The Friday before the weekend of the Motocross of Nations is always an interesting day. On one hand, all the riders are there, they are all in a pretty happy state of mind ready to answer questions, sign autographs and smile for pictures. But on the other hand you just know that clawing away at their insides is a beast, waiting to be unleashed on the motocross world, ready to do whatever it takes for their nation to come out on the top of the podium.
At the moment, the pits are a bit of ghost town, people are about, but no one really seems to have any purpose, just cruising around on pit bikes, meeting up with old acquaintances or sampling some hospitality cuisine somewhere at one of the many rigs. It's a weird situation where people know that things are about to happen... but no-one is completely sure what, or where.
The press conference is always a fun occasion, Team Great Britain in previous years have tried to squeeze in a set word as many times as possible, like the "meow" sketch from Super Troopers. They didn't seem to do that this time but Chad Reed wasn't taking things too seriously this year, saying "We're not the best looking guys here, but we're going to try and ride these dirtbikes fast." Team France was also in a funny mood, with even the normally placid Christophe Pourcel cracking the odd joke or two.
However the real business starts tomorrow and while all the riders are laughing and joking now, tomorrow morning their game faces will be on as practice, and then racing begins. For the French riders, the pressure will be pretty intense as there is an expected 30,000 people turning out supporting them tomorrow with probably even more on Sunday. This place will be absolutely packed for the weekend and the atmosphere will be utterly amazing.
Make no mistake, Team USA are the favorites and have had the smoothest build-up to the race out of any nation, but the French will be highly motivated and have some seriously quick riders. This will be a heavyweight battle that could come down to the final lap of the final race and with both Pourcel and Dungey on the track, anything can and probably will, happen.