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"Training for
REAL Athletes"
2006 Motocross of Nations
Team USA Wins! Belgium 2nd, New Zealand 3rd
MX of Nations Report 2006

by Dominic Chalk

Those of you that read last years report will be familiar with the format, those of you that didn’t……where have
you been man!!!!! This report is written from a fans perspective and experience at the worlds greatest motocross
event. Basically the MX of Nations is a team event consisting of the countries three best riders in three separate
categories, MX 1 (250cc two strokes and 450cc four strokes), MX 2 (125cc two strokes and 250cc four strokes)
and the Open class (500cc two stroke and up to 650cc four strokes). Scoring works thus, the higher you finish the
least amount of points you get, the team with the lowest points score after the three main races wins – simple. It
means that you have to have a good team, not just one really good rider, all need to consistently finish well,
however, you are allowed to drop your team’s worst moto so the scores are worked out from the best five finishes
your team achieves.

The 60th Motocross of Nations (2006), was billed as the last big show down between the mighty Stefan Everts and
Ricky Carmichael. After winning his tenth world title and clocking up a record breaking 100 GP wins, Everts has
decided to hang up his boots. Carmichael too, being the winningest rider in the US for years, has also decided to
basically retire, only doing selected races next season. So this was to be their last hooray, the last time they would
get to race against each other and truly say they are the best in the world. Also, from a British perspective, could
it be the year that the US finally tops the national standings, having equalled Great Britain’s 16 overall wins last
time out at Ernee.

So, after all the hype, we were expecting one hell of a show. Then disaster, Carmichael injures his shoulder and
cannot race and is replaced by Ivan Tedesco. Tedesco takes the ride in the open class and Bubba takes the ride
in the MX1 class against Everts – could the young pretender take on the might of King Stefan and show how good
he really is. Well, here’s how it panned out…….

This years MX of Nations was to be held here – in the UK, fantastic for me as it is only an hour’s drive from my
house and therefore stress free. The circuit at Matterley Basin near Winchester has only been in existence for a
year or so, the brain child of Steve Dixon who‘s idea it was to build a track in the Hampshire country side. I arrived
at the circuit on Friday evening and pitched up for the weekend, the only annoyance being the smell of rancid cow
crap coming from over the next fence – that’s British farmland for you. The evening’s entertainment came from
watching people try to make themselves as ill as possible by going on all the fair ground rides that aim to have
you re-visit your meal from earlier.

Saturday morning and the sun was out, providing both great riding and spectating conditions. Saturday is the
practice and heat race day, deciding out of the 31 teams from around the world that enter, who goes through to
the main races on the Sunday and who goes into the ‘B’ final. The top 19 teams from qualification day go through
of right with the ‘B’ final winners making up the 20th team for the main event.

So to free practice and most of us European’s first chance to finally see what all the hype is about and get to see
Bubba and his famous scrub!!!!! The MX 1 boys came out which of course included Bubba, Everts, Coppins and
Britain’s own Billy Mackenzie. Well, what can I say, James Jr was just awesome, he was the first to do the massive
downhill double to a huge roar from the crowd who in turn really appreciated the crowds warmth for him. Everts
just cruised around, giving nothing away and staying his usual focused self.

Next out were the MX 2 boys which included Ryan Villapoto (AMA National Lites winner) against Christophe
Pourcel (this years MX 2 world champion) along with Ben Townley, Antonio Cairoli and GB’s own rising starlet,
Tommy “Gun” Searle. I think someone forgot to tell Villapoto that it was just a practice warm up – the kid was on
fire and blazed up the track, showing just why he won the National Lites title this year. Pourcel tried to ride with
him for a while but thought better of it as the kid was on the limit…..ah youthful exuberance, how I remember those
days.

Last out for a warm up were the Open class boys, with Tedesco, Ramon and Carl Nunn each finding their lines
and getting a feel for the track. Those of you that remember last years report may recall I tipped Italy to do well
and they bombed out. So this year I decided not to bother but did feel that the one challenge to the US would
probably come from the Belgians, who had a very strong team. Other than King Stefan they also had Kevin
Strijbos and Steve Ramon who both did very well this year in the championship. Out of the top 7 riders in the FIM
MX1 class, four of them were Belgian.
Qualification Races

So to the first of the three qualification races. These are
run in class so MX 1, MX 2 and Open race in class. The
first riders out were MX 1 with James Jr lining up against
Stefan Everts for the first time – everyone held their
breath as the gate dropped and the roar of the four
strokes echoed around the hills as they thumped into
the first corner. Stewart got the holeshot followed closely
by Everts, Seb Pourcel, De Reuver and GB’s Billy Mac. It
was frantic and going into the right hander after the
downhill double De Reuver dropped it right in front of
Billy. Like all English gentlemen, Billy avoided hitting the
Dutchman instead opting to just ride over his bike –
quality. A few laps in and Pourcel (FR) makes a move on
Everts (BEL) for second while further back Coppins (NZ)
was slipping back and into a great battle with Tanel Leok
(EST) and David Philippaerts (IT). Out front Bubba was just riding smooth, but a resurgent Everts regains his
momentum and re-takes second and sets his sights on the young American. Coppins too finds his pace again and
begins to mount an attack on the British rider in fourth. Then Pourcel begins to slow and as he comes past it
appears he has damaged the front suspension of his Kawasaki allowing the chasing pack to catch up and a flying
Billy Mac to go into third. Towards the end of the race Bubba begins lapping back markers and into the last few
laps he has a group of six riders ahead of him and a flying Everts behind. They slow the Americans progress and
Everts becomes a real danger, but with half a lap to go Bubba finally manages to negotiate them and see off
Everts into second. Billy Mac has an awesome ride and holds off a hard charging Coppins to take third with Loek
rounding out the top five. It was a great race with James showing some real skill but I must say Everts looked to be
holding back, was he just playing with the kid – but we’d have to wait till tomorrow for the answer to that.
Next out were the MX 2 boys and a first chance to
witness the young Villapoto in full race action, if
practice was anything to go by it was gonna be one
hell of a show. As the gate dropped there only ever
looked like being one contender, Villapoto took off into
the lead followed by C.Pourcel (FR), Tyla Rattray (SA),
Cairoli (IT), Townley (NZ) and Strijbos (BEL). Half way
round the lap and Villapoto was gone with over a two
second advantage. However there was an almighty
scrap going on behind him between third, fourth and
fifth. Cairoli began to really pressure Rattray with
Townley stalking the pair of them just waiting for his
chance. Back in the pack and Tommy Searle was
having a good battle with Aigar Leok (EST) and looking
to pass. But out front Villapoto edges his advantage
out to three and a half seconds but Pourcel refuses to
give up the chase. Meanwhile, the battle for third
continues and as Cairoli looks to set up a move on the
South African, he leaves the door open allowing
Townley to capitalise and take fourth. Half way through
the moto and things are looking good for the lad out
front, until puffs of white smoke begin to emanate from
his Kawasaki, however this doesn’t seem to bother the
kid in the slightest and he keeps it wide open. Pourcel
senses possible glory and chases hard and with yet
more traffic ahead, Villapoto’s lead is cut from three
and a half seconds to just a few bikes lengths.
Villapoto rides a great race however and battles
through all the problems to take the win with an
unlucky Pourcel left pondering the prospective battles
they will have next year when he rides in the AMA. The
three chasing them finished Rattray, Cairoli and
Townley, but special mention has to go to Tommy who
finished the moto in great shape by passing two riders
on the last lap to help the teams cause for qualification.
Ryan Villopoto
Villopoto and Pourcel
At this point I would like to break off to talk about the back marker situation and mainly Team China. My main
question would be why bother, I appreciate that all teams need to start somewhere but when your riders are so
clearly below a certain standard that it is dangerous for all parties concerned. They were routinely lapped by the
fourth lap and so slow, they were no higher than weekend warrior level if that. I’m not putting the riders down as
they had the balls to keep going and battle through the conditions, but someone somewhere should have realised
their inexperience and put them back for more training, because that’s all they lacked. I understand it was a great
learning experience for them and a very steep slope, but that is what the national level racing is for, not the worlds
premiere motocross event. Sorry, whinge over.

On to the last race of the day’s qualifiers sees the Open class boys battling it out. Tedesco lines up along side
Ramon of Belgium and Nunn of Great Britain. As the gate dropped and they headed for the first corner it was
Wyatt Avis (SA) with a surprise holeshot ahead of Tedesco, Ramon and the Canadian Blair Morgan. Half way
round the first lap and Tedesco takes the lead but Avis fights back and regains the place with Ramon challenging
in third. A few laps in and Ramon works his way past Ivan and then into the lead leaving Tedesco to scrap with
Avis. A lap later and under heavy pressure from Tedesco, Avis nearly crashes and allows Tedesco to pass him
but a hard charging Ramon has already checked out leaving Tedesco no hope. The Finish rider Jussi-Pekka
Vehvilainen (no idea how that’s pronounced) had a good race and made his way up to fourth followed by Morgan
in fifth and Nunn in sixth. That’s how they finished but not before the Latvian and Russian rider decided that their
bikes would look good as one and had a big coming together. Thankfully both were ok but took an age to
separate their bikes – foot pegs and wheel spokes are never a good mix!!

So that was the end of the days racing. With two victories and a second, Team USA lead the qualifiers standings
ahead of Belgium, France, New Zealand, South Africa and Great Britain. The 19th team to qualify were the Swiss
team with the last spot to be filled by the winners of the ‘B’ final to be held Sunday morning. Everyone headed off
to either the pits, back to the campsite or for more vomit inducing fun at the fair ground. I personally headed back
to get a nice cup of tea and chill out until the evenings festivities got into full swing. All I can say is that hot British
weather, crazy motocross fans, lots of beer and a fairground do not make for a pretty site so you can probably
imagine the carnage that ensued – but I’m sure all had a good time…… except maybe for the one guy who
passed out in an over flowing porta-loo with his head resting on a pan covered in, well, I’m sure you can guess the
rest. I bet he had one hell of a shock when he finally came round.
Race Day

The crowds were huge on Saturday so I decided to get an
early night and be up early to find a great spot to watch
the racing. There had been fairly heavy rain overnight so it
would be interesting to see what conditions the riders
would face. I was up and out by 8am and at the track for
8.30am. My god, there were thousands and thousands of
people already there and no track side space left what so
ever. I headed up the hill, if I couldn’t get up close to the
riders I’d get the next best thing, a great view of the whole
circuit. The track was very wet and tacky and in some
places there was large puddles of standing water – my first
thought was for the Chinese team, if they thought
yesterday was hard they were gonna seriously struggle
with this. The riders for the ‘B’ final were due out at 8.40am
for a warm up but due to so many people trying to get in, things were held up, mainly I think for some of the riders
who were trying to get back to the circuit from the night before.

Eventually they came out and as I had thought the Chinese did struggle and really found the going tough. Then
the qualifiers came out in two groups for a warm up and all were taking it careful and it was very slick. The ‘B’ final
kicked off at 11am, the track having dried somewhat due to the warm ups taking the edge off, but still very difficult.
Even on the sighting lap a Chinese rider went down and took an age to kick over his big four, was this a sign of
things to come……

‘B’ Final

The ‘B’ finalists lined up and were off, just as the PA system behind me packed up so I have no idea what was
going on and who was doing what. Suffice to say the racing was ok but due to the conditions and the fact that
people were still trying to get into the circuit, it was a fairly non eventful race. It was won by Kornel Nemeth of
Hungary, who I must say rode a cracking race and wasn’t fazed by the conditions at all. Second was Brian
Jorgensen of Denmark with Michael Staufer of Austria having a huge ride to take third. However, with the lack of
PA it was hard to tell which team qualified to take 20th position in the main races, at one point it was Sweden but
your guess is as good as mine.

With that out of the way we had a bit of a wait for the three main races of the day and hopefully a repaired PA
system. People were still coming into the circuit, and even though there was no official attendance figure
announced I would say there had to be at least 60,000 to 70,000 people there, a crowd unheard of at a British
motocross event. While we were waiting for the riders to come out we had some impromptu entertainment from out
Welsh and Irish cousins as they went for a streak around the circuit – some completely naked and some dressed
as leprechauns – not pleasant but it gave the crowd something to cheer about.
Race One – MX 1 & MX 2

1pm came round and the MX 1 and MX 2 boys lined up on the start gate ready for some full throttle action. In the
mix were Bubba, Everts, Villapoto, Billy Mac and Tommy Searle. The gate dropped and they were off into the first
corner but disaster, Tommy Searle fell, ending his race before it had really begun. However out front Everts got
the holeshot with Bubba charging hard and Billy Mac in third, the patriotic crowd went mental. Into the second lap
and Everts and Bubba were battling with Billy hard on the case waiting for either of the two ahead to make a
mistake. Billy pushing too hard however goes down and the crowd groan in disappointment. As the leading pair
head into the one part of the track I couldn’t see, Bubba loses his front wheel and drops it, the crowd goes wild
and Everts sets about winning the moto. Bubba re-joins around sixth or seventh and gets his head down, are we
gonna see one of those special rides he is famous for???? With Bubba down in seventh, Villapoto is left to try and
catch Everts whilst having to deal with Townley, Pourcel and Coppins behind him. Pourcel puts a lovely move on
Townley to take third while a charging James Stewart passes both Philippaerts and Coppins into the same corner-
this is what we all came to see and the crowd respond. Poor old Billy Mac, having started well is back in 11th but
continues to ride well and make progress.

Out front and Everts is in command and has a five second lead over Villapoto who is under some pressure from
Pourcel, desperate to avenge yesterdays defeat. Bubba meanwhile is setting about trying to pass Townley, he
gets past only for Townley to re-take the position and they battle it out for a couple of laps. Absolutely amazing
stuff as they both battled hard, but clean. Bubba finally makes it stick and puts his head down to catch the two
hard chargers ahead of him. At the front Everts is now cruising, with a seven second lead and riding so smooth,
its looks like everyone else is just battling for second. James Jr is in full throttle mode now and showing what most
of us have only seen on TV, riding hard he catches Pourcel and Villapoto. He tracks Pourcel for a lap before
choosing his time to attack and get past, Pourcel typically fights back and doesn’t make it easy putting up a strong
fight against the young hot shot. Eventually James does it and tracks down his team mate who seems as intent as
Pourcel was in not giving up without a fight. Villapoto wants to show that Stewart may be team leader but he can
hold is own against anyone. Eventually Bubba gets past and Villapoto tries to stay in touch but just can’t match
Stewarts pace. The last few laps and James takes a couple of seconds out of Everts who by now is just cruising
and soaking up the crowd’s applause. So after the first race they finished Everts, Stewart, Villapoto, Pourcel,
Townley and Coppins. This puts Team USA top of the standings with New Zealand and Italy chasing them for the
overall. Great Britain didn’t have a great start, with Searle out and Billy Mackenzie in 13th, things didn’t look good.
Race Two – MX 2 & Open         

On a drying track, the second race was looking to be
a cracker. As the gate dropped and they hit the first
corner it was Tedesco who got the holeshot with a
gaggle of riders behind him including Pourcel,
Townley, Cairoli and his team mate Villapoto. After the
next few corners Villapoto made his move and got
past Cairoli while the British duo of Nunn and Searle
were in 10th and 16th respectively. Tedesco pulled
away to leave the three behind having a great scrap,
they were all pushing hard and taking different lines to
try and get the best out of the improving conditions.
Down the order and the Team USA’s main threats
were not doing so well, with Ramon and Strijbos back
in 8th and 9th. A great battle was emerging between
Townley and Villapoto as they battled back and fourth
for third spot. Pourcel then made an un-characteristic
mistake and went back to sixth leaving Townley and
Villapoto to battle it out for second place. The one
man on the move was Cairoli though, having slipped
up earlier he now pressed the two in front. Villapoto
sensing the danger puts a move on Townley and sets
about chasing his team mate while the resurgent
Cairoli attacks Townley and puts a great move on him
to take third. Further down the order the British pair
are gaining places with Searle moving into 10th and
Nunn in 12th.

Back at the front and Villapoto is pushing hard to reel
in his team mate who seems to be struggling for
fitness as his times drop off. Villapoto them makes a
huge mistake landing off the side of the table top, into
the green fencing, over a hay bale and then back
James Stewart
Villopoto and Pourcel
Villopoto battles with Pourcel
Race Three – MX 1 & Open

The last race was the biggie, all the top boys out for one last
thrash to decide who would take the title for 2006. Team USA
looked in a good position to retain their crown but this is the
Nations and anything can happen. Everts was hoping to seal
his greatest year with the title and the accolade of beating a
great US team. As they pulled up to the gate it all seemed
pretty tense, a good start was needed to avoid trouble. The
gate dropped and they all sped into the first tight left hander
and it was Philippaerts of Italy who got the drop on the rest
with Billy Mac, yes, you read it right, Billy Mac of Great Britain
in second closely followed by Coppins and Everts. Stewart,
with a not so good start, was back in the pack but looking to
move up fast. Mackenzie makes a move on Philippaerts to
take the lead and the crowd goes ballistic but at the next
corner Philippaerts is back in front. Behind these two Everts
and Stewart are moving up almost in synchronization through
the pack. At the front the leading pair continue to battle as
the crowd urge Mackenzie to keep up the pressure. As he
goes for another pass Mackenzie runs wide and loses a few
places. Coppins then starts to attack the leader as Everts
and Stewart move into third and fourth respectively. Behind
them Mackenzie is trying to regain some composure whilst
being chased by Pourcel, Ramon and Tedesco. A few
corners later and Mackenzie stalls his machine letting the
others through and the crowd go quiet. Coppins, battling
hard for the lead goes down allowing Everts and Stewart to
go through and edge nearer the front. Coppins then goes
down again trying too hard to get back on terms with the
others.

Everts and Stewart then home in on Philippaerts and stalk
him, the top three covered by just a few bike lengths. Bubba
goes for a move on Everts and gets past only for Everts to
retake the position, they battle hard, this is what we all came
to see. Whilst these two battle, Philippaerts remains out front
- but for how much longer? Eventually Everts puts a move on
the Italian and is followed through by Stewart, while behind
them, Everts’ team mate Ramon is having a great ride and
into fourth with Pourcel and Barrigan of Spain in sixth. The
two out front try to pull away and Stewart tries to find the lines
that will get him past Everts, they are easily a class apart
from the others. Now Ramon is pushing hard on Philippaerts,
if he can get a good follow up result behind his team mate it may swing things. Everything is finely balanced.
Pourcel and Barrigan begin to close in on the scraping pair in front but as Ramon tries to find a way past he goes
down, losing places and any hopes of the title with it. Everts begins to gap Bubba by around two seconds as the
pair of them leave the rest of the field behind – either Bubba is playing it safe or he realises that Everts form is
just too good and will have to settle for second. Further back Barrigan continues to surprise as he not only jumps
the uphill triple but passes Philippaerts into the bargain by jumping over the top of him – amazing stuff. Everts
gets into his rhythm and begins to pull further away from Stewart, lengthening the gap to four and a half seconds.
As they begin the last two laps its frantic stuff behind the leading pair but the hard charging Barrigan finally ends
his good run and loses the front end into a corner allowing the others to pass. As Everts comes over the line to
take the checkers he has a 6 second lead with Stewart, Philippaerts, Leok and Ramon rounding out the top five.

With Stewart’s consistent finishing and a huge contribution from Villapoto and not so huge from Tedesco, Team
USA retain their Crown. But the Europeans had something to smile about with Everts convincingly beating Stewart
both times out and taking the MX 1 class honours – would it have been different if Ricky had been out there???….
sadly, we’ll never know. On the podium Ricky said he would aim to be in the team for next years Nations, even with
his reduced schedule – maybe that will entice Everts out of retirement for one last battle – here’s hoping. The final
standings were Team USA first followed by the Belgians and New Zealand. Team GB finished a credible sixth (one
place lower than last year however) but worse than that, Team USA now lead the overall event win standings with
17, one ahead of Great Britain.

So, that’s the Nations for another year. Other than the disappointment of Ricky pulling out, this year’s event was
another get show for a sport that is becoming harder to participate in over this side of the Atlantic, due to local
government regulations on noise. However, everybody really appreciated Ricky attending, not only to give his
support to the team but also to allow his fans from all over the world to get a glimpse of him. With just 360-ish
days to go until the next outing at Budds Creek all I have to do now is start saving for the trip – any
contributions???? Till next time….its been emotional.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thanks Dominic for a great report.  Dominic is a subscriber to the Moto X Fitness newsletter, and he has
contributed articles previously for MXF.  Let's hope that we will see Dominic at next year's event at Budds
Creek.  I think it would be great to get the British version of the big race in the U.S.

Thanks for your contributions Dominic,

Rodney Womack, CSCS
Owner of Moto X Fitness
onto the track – how the kid kept it together is a miracle. However, his slip allowed Cairoli and Townley to pass but
he regains his composure to battle with Townley to get the position back. With Tedesco now visibly struggling for
pace and Cairoli re-energised it’s just a matter of time before a pass happens. Cairoli was absolutely flying and
full of confidence as he chased Tedesco, pulling off a huge whip over the up hill triple which sends the crowd
mental again and then putting the pass on Tedesco at the next corner. He then begins to pull a huge lead, four
seconds in one lap over the now slowing Tedesco who is in danger of slipping further back. As the following group
arrive it is not long before Tedesco is demoted more places after being passed by Townley, Villapoto and a
charging Ramon. At this point places second to fifth are all covered by five seconds and it would only take one
mistake to let someone take an advantage. Cairoli doesn’t let up at the front and takes the win by five seconds
and does another huge whip over the finish line jump – even he knew just what a good ride he had put in.
Villapoto came home second with Townley and Ramon third and fourth. After a great start Tedesco finished sixth
but still enjoyed his whip at the end but seemed glad it was all over. One hard luck story was that of Strijbos,
charging hard towards the end and trying to put in a good team result the bike broke on the last lap and with only
a few corners to go leaving him walking back to the pits not a happy man.
Bio
Copyright 2004-2012 by RW3 Enterprises.  All rights reserved.
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