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Dylan Ferrandis at the 2018 Motocross of Nations
NEWS

MXoN 2019: Here we go again!

Sep 262019

The oldest closed-circuit motorcycle race in the world has been washed red, white and blue for the last five years but the stage for the 73rd Monster Energy Motocross of Nations could be splashed bright orange by 5pm this Sunday.

France have owned the last five editions of this prestigious annual team racing contest in Latvia, France, Italy, Great Britain and the USA but they face their toughest challenge yet with three-times runner-up Team Holland just waiting to create the ultimate spectacle in front of a baying home crowd at the historic TT Circuit Assen.

Circumstances could be the dictator. Assen, home of the Dutch Grand Prix since 2015, is a temporary motocross layout placed over the age-old asphalt and is constructed of fine sand that carves into a soft and bump-ridden terrain. It is a surface that locally-born athletes like Jeffrey Herlings (winner of the Dutch GP in 2017 and 2018) and Glenn Coldenhoff (Nations hero in 2018) can ride in their sleep. Sand is physical, technical and endlessly demanding. Although it can also sucker even the most accomplished of motocrosser into a time-consuming mistake.

 

Like any ‘Cup Final’ the ‘MXoN’ is a one-day, one-time ‘hit’ and where a dollop of good fortune comes to the fore. It traditionally involves the best-of-the-best with the three fastest racers selected by their countries to wear the special colours and liveries of their flag: at Assen there will be more than 30 nations fighting for spaces in the gate of the ‘A’ Final on Sunday and three motos (each rider competes twice) where the five best results count towards the final total. The lowest score gets to shine the Chamberlain trophy.

Former MXGP World Champion Romain Febvre, a first-time rider/winner in 2015 and originally a member of the ’19 French line-up until breaking his leg at the Grand Prix of Sweden last month, knows how overbearing the spotlight can be at the Nations. Not only does it draw the biggest worldwide media attendance of the year for the sport but also the largest crowd as a whole spectrum of fans from different countries flock together for some partisan partying.

 

“The first year for me was intense!” he recalls. “I could feel the pressure of the home crowd in 2015; there were many things to do, many interviews and obligations. Even when I was about to take the MXGP title at Assen that same year I didn't have the same amount of stress before the start. You feel the support from so many people but you also know – looking at the crowd – that if you make a mistake then they’ll want to kill you! There are a lot of people. So many. We know the Nations is so special and that it is so unique with the classes mixed together. We also know that anything can happen…”

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