2017 Motocross of Nations – Preview and Predictions
Yep it’s upon us! This weekend for the first time in 11 years the cream of the Motocross World will be coming to the UK and representing their country as they fight for the coveted Chamberlain Trophy and the right to be crowned Motocross of Nations winners 2017.
Image Courtesy of Dave Rich
The event is in it’s 71st staging and with 40 Nations taking part from far and wide and with the much talked about battle of Europe versus America about to be resumed, the eyes of the MX world will be bearing down on Britain this weekend, and the fantastic valley circuit of Mattereley Basin near Winchester. Promoter Steve Dixon and his team have been working flat out on a newly revamped circuit with early opinion being hugely positive. Matterley is no stranger to hosting the Motocross of Nations having done so in 2006 in a much revered event due to the fantastic atmosphere created by the British fans, and we reckon there is going to be more of the same this weekend, with expectations high for a Team GB win. Being in a valley spectators do get to see a good part of thee track from pretty much wherever they are viewing, and with an abundance of trade stands and catering on hand you will have everything you need to make it a great one.
The Full weekend schedule is:
Friday: MXGP Awards 14:00; MXoN Teams Presentation 18:00
Saturday: Free Practice YZ125 bLU cRU 08:30; Free Practice MXGP 10:00; Free practice MX2 11:00; Free Practice Open 12:00; Time Practice YZ125 bLU cRU 12:50; Qualifying Heat MXGP 13:30; Qualifying Heat MX2 14:30; Qualifying Heat Open 15:30; Race 1 YZ125 bLU cRU 16:00; C-Final 17:00.
Sunday: Warm-up B-Final 8:30; Race 2 YZ125 bLU cRU 09:20; Warm-up MXoN Group 1 9:50; Warm-up MXoN Group 2 10:20; B-Final 11:00; MXoN Race 1 (MXGP+MX2) 13:10; MXoN Race 2 (MX2+Open) 14:40; MXoN Race 3 (Open+MXGP) 16:08
To get yourself in on the act you can book tickets here: https://greatbritain.motocross-tickets.com/2943-great-britain-motocross-tickets/en/
The venue is near Winchester with the event postcode being SO21 1HW but there is always plenty of signposting. Be prepared for a bit of a walk, as where you park could be a bit of a way from the track. But it will be worth it.
The Teams and our predictions..
Every man and his flea ridden dog has been making predictions for this weekend’s event so we thought we would throw our bobble hat in the ring and have a go ourselves!
The reigning champion’s France who won last year by a solitary point are always going to be big contenders, although injuries to Dylan Ferrandis and Benoit Paturel have weakened them somewhat and their replacement (if he is fit after crashing at Hawkstone in the Enduro GP last week) Christophe Charlier hasn’t seen regular GP action. Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Gautier Paulin will be a top 6 racer and Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP’s Romain Febvre has been in good form in the later rounds of MXGP so he will be a front runner.
Prediction: There’s question marks over Charlier for me.. maybe not champs this year but definite top 3 finishers
It’s the age old battle who are the best in the World at Motocross, the Americans or the Europeans??
Team USA have a different look about them this year, and essentially the top two American AMA racers Eli Tomac and Blake Baggatt are not on show. Cole Sealey has the pace when he makes a start and will certainly be towards the front end of the field, whilst their 250 champ Zac Osbourne is no stranger to the UK and will probably be one of the best quarter litres on show. Their third pick racer Thomas Covington has been plying his trade in Europe so he knows the score and he has put inconsistency behind him in the last few GP’s to reap some great results. He races this weekend on a 450 rather the 250 he races on in the GP’s which put’s some question marks over him.
Prediction: It doesn’t matter who they pick you can never count out the Americans when they are representing the Stars and Stripes and I think they will come 2nd and certainly in the top 3.
The number one Dark horse for the title… Australia have a super quick crop of young talent coming through right now, and the last few GP’s has seen Hunter Lawrence emerge as an MX2 title contender for next year. His performance in the muddy conditions at Villars sous Ecot show’s that if the rain falls he has the ability to tough it out with speed. Dean Ferris is another who is no stranger to racing in Europe and this guy can make starts which could be a key factor if the rain tumbles down.
Prediction: I don’t know much about their other racer Kirk Gibbs but in Ferris and Lawrence they have the potential to contend for a rostrum spot.
Jefferey Herlings is the World’s in form rider right now and arguably the quickest in the World, but his back up from Glenn Coldenhoff and Brian Bogers worries me. Coldenhoff could run at the front of the field if he makes the start but if he doesn’t he also has the capability to sit mid pack. Bogers could find it tough also in such a stacked line up of talent.
Prediction: When you have the Bullet Jeffrey Herlings leading your charge you would be foolish to rule the Netherlands out completely, but as much as I think Herlings will go 1-1, I am not so sure he has the back up to go much further than a 4th or 5th.
To me Belgium are the steady eddie team of the front runners. Jeremy Van Horebeek will be top 8 in his races, and if Kevin Strijbos can show the speed he did at some the last GP’s he could also be a Top 10 rider, and if things get wet he has the experience and staying power to keep a cool head. Brent Van Doninck has a lot on his plate if Belgium are to be serious contenders though, and he will need to beat a good portion of his 250 competitors for his country to stand a chance.
Prediction: If Belgium can keep a cool head whilst those around crash and burn, you could see them on the fringes of a podium spot.
Dark horse number 2… Switzerland has a strong trio but with a tendency to crash. Speed is not a problem with these guys, its finishing the race. It will be interesting to see how Jeremy Seewer goes on a 450 for the first time after being 2nd in the World on a 250. To be honest I think it will suit him and i think he will be one of the shock front runners of the event. Arnaud Tonus, before his injury was a front runner in MXGP and if he returns how he left off he is another that could run easily in the top 8. Valentin Guillod hasn’t quite fulfilled his potential in my eyes but being on a 250 could be great for him and again he could surprise a few.
Prediction: Tricky very tricky… I have a feeling they could be in contention for the win but whether they can hold their nerve to the end is my big concern. Gonna say 5th.
It’s hard to play down Italy’s chances too much when they have the recently crowned MXGP champ Antonio Cairoli leading them, but his back may mean that his team finish down the order. Alessandro Lupino has his moments but he cannot keep the pace of the front runners for a full moto. Michele Cervellin could be their key rider as he has had some good results on his 250.
Prediction: Cairoli’s results will keep them in the top half of the table but his lack of back up means they will be outside the top 5.
I have to say the Team pick by Mark Chamberlain in my opinion was bob on. Max Anstie has really come of age in the last few GP’s and with the home crowd behind him he will be a front runner for sure. Dean Wilson had a real strong AMA season and i think he will back Max up with top 6 finishes. Tommy Searle on a 250 is going to be awesome to see and we all know that he loves riding for his country, and I reckon he will be the best 250 racer on show running in the low teens on a super fast track
Predition: Putting my National allegiance aside, I still think Team GB has what it takes to win this event. Max and Dean have been on great form, and Tommy just has that air about which makes me think he is gonna pull it out of the bag…. plus with the British fans roaring them on, I really feel this is our year!
The above teams are who I feel will be the main contenders but throw into the mix the likes of Tim Gajser, who is the 2016 MXGP World Champion, Denmark’s Thomas Kjer Olsen an a host of the other of the Worlds Fastest racers anything could happen and I am looking forward to seeing how it all unfolds.