Monster Energy Motocross of Nations: Weekend Preview

by Chris Leone // Website // Twitter
Images via Lucas Oil Pro Motocross

For the first time since 2010, the Monster Energy Motocross of Nations returns to the United States with this weekend’s event at the world-famous RedBud circuit in Michigan. This weekend’s event will see the sport’s top riders from around the world take on multiple races on the longtime Lucas Oil Pro Motocross host venue, with 30 challenging countries looking to keep the French squad from taking its fifth consecutive MXoN win.

The event features three classes: MXGP, MX2, and Open. After Saturday qualifiers and a Sunday morning B Final, each class competes twice, facing off with the other classes once each. Points are awarded on a reverse scoring system (the winner gets one point, second place gets two, and so forth). Each nation’s worst-scoring race is dropped, and the winner is determined by the remaining two scores.

American fans of the sport will recognize many of the top active riders in both Pro Motocross and Monster Energy Supercross on the entry list. Dylan Ferrandis will be the MX2 representative on the French squad, while Ken Roczen will helm the MXGP bike for Germany. The United States will look to bounce back from a disappointing ninth place performance in 2017, its lowest finish since 1975, with the combination of Eli Tomac in MXGP, Aaron Plessinger in MX2, and Justin Barcia in the Open class.

But they’re not the only big names on the entry list this weekend. Gautier Paulin returns to helm the MXGP bike for the French team, having led the last four MXoN championship-winning teams. This year’s MXGP champion, Jeffrey Herlings, will lead the representatives of the Netherlands, while 2017 champion Antonio Cairoli leads the Italian squad. And Team Puerto Rico is a blast from motocross’ past, as Kevin Windham (MXGP), Ryan Sipes (MX2), and Travis Pastrana (Open), led by coach Rick Johnson, climb onto their two-strokes as a way to raise money for Puetro Rican victims of Hurricane Maria last year.

Who will lead their country to victory is anyone’s guess. As consistent as the French team has been over the years, the omission of Marvin Musquin raised some eyebrows from American fans who saw the Red Bull KTM rider come into his own in 2018. Max Anstie return to the British team, after posting the top individual score in 2017 in a home event at Matterley Basin. And Herlings won all but three of the 20 rounds on this year’s MXGP calendar, including victories in every single moto since July 1.

But Tomac won more than half of the rounds in this year’s Supercross season before dominating Pro Motocross, and with dual 250SX and MX champion Plessinger and dual Ironman 450MX winner Barcia alongside him, the American squad should challenge for its record-extending 23rd MXoN win. A US victory would be the first since 2011, as Ryan Dungey, Blake Baggett, and Ryan Villopoto put a punctuation mark on a seven-year winning streak.

All three main event races from RedBud will air live on the CBS Sports Network. Race 1 features the MXGP and MX2 classes and will air at 1PM ET/10AM PT; Race 2 sees the Open class join the MX2 riders and airs at 2:30PM ET/11:30AM PT; and the final race combines the MXGP and Open classes at 4PM ET/1PM PT.

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