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|2005 Motocross of Nations
|Team USA Wins! France 2nd, Belgium 3rd
Report: Moto X des Nations 2005 – Ernee, France
by Dominic Chalk
The Moto X des Nations is defined in the Oxford English dictionary as: ‘a full on weekend where a group of nutters
try to impress a larger group of wannabe nutters with their ability to ride around a muddy field’…..ok, maybe not
strictly true, but I think you get the idea. This report maybe a little different from some of the others you’ve read
about the event, they concentrate on what they think you want to know about how good an individual rider is or
how a team perform. I’m gonna tell you what it’s actually like, from the perspective of the average Joe going on a
trip with the boys.
First a little background, driver for the weekend and general all round numb nut – Paul, aged 40 going on 14,
likes moto x and young girls. Ryan, nephew of Paul and co-pilot number 2, aged 17, just getting into moto x and
also likes young girls. And then there’s me, Dom, aged 30, trip organiser and navigator, I too like young girls…..
sorry I mean moto x and training for it….with the help of Rodney and his training tips on Motoxfitness.com.
Trip begins at 4am on the morning of Thursday 22nd, or at least it was suppose to but we were late….there’s a
surprise. Finally get going at 5.20am, headed for Portsmouth and our ferry to France. I won’t bore you with the
details of the uneventful drive, surfice to say we made it, however Ryan suffered a bit on the ferry. First port of
call when we arrived, was straight of to the nearest cheap booze store to stock up for the weekend. We all
purchased a crate of beer each….and I don’t even drink! Another uneventful drive to the small town of Ernee,
where the event was to be held. The nearest place people would have heard of is Le Mans, home to the world
famous 24 hour endurance race. We finally arrived at 4pm, tired from the drive but buzzing with thought of finally
seeing Team USA who we missed out on our last tour in 2001 at Namur, Belgium due to September 11th. We
erected our tent, which was going to be our abode for the next four days and set about making it home from
home. The campsite was filling up already, buzzing with the sound of four stroke mini bikes being ridden by crazy
youths – most of who seemed to be English.
After a night of no sleep we rose early to watch practice. The track was in great shape, if a little dry due to plenty
of sun, and we arrived to see Mr Carmichael burning it up as only he can. The venue is set in a valley in the
French hills, on one side is the track, which both traverses across, and up and down the hill, and on the opposite
hillside is the main viewing bank, which means you get a great view of nearly the whole track……it was definitely
constructed with spectators in mind. Highlights of the day were limited to seeing K-Dub throwing his Honda away
going over the first jump after hitting it all wrong, and David Vuillemin face planting into the burm at the end of the
start straight – to a big cheer from the already swelling crowd. Friday night was low key with stall holders still
setting up, whilst we settled down to night of drinking and, yes, you’ve guessed it, listening to even more mini four
strokes being ridden by delinquents.
We rose Saturday morning, all feeling a little drawn, mainly due our new French neighbours arriving at 4.30am
and blasting out what can only be described as the worst music (if you can call it that) that we have ever heard…..
oh how they would regret that decision, but more on that later. The atmosphere was buzzing already and there
were huge crowds waiting to get in. I have read reports of 20,000 people there for Saturday practice but I must
say it felt like more. People from all over Europe, sporting their national flags, rider’s shirts and implements of
noise, ranging from air horns to chain saw motors – thankfully without the blades attached!! A small amount of
rain overnight had done wonders for the track, damping it down to avoid it becoming too dusty. After a brief walk
around the pit area we settled onto a spot on the bank to watch the qualifying races. First out was the MX1 group,
with the main interest being how Ricky would fair against the 8 time World MX1 Champion Stepan Everts
(Belgium). Other riders of interest being Pichon (France), Coppins (New Zealand), England’s own James Noble
and Chiodi (Italy)…my outside bet for a good team result (how wrong I was going to be)!!
As the gate dropped, all 35 riders sped to the first corner; Pichon got the holeshot and led for a few corners.
Ricky started around sixth but by turn three was already in second and at the table top, passed Pichon for the
lead. To quote a well used phrase we hear from the AMA commentary, Ricky then just checked out. He was so
smooth and rode faultlessly and after only a few laps it was clear he had just settled into a flowing pace. No one
else could get near him and the build up of the Carmichael v Everts showdown vanished. The top three finished
Carmichael, Pichon and Everts.
MX2 saw some other riders familiar to US viewers, Tortelli racing for France was up against the late addition of
Ivan Tedesco (replacing Mike Brown), England’s Carl Nunn and Antonio Cairoli (Italy), this years World MX2
Champion. As the gate dropped and they hit the first turn, it was Rodrigues of Portugal who took a surprise
holeshot, closely followed by a chasing pack of Tortelli, Tedesco and McFarlane of Australia (who lead the World
MX2 Championship for so long this year but just missed out on the title after some bad results at the end of the
year). The Portuguese rider held onto the lead for a while until he was eventually passed by Torttelli who was
having a great battle with Tedesco until he fell challenging him. Ramon of Belgium had a great race, coming back
from a not so good start to finish third. Carl Nunn finished 6th and gave us Brits something to cheer about.
The Open class saw another clash of AMA riders, Kevin Windham and David Vuillemin and a rider who will
become known to you next year when he joins the AMA, Ben Townley of New Zealand. The British hope being Billy
Mackenzie. From the gate drop Kevin Strijbos of Belgium got the holeshot with K-Dub back in 5th and Townley
sandwiched somewhere in between. Townley eventually took over at the front and was followed through by
Windham and that’s how they finished, with Vuillemin coming home fourth.
So after the racing Ryan and I went to the pits to see if we could get any snaps of the boy wonder (Carmichael)
whilst Old man Paul went back to the tent for a lie down – all the excitement obviously got to him. We stood
around Ricky’s pit area for about an hour, then came the announcement that Team USA were gonna do a signing
together. You have never been in a crowd surge until you have experienced a crowd at MX des Nations, no
consideration of anyone else’s wellbeing, be they man, woman or child. I must say, I think it was a little
overwhelming for Ricky and the boys as at some stages it became a little heated, shall we say. We eventually
managed to get some signed memorabilia and left before anymore trouble was caused.
Saturday night’s entertainment began at 8.30pm with a freestyle demo. It seemed like no one had left and so it
was absolutely packed but the atmosphere was great. Crowd’s of people watched and cheered as the demo team
showed off all their tricks, ending with a choreographed three bike display and back flips…..at night and in the
dark with only a few spot lights!!! After which we headed off to the tent to chill out for a while. There was a music
tent and DJ which kept everyone going but eventually this was closed down as a result of a mini riot occurring due
to the over exuberance (read as drunk behaviour of some morons).
We actually managed a few hours sleep that night….which was nice, maybe something to do with the alcohol.
Anyway, when Sunday morning arrived we were well and truly ready for a great days racing. More rain over night
had again helped out the track conditions but it was a little overcast for the first race which was the ‘B’ final so
conditions were a little slick. This didn’t put anyone off, with over 30,000 spectators attending, even finding a
place to stand proved difficult. In a pretty non eventful first race, Jelen of Slovenia took top honours followed by
the two Irish lads of Crockard and Barr. This race did help with clearing any remaining standing water, and with
the sun now out and beating down, the main races looked set to be awesome. In between the races the
organisers decided to have a local brass band play to keep us all ‘entertained’. The only entertaining aspect was
how bad they really were, but bless ‘em, they did try hard. But I must say, towards the end of the day, and having
heard them for the fourth time, they did become a little tedious.
Then the real action began with the first race which was a combined
moto of the MX1 and MX2 classes. Briefly, for those that don’t know,
the des nations run two classes together in each moto so each rider
gets two races. Depending on where they finish decided how many
points they get, the better finish the lower the points and it’s the team
with the lowest overall score that wins. They also drop the scores from
the team’s worst two motos. So lined up for the first race were some
seriously fast boys, Carmichael, Pichon, Everts, Coppins, Tedesco,
Tortelli, Chiodi, Cairoli and the Brit boys of Noble and Nunn. The gate
dropped and they all shot into the first turn, the holeshot was grabbed
by, yes, you’ve guessed it, RC. Straight to the front and by the end of
the first lap he’d already pulled a good 50 metres lead on the rest.
Behind him there was a great battle going on between Coppins and
Pichon and further back Everts, who just didn’t seem able to find a fast
rhythm. Behind Everts, Tortelli and Tedesco pick up from where they had left off the day before with a good hard
battle, made all the more interesting by the course commentator going nuts every time Tortelli closed the gap and
challenged. Saying that, he went nuts pretty much anytime a French rider did anything, but hey, that’s national
pride for you. So that was the order it finished with Carmichael eventually finishing nearly half a lap in front of 2nd
and 3rd places, he was just so smooth and controlled (see PICT 1).
Race two was between the MX2 class and Open class and what a race. The gate dropped and they all piled into
the first corner, around the first turn and it was Windham who grabbed the holeshot, followed by Vuillemin,
Philippaerts (Italy) and Townley. Townley then went down challenging for third but got up quick. Behind the main
group Britain’s Billy Mackenzie passed Tedesco, who was then battling with Tortelli who then also passes him.
Tedesco rallied and with the two in front battling, passed them both. But he couldn’t break Tortelli, and with the
French supporters cheering him on he pursued Tedesco for lap after lap. However, going up the long hill stretch,
Tortelli tried an audacious move on the inside at the corner and the pair collided and both went down. Both
struggled to re-group and get their bikes going, they were passed by other riders and eventually the first to get
going was Tortelli, while Tedesco was still struggling to get his Kawasaki going. Out front Windham had all but
checked out and was in cruise mode but behind him Townley battled with Vuillimen and eventually put a pass on
him to take 2nd. Towards the end of the moto a back marker had a big spill on the long downhill section and
looked to have broken his wrist. Back at the front, Windham lost concentration and lost the front end going into
the turn at the top of the long downhill, by the time he remounted his Honda, Townley had sped passed to take
the lead. Now with Vuillimen behind Windham wasn’t looking so comfortable. And half way round the next lap and
being challenged, he got it wrong over the table top and hit the fence. This must have damaged the bike as from
that point he began to slip down the order. Tedesco went AWOL for a while and Tortelli had another little spill,
and to be honest, with so much going on I cannot give you a full finishing order…..and no, the beer had nothing to
do with it!! Townley took the race win with Vuillimen second but after that it’s anyone’s guess.
By the time the third race came around the crowd were going nuts –
again this may have been due to the brass band, but either way the
atmosphere was electric. This was the most anticipated race as it was
between the MX1 class and the Open class so it was a chance to see
all the top boys together, Carmichael, Windham, Pichon, Everts,
Vuillimen, and Townley et al. As the gate dropped you couldn’t even
hear the roar of the bikes for the air horns. Coming out of turn one and
it was Pichon who took the holeshot. The crowd went mental as their
home rider took the lead, however it wasn’t to last, by the third turn RC
had blown past him to take the lead. In the chasing pack were Pichon,
Townley and K-Dub (see PICT 2). Townley didn’t take long to pass
Pichon and Windham followed him through as they tried to chase down
Ricky. Townley then got on it and displayed some truly awesome riding
That meant, with RC winning both his races and reasonable finishes
from the other two riders, Team USA won (see PICT 4) and became
joint most winning-est Nation along with Great Britain, both with 16
overall wins. The host nation finished 2nd and Belgium 3rd. Great
Britain finished a credible 5th but the most disappointing aspect for
me was the failure of Everts to run with Carmichael, he just seemed
off the pace all weekend, maybe he felt he had nothing to prove
after winning yet another world championship, and Italy’s poor
performance, they were my tip for a surprise upset, just goes to
show you how much I know!!
So, with another MX des Nations over, what were our final thoughts?
Ricky proved he is the best moto x rider in the world (sorry Mr Everts
but it’s true), the AMA has/and will have next year, all the best riders
in the world racing in their series and we can’t wait till next year’s
event – hopefully Team USA will send the one man who we think can
compete with RC, yes that’s right – ‘BUBBA’. Next years event is in
England and I think the following years will be in the USA hopefully,
so the future is looking rosy.
Well that’s the end of my MX des Nations report for 2005, I hope that
after reading it some of you will be encouraged to make the long trip
next year and join in the fun and see some of the best moto x riding
in the world. Special thanks go to Rodney Womack, who has
provided me with a forum to help promote the event as well as
providing his experience to others to better their training
programmes so we too, can dream of being as good as RC or
But seriously, many thanks to Rodney and all the subscribers of
Motoxfitness.com, its nice to know that there are other like minded
individuals who’ve come to the same conclusion as myself, life is to
be enjoyed and the more you put in the more you get out. The same
goes for your training, just ask Ricky!!
Pichon and Windham
Motocross des Nations 2005
USA 1st, France 2nd, Belgium 3rd
I want to thank Dominic Chalk and his friends for this great MX des Nations report and the photos.
He did a great job and I hope he will do it again next year for us. Great job Dominic!
to put pressure on Ricky, at one point Townley looked to have over cooked it going into the top turn and had both
feet off the pegs but saved it magnificently. Windham couldn’t keep pace and slowly dropped back and was put
under pressure by a hard charging Pichon in fourth. There was a big crash on the downhill again by a back
marker who looked to be seriously hurt and had to be stretchered off. Ricky then began to pull away, it was not
that Townley dropped his pace, but RC just stepped it up a gear and was consistently faster each lap. Late on
and another crash, this time on the up hill section, and coming towards the end of the moto, a hard charging
Pichon, trying to catch Windham (see PICT 3), fell with only a few turns to go on the last lap and threw away his
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