Team USA’s Eli Tomac, Justin Cooper and Chase Sexton ended the nation’s 11-year wait with a win at the 2022 Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations on home soil in RedBud, Michigan.
While yesterday’s qualifying day presented the perfect weather conditions, today was a different story, with an overnight downpour and continued rain throughout the day creating some challenging conditions which tested not only man but also machine – but did not hinder the spirits of the thousands of fans who showed their support! The atmosphere around the venue was next to none, with incredible support from start to finish by the huge crowd of fans that turned out in their most patriotic outfits and made plenty of sound throughout the day.
It was a big victory for the hosting nation, as Tomac, Cooper and Sexton made history by putting the American flag back on the top step for the first time since Saint Jean d’Angely in 2011.
Joining the winners on the podium was Team France with Maxime Renaux, Marvin Musquin and Dylan Ferrandis who finished with 23 points, 7 behind Team USA, while rounding out the podium was Team Australia’s Mitch Evans, Hunter Lawrence and Jett Lawrence with 26 points.
In the first MXGP and MX2 combined race, the Fox Holeshot went to Team Belgium’s Jago Geerts who held a very tight line into the first corner ahead of Team USA’s Eli Tomac who took over first place immediately. Team France’s Maxime Renaux was third ahead of Team Switzerland’s Jeremy Seewer as the Yamaha-bound riders dominated the opening race.
Further down the field, Team Italy’s Antonio Cairoli managed to pass Team Australia’s Hunter Lawrence and Team USA’s Justin Cooper, as he moved himself up to seventh, where he would eventually finish the race.
Geerts meanwhile put up a fight to Tomac, as he set several fastest laps of the race, and managed to whittle the gap down to a second or so, before making a mistake and allowing the American to break free again.
Team Netherlands’ Glenn Coldenhoff had an unfortunate start to his race as he struggled down in 32nd in the first few laps, while his fellow countryman Kay de Wolf was in 10th.
Team Belgium’s Liam Everts passed Adamo for 11th as Seewer closed in on Renaux for third. The Swiss was able to get alongside the Frenchman, but could not make the pass stick, despite making several attempts.
Team Switzerland was dealt a blow as Valentin Guillod struggled with his bike and was forced out of the race which meant that a good result from Seewer was crucial for the squad.
Further down the order, Adamo, Team France’s Marvin Musquin and Team Norway’s Kevin Horgmo battled closely for 13th, with Musquin able to find a way past, as Team Great Britain’s Max Anstie came into pitlane with a bike issue.
In the latter stages of the race, Tomac looked in control as Geerts remained close and Renaux continued to fend off Seewer behind him. Team Australia’s Mitch Evans came under pressure from Team Spain’s Jorge Prado at one stage of the race but was able to remain calm and bring it home in fifth for the Aussie squad.
In the end, Tomac won ahead of Geerts, Renaux, Seewer and Evans.
Main Photos: 2022 MXoN Podium – Eli Tomac
Bottom Photos: 1. Race 1 Start , 2. Mitch Evans
Race 1 (MXGP + MX2) – Top 10 Classification: 1. Eli Tomac (USA, Yamaha), 35:23.672; 2. Jago Geerts (BEL, Yamaha), +0:03.243; 3. Maxime Renaux (FRA, Yamaha), +0:58.986; 4. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +1:11.659; 5. Mitchell Evans (AUS, Honda), +1:24.846; 6. Jorge Prado (ESP, GASGAS), +1:29.402; 7. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +1:33.403; 8. Hunter Lawrence (AUS, Honda), +1:34.431; 9. Justin Cooper (USA, Yamaha), +1:48.130; 10. Kay de Wolf (NED, Husqvarna), +1:56.440;
The second heat saw Team Italy’s Mattia Guadagnini take the Fox Holeshot from Team USA’s Chase Sexton and Team Australia’s Jett Lawrence, as several riders went down in the first corner which included Team Great Britain’s Tommy Searle and Team France’s Dylan Ferrandis, among others.
The second rider of the American team, Cooper, started well in fourth, as Australia’s H. Lawrence crashed to re-join in 19th.
Further down the field, Ferrandis was making great progress through the field as he got himself into 11th and set his sights on breaking the top 10, with his teammate Musquin also ahead.
At the front of the group though, Guadagnini was still in control, with J. Lawrence pushing Sexton for that second position. After several attempts, Sexton was able to get through on Guadagnini, though the Italian responded shortly after.
Sexton then lost second to J. Lawrence, who forced the issue on the American. Moments later, the Aussie was also able to get by Guadagnini to lead the second race.
As J. Lawrence led the way, Ferrandis was making moves down in seventh, and then sixth after passing Team Netherlands’ Calvin Vlaanderen and setting the fastest lap of the race. Meanwhile his teammate, Musquin was coming under pressure from H. Lawrence, who eventually passed the Frenchman but then threw it away moments later.
Sexton then got around Guadagnini for second, as also Cooper closed in on the Italian, but Guadagnini was able to hold off the American until the chequered flag.
J. Lawrence won the second heat ahead of Sexton, Guadagnini, Cooper and Team Spain’s Ruben Fernandez.
Main Photo: Jett Lawrence
Bottom Photos: 1. Race 2 Start; 2. Chase Sexton
Race 2 (MX2 + Open) – Top 10 Classification: 1. Jett Lawrence (AUS, Honda), 36:19.920; 2. Chase Sexton (USA, Honda), +0:14.240; 3. Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, GASGAS), +0:20.238; 4. Justin Cooper (USA, Yamaha), +0:22.058; 5. Ruben Fernandez (ESP, Honda), +0:25.555; 6. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, Yamaha), +0:31.445; 7. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, Yamaha), +1:05.933; 8. Harri Kullas (EST, Yamaha), +1:11.398; 9. Marvin Musquin (FRA, KTM), +1:13.503; 10. Hunter Lawrence (AUS, Honda), +1:18.053;
In the final and the most crucial race of the day the Fox Holeshot went to Renaux, as Ferrandis took over the lead almost immediately, which meant it was a 1-2 for Team France, followed by Sexton, Prado, Seewer and J. Lawrence.
Geerts crashed as he headed towards the second corner, which also caught out Tomac and meant both riders had to work their way up from the back of the field.
Evans, who was running pretty well at the beginning of the race crashed and got going again in 35th. The Australian managed to bring it home in 28th by the end of the heat.
Ferrandis was looking fast, with Renaux fending off a hard-charging Sexton who was pushing to get by. On lap four, there was a change for the lead, as Ferrandis crashed and got going again in sixth.
Renaux was the leader with Sexton, J. Lawrence, Prado and Seewer just behind. Tomac was in seventh at the time, but Ferrandis had a big enough gap to the American that he did not have to worry too much about potential pressure from behind.
Prado then dropped two positions to Seewer and Ferrandis, as Lawrence charged down the inside of Sexton to take second on lap eight. The Australian then focused his attention on Renaux who was keen to bring the win home for the nation.
In the end, Renaux held on and took the race victory from J. Lawrence, Sexton, Ferrandis and Seewer. Team USA ended up as this year’s winners with a 16-point scorecard ahead of Team France who ended up second with 23 points ahead of Team Australia who were third with 26 points.
Main Photo: Race 3 Start;
Bottom Photos: 1. Maxime Renaux; 2 Dylan Ferrandis
Race 3 (MXGP + Open) – Top 10 Classification: 1. Maxime Renaux (FRA, Yamaha), 35:30.165; 2. Jett Lawrence (AUS, Honda), +0:04.600; 3. Chase Sexton (USA, Honda), +0:08.303; 4. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, Yamaha), +0:17.408; 5. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:19.507; 6. Eli Tomac (USA, Yamaha), +0:52.551; 7. Jorge Prado (ESP, GASGAS), +1:02.266; 8. Ruben Fernandez (ESP, Honda), +1:18.847; 9. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +1:31.044; 10. Dylan Wright (CAN, Honda), +1:40.392;
Once the final race had concluded at the podium celebrations had ended, the team’s headed to the Media Centre for the official press conference where the top three nations, the individual class winners and the winner of the Ricky Carmichael Award answered journalists’ questions and were awarded with their prizes.
Team France’s Maxime Renaux was the overall winner in the MXGP category, while in the MX2 class it was Justin Cooper. Jett Lawrence who made his Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations debut with the individual win in the Open category was also awarded the Ricky Carmichael Award for the youngest and best scoring rider in the class
Following the words of each rider, the top three teams were presented with their FIM medals by FIM President Jorge Viegas, FIM Board Member Robert Dingman and FIM/CMS Director Antonio Alia Portela, followed by the presentation of the Champions Rings to the winning team by Infront Moto Racing CEO David Luongo.
Nations Classifications – Top 10: 1. USA 16pts, 2. France 23 pts, 3. Australia 26pts, 4. Italy 49pts, 5. Belgium 50pts, 6. Spain 51pts, 7. The Netherlands 62pts, 8. Germany 71pts, 9. Switzerland 90pts, 10. Great Britain 98pts.
Eli Tomac: “That’s what it was, it felt like a redemption you know from the team here and I just first off, I want to say how proud I am of my teammates, Chase and Justin. This is truly a team event and there is no race like this. Yesterday started great for us for the qualifying heats and then the rain this morning. This really levelled the playing field but we came through strong in these muddy conditions. 11 years is a long time, so I’m just proud of my teammates and everyone who is part of Team USA, this is very special for us”.
Maxime Renaux: “Of course it’s great! But I want to start about the team, you know it was not the result we wanted, we wanted to go for the win, but sometimes things don’t go as planned and USA was really strong today. But I am really happy to say we had a really good atmosphere in the team, these guys were like friends that I knew a very long time, they were really like big brothers to me. They both know the track so they gave me a lot of advice and I want to thank them for that and my result for sure is a part of that. Personally, first victory at the Motocross of Nations in the 450 class was amazing with some pretty strong names”.
Hunter Lawrence: “It was really good. In the past years, we have had where we come into the last race somewhat in contention and close to the podium, and we’ve just not been fortunate enough to pull it off, so to do so here is awesome. To do it with my brother, but also Mitch, it’s really cool! Just stoked for everyone. HRC they all came together that was really cool. So yeah, it’s good. And we’re excited for next year we didn’t have some really good years coming up”.