Trending topics to keep in mind ahead of this weekend's event.
This weekend will see the biggest event of the year – the Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations (MXoN) – take place at Matterley Basin in Great Britain. As per usual, there are several riders, teams and headlines to look for, so MotoOnline.com.au has listed a selection that are worth keeping an eye this Sunday in our latest Top 10 feature.
1. Gibbs gets his chance:
After claiming the MX Nationals title in 2015, KTM Motocross Racing Team’s Kirk Gibbs was a favourite to represent Australia, however he denied the opportunity in favour of our already experienced internationals. Moving forward a year later, the South Australian was finally granted a position on the team, although this time a leg injury while training for supercross saw him sidelined for the event. This year’s edition will mark Gibbs’ first appearance at the MXoN, much to the delight of Aussie race fans.
2. Arrival of Lawrence:
The youthful MX2 World Championship contender Hunter Lawrence has come off a highly-impressive rookie campaign, which saw him claim a number of podiums in the hotly-contested category. His finishes have put him on the radar worldwide, and a strong result at Matterley Basin could solidify him as one of the hottest emerging prospects in the sport at the moment.
3. The home team advantage:
There’s always an advantage of racing on home soil, not only from a familiarity standpoint, but also the support on hand. The 2006 Matterley Basin MXoN attracted a huge crowd and if that’s anything to go by, the British team of Dean Wilson (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing), Tommy Searle (Monster Energy Kawasaki Factory Racing) and Max Anstie (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing) will have plenty of motivation to claim the Chamberlain Trophy and thousands of fans cheer them on.
4. USA’s ‘B-team’:
There’s no questioning that Team USA isn’t full of its number one choices, aside from Pro Motocross 250MX champion Zach Osborne (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing), but that doesn’t mean they won’t be a threat. Cole Seely (Honda HRC) will definitely have to draw upon all of his experience as he steps up to the plate, while Thomas Covington (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing) – an MX2 World Championship regular – will jump to the bigger bike in an effort to assist the USA squad to a podium finish.
5. World class Ferris:
If there’s one event to rise on an international level, it’s the MXoN. In recent years, Dean Ferris (CDR Yamaha) has done just that with a number of highly-impressive results at the prestigious event. He has an abundance of international experience, plus he’s coming off a dominant series here in Australia, so he’ll be in red-hot form come this weekend.
6. French favourites:
Team France has captured the Chamberlains Trophy for the past three years, stamping its dominance on the world stage. Can they make it four in a row? It’s certainly possible, despite the winning team losing a couple of its top riders to injury. Still, the replacement of Christophe Charlier (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing) is a respectable candidate alongside Gautier Paulin (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing) and Romain Febvre (Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing).
7. Team Australia’s chances:
Australia is entering with an incredibly strong side consisting of Ferris, Lawrence and Gibbs, and 2017 is probably the best shot at a podium the country has had in recent years. There are many countries not bringing their ‘A-teams’, and this will definitely play into the favour of the Aussies, as we have our best riders participating.
8. World champion ambition:
Fresh off a dominant ninth-world title victory, Antonio Cairoli (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) will be looking to take Team Italy to the podium. Last year they were fifth, and to be honest, it’s going to be tough for them to improve on that with Michele Cervellin (Honda HRC MX2) and Allesandro Lupino (Honda), but definitely possible for them to move higher in the standings.
9. In-form Herlings:
Jeffrey Herlings’ (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) dominant form at the end of the MXGP World Championship spells good signs for the Dutch squad consisting of Glenn Coldenhoff (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and Brian Bogers (KTM). Last year The Netherlands fell shy of the top spot by one point and if Herlings can continue his dominance, there’s a good chance they’ll go one better.
10. The long game:
MXoN is never over until it’s over – every position and every lap all the way until the final one of the weekend counts for everyone. Each team also drops its worst score, so a crash, mechanical or poor performance doesn’t mean the weekend is over. The MXoN has served up some interesting results in recent years, and we expect this year’s to be no different.