rider is chasing a top ten in his class.

Smarty’s Prediction? So all that aside, it is Team USA for a narrow win ahead of The Netherlands, France, Belgium, England and I will cross my fingers for Australia to be in the mix when the chequered flag drops for the final moto, nothing would make me happier for Team Australia to prove me wrong and bring home a podium finish. Good luck to all 126 riders.

Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations Official Teams
COUNTRY Nr RIDER CLASS FMN BIKE TEAM MANAGER
1 FRANCE 1 FEBVRE Romain MXGP FFM YAMAHA FINOT Pascal
2 PATUREL Benoit MX2 FFM YAMAHA
3 PAULIN Gautier OPEN FFM HONDA
2 UNITED STATES 4 WEBB Cooper MXGP AMA YAMAHA DE COSTER Roger
5 MARTIN Alex MX2 AMA YAMAHA
6 ANDERSON Jason OPEN AMA HUSQVARNA
3 BELGIUM 7 STRIJBOS Kevin MXGP FMB SUZUKI SMETS Joel
8 VAN HOREBEEK Jeremy MX2 FMB YAMAHA
9 DESALLE Clement OPEN FMB KAWASAKI
4 ESTONIA 10 RÄTSEP Priit MXGP EMF HONDA ROOSIORG Lauri
11 KULLAS Harri MX2 EMF KTM
12 LEOK Tanel OPEN EMF KTM
5 SWITZERLAND 13 GUILLOD Valentin MXGP FMS YAMAHA CLEMENT Diego
14 SEEWER Jeremy MX2 FMS SUZUKI
15 TONUS Arnaud OPEN AMA KAWASAKI
6 NETHERLANDS 16 COLDENHOFF Glenn MXGP KNMV KTM HARTMAN Marcel
17 BOGERS Brian MX2 KNMV KTM
18 HERLINGS Jeffrey OPEN KNMV KTM
7 AUSTRALIA 19 GIBBS Kirk MXGP MA KTM BENN Garry
20 BEATON Jed MX2 MA YAMAHA
21 FERRIS Dean OPEN MA YAMAHA
8 NEW ZEALAND 22 COOPER Cody MXGP MNZ HONDA WEAL Bevan
23 NATZKE Josiah MX2 FMB KTM
24 HARWOOD Hamish OPEN MNZ KTM
9 GERMANY 25 NAGL Maximilian MXGP DMSB HUSQVARNA THOMAS Wolfgang
26 JACOBI Henry MX2 DMSB HONDA
27 ULLRICH Dennis OPEN DMSB KTM
10 AUSTRIA 28 NEURAUTER Lukas MXGP OeAMTC-OSK KTM RESCHENEDER Michael
29 SANDNER Michael MX2 OeAMTC-OSK KTM
30 RAUCHENECKER Pascal OPEN OeAMTC-OSK HUSQVARNA
11 SPAIN 31 BUTRON Jose Antonio MXGP RFME KTM ALONSO Josep
32 LARRAÑAGA Iker MX2 RFME KTM
33 ZARAGOZA Jorge OPEN RFME HONDA
12 RUSSIA 34 TONKOV Aleksandr MXGP MFR YAMAHA TONKOV Vitaly
35 BRYLYAKOV Vsevolod MX2 MFR KAWASAKI
36 BOBRYSHEV Evgeny OPEN MFR HONDA
13 SWEDEN 37 JÖNSSON Jesper MXGP SVEMO HUSQVARNA ENGDAHL Jonte
38 ÖSTLUND Alvin MX2 SVEMO YAMAHA
39 NOREN Fredrik OPEN SVEMO HONDA
14 ITALY 40 CAIROLI Antonio MXGP FMI KTM TRAVERSINI Thomas
41 BERNARDINI Samuele MX2 FMI TM
42 CERVELLIN Michele OPEN FMI HONDA
15 DENMARK 43 LARSEN Nikolaj MXGP DMU KTM CAPRANI Mikkel
44 OLSEN Thomas MX2 DMU HUSQVARNA
45 MEIER Glen OPEN DMU KTM
16 PORTUGAL 46 GONÇALVES Rui MXGP FMP HUSQVARNA ROSS Riley
47 BASAULA Hugo MX2 FMP KAWASAKI
48 ALBERTO Paulo OPEN FMP HONDA
17 IRELAND 49 IRWIN Graeme MXGP MCUI HONDA McCULLOUGH Philip
50 BARR Martin MX2 MCUI HONDA
51 EDMONDS Stuart OPEN MCUI TM
18 GREAT BRITAIN 52 SEARLE Tommy MXGP ACU KAWASAKI PRINCE Neil
53 ANSTIE Max MX2 ACU HUSQVARNA
54 SIMPSON Shaun OPEN ACU KTM
19 LATVIA 55 IVANOV Davis MXGP LaMSF YAMAHA LAZDOVSKIS Martins
56 SABULIS Karlis MX2 LaMSF YAMAHA
57 JUSTS Roberts OPEN LaMSF KTM
20 JAPAN 58 NARITA Akira MXGP MFJ HONDA SERIZAWA Masaki
59 NOTSUKA Chihiro MX2 MFJ HONDA
60 YAMAMOTO Kei OPEN MFJ HONDA
21 SLOVENIA 61 GAJSER Tim MXGP AMZS HONDA GAJSER Bogomir
62 PANCAR Jan MX2 AMZS YAMAHA
63 IRT Jernej OPEN AMZS YAMAHA
22 CZECH REPUBLIC 64 ROMANCIK Jaromir MXGP ACCR SUZUKI CEPELAK Jiri
65 NEUGEBAUER Filip MX2 DMSB KAWASAKI
66 SMITKA Petr OPEN ACCR KTM
23 POLAND 70 WYSOCKI Tomasz MXGP PZM KTM STYPA Dariusz
71 STASZKIEWICZ Szymon MX2 PZM KTM
72 CHETNICKI Gabriel OPEN PZM KTM
24 LITHUANIA 73 BUCAS Vytautas MXGP LMSF YAMAHA BENEDIKTAVICIUS Robertas
74 KARKA Dovydas MX2 LMSF KTM
75 JASIKONIS Arminas OPEN LMSF SUZUKI
25 SLOVAKIA 76 ŠIMKO Tomáš MXGP SMF HONDA PREDANOCY Dušan
77 ŠIKYŇA Richard MX2 SMF KTM
78 KOHÚT Tomáš OPEN SMF KTM
26 BRAZIL 79 DOS SANTOS Fabio Aparecido MXGP CBM YAMAHA HERMANO Manuel Carlos
80 ALVES Ramyller MX2 CBM YAMAHA
81 RAMOS Jean Carlo OPEN CBM YAMAHA
27 FINLAND 82 MALIN Valtteri MXGP SML KTM VEHVILÄINEN Jussi
83 SIHVONEN Miro MX2 SML KTM
84 SAVASTE Kim OPEN SML KAWASAKI
28 CROATIA 88 KARAS Hrvoje MXGP HMS YAMAHA BOZIC Danijel
89 CRNKOVIC Luka MX2 HMS YAMAHA
90 KELAVA Matija OPEN HMS KTM
29 GREECE 94 KONTOLETAS Dimitrios MXGP AMOTOE YAMAHA KOUZIS Dimitrios
95 KRITIKOS Emmanouil MX2 AMOTOE YAMAHA
96 KOUZIS Panagiotis OPEN AMOTOE HONDA
30 PUERTO RICO 97 ASTUDILLO Jason MXGP FMPR CATALA Gabriel
98 APONTE Gino MX2 FMPR
99 McCONAHY Noah OPEN FMPR
31 LUXEMBOURG 100 TABOURAING Eric MXGP MUL KAWASAKI  TURK Michel
101 FRANK Yves MX2 MUL HONDA
102 FRANK Björn OPEN MUL HONDA
32 ISRAEL 106 KARMI Ziv MXGP MEMSI HEYMANN Raz
107 MAYA Dan MX2 MEMSI
108 HASSON Oren OPEN MEMSI
33 SOUTH AFRICA 109 FITZ-GERALD Kerim MXGP MSA KTM DEN Geoff
110 ADAMS Nicholas MX2 MSA HONDA
111 DOCHERTY Michael OPEN MSA KAWASAKI
34 CANADA 112 BENOIT Kaven MXGP CMA KTM Lloyd KOURTNEY
113 MAFFENBEIER Shawn MX2 CMA KTM
114 MEDAGLIA Tyler OPEN CMA KTM
35 HUNGARY 115 HUGYECZ Erik MXGP MAMS KTM Robert NAGY
116 SZVOBODA Bence MX2 MAMS KTM
117 SZOKE Márk OPEN MAMS SUZUKI
36 ICELAND 118 BIRGISSON Ingvi Bjorn MXGP MSI KTM GUNNLAUGSSON Karl
119 TEYNISSON Eythor MX2 MSI KAWASAKI
120 GUDMUNDSSON Andri OPEN NMF KTM
37 THAILAND 121 ROMPHAN Chaiyan MXGP FMSCT YAMAHA POSTEMA Jan
122 BOONTAENG Traiphop MX2 FMSCT KTM
123 POTATON Krisada OPEN FMSCT KAWASAKI
38 SAN MARINO 124 MARINI Thomas MXGP FSM HUSQVARNA Danilo MARASCA
125 GORINI Andrea MX2 FSM SUZUKI
126 TOCCACELI Bryan OPEN FSM YAMAHA