They've done it again! Team USA, in what some might call an upset, successfully defended their Motocross of Nations title in an crowd-silencing performance. After a nail-biting day of racing, it came down to final final MX1/Open class moto, as it usually does, and just about everything that could happen, did happen. It really came down to three teams: Italy, France, and the U.S. of A. Since the teams get to drop a score at the end, it was actually quite difficult to predict any sort of outcome. But, when all was said and done,
On the world stage, 20 countries lined up for the first race of the 2009 Motocross of Nations. With the top gate pick and his home crowd cheering him on,
When the gates dropped for the second race of the day,
The British announcer said it correctly when he claimed the third and final moto to be the "biggest race of the year." With the points spread so close, and one score still left to throw out, it really was anyone's game; and by anyone's, we mean the top three teams of Italy, France, and Team USA. So much was on the line for each team. For the U.S., it was reassurance that they, indeed, were correctly selected. The pressure of following the dominant performances of recent US teams only compounded after their showing in qualifying. For Italy, it was their opportunity to win the biggest prize in motocross in front of their countrymen. So needless to say, the stakes were high.
So when the gates did finally drop, all hell broke loose. Within a matter of seconds, three separate devastating crashes changed the course of everything before a half a lap. First,
Meanwhile, Ryan Dungey and Ivan Tedesco had miraculously avoided the pile-ups and instantly became the favorites to win. Dungey jumped out front and did not look back, while Tedesco found himself safely within the top ten. Tedesco, however, suffered the wrath of Italy's David Philippaerts just beofre the end of the first lap. Philippaerts parked him in the left turn right after the mechanics straightaway. Tedesco did remount relatively quickly and found himself 13th. From there he put his head down and raced all the way back to seventh. With Italy's and France's chances left in the dirt with Cairoli's and Paulin's misfortunes, the U.S. sealed the deal. After 30 minutes and two laps, Tedesco, Dungey, and Weimer stood tallest on the FIM podium. Congratulations Team USA!