America’s return to the top of the podium could not have been better, as the 75th edition of Motocross of Nations was one of the most competitive in recent years. With Red Bud returning to the track, the spirit of “USA vs Europe” was more alive than ever, incidentally under the same weather conditions as in 2018, although this time with a different ending than last time. Eli Tomac, Justin Cooper and Chase Sexton achieved the target after an 11-year drought. The podium was completed by a fast line-up of France and Australia, while the glut of pace put in by Jago Geerts (Belgium) and Jeremy Siever (Switzerland) was enough to make them stand out individually due to the vagaries of their teammates.
Italy and Belgium completed the top 5, without making too much noise, but with consistent results.
Meanwhile, Spain finished a stellar sixth after two solid races by Jorge Prado and Rubén Fernández. Unfortunately luck was not in the favor of Guillaume Fares, who suffered two accidents, one when he was ninth during the first race and again at the start of the second race. These inconveniences debarred him from fighting for better positions as he did during the qualifying rounds.
Saturday’s qualifying heat saw Jago Geerts, Justin Cooper and Dylan Fernandes shine individually as they won their respective classes. However, the pole went to the United States, which got off to a good start 2-1-2 with France and Australia as escorts, while the Spanish Navy were elated to qualify for fourth place.
Sunday was a completely different day than what was seen in qualifying after being hit by heavy rain, leading to some brutal conditions. Such a situation raised questions about the bias of the United States after what happened in 2018 and countries such as the Netherlands and Belgium emerged as strong threats. However, in the first race (MXGP + MX2) Eli Tomac was able to clear all those doubts after a resounding victory over Jago Geerts and Maxime Renox. Mitch Evans and Jeremy Seaver rounded out the top 5, followed by Prado and Caroli, while the top 10 was rounded out by MX2 riders Hunter Lawrence, Justin Cooper and Kay de Wolf, who provided a boon to their teammates.
Tomac’s victory, combined with Justin Cooper’s ninth, placed the United States over Australia and Belgium as provisional leaders. Spain started in the eighth box after Prado and Fares 6–25 respectively.
The second heat (OPEN + MX2) was filled with battles and events that favored the United States. Jett Lawrence was the winner after an intense duel against Chase Sexton and Mattia Guadagnini, while Dylan Fernandes had to advance from the last position due to a crash at the start, finishing an impressive sixth behind Rubén Fernandez. Justin Cooper sealed his performance as the top MX2 rider by finishing fourth, giving Tomac and Sexton a comfortable point for the lead in the third and final race.
The last Moto was made up of MXGP and OPEN divisions. Fernandes and Renox took the lead on Sexton, while Eli Tomac started outside the top 10. The French were against the Americans, but the pressure later stopped due to a crash by Ferrandis.
Australia’s chances were also lost due to a poor start from Mitch Evans, who dropped them to the bottom and eventually finished 28th.
Renox quickly took the lead to catch Jet Lawrence, while Sexton rode wisely in third and Tomac climbed into sixth without too much risk. In the end Renox passed the checkered flag in first place, but the overall victory remained in the hands of the United States. Jorge Prado and Ruben Fernandez, on the other hand, finished seventh and eighth, saving the sixth overall spot.
First heat: MXGP + MX2
Second Sleeve: Open + MX2
Third Sleeve: MXGP+ Open