To the European fans, American win
streaks are worse than no American
team at all. So, they began to root
against us, even if it meant cheering
on an Italian, Belgian or Frenchman
that they hated a week earlier.
The idea that the Motocross des
Nations is made up of the 40 best
motocross riders in the world on
the track at the same time is very
appealing, but it is not true. Each
team is made up of the three best
riders from that country. That is a
great idea if the country in question
is France, Belgium, Germany or the
USA, but it loses some of its cachet
when the countries are Estonia,
Lithuania and Croatia. What should
be considered epic racing is diluted by the fact that the three best
Belgians are racing against the
three best Greeks—and the lap-time
difference between them is a
staggering 30 seconds, which means
that in a 17-lap moto, the Greeks
would be lapped four times.
And even though the Greek,
Mongolian, Israeli and other slow
teams are weeded out before the
finals, some slugs still make the field.
Thus, the starting gate at the MXDN
doesn’t have the 40 best
riders in the world—it has 15 of the
best riders in the world, 15 riders
who are decent journeymen and 10
riders who wouldn’t win a local race.
Many of the fastest riders in the
world are sitting at home while guys
they could easily beat are racing.
Tony Cairoli was the
standout star of the
2013 Motocross des
Nations. Tony won
both of his motos
with ease. Team
Italy, however, lost.