So we're now into July and the Nationals are in full swing with Chad Reed and Dean Wilson leading the way in the 450 and 250 classes respectively. However it wouldn't be long before it was all change in the 450 class as one of the most extraordinary crashes in motocross history took place at Spring Creek.
Chad Reed was coming round in the lead when his bike got squirrely on the face of a jump. The result saw Reed bail in mid-air, landing (thankfully) off the track and on the downward slope. Amazingly he wasn't hurt, but more amazing was the fact that after a minute, he was able to regain the track ended up finishing in 14th place. The video of this went viral and made its way onto the major news and sports networks around the world.
While he may have been all right physically, the crash definitely affected his mental aspect and throughout the rest of the season, he wouldn't come close to winning another race, ending up 97 points behind the eventual champion, Ryan Villopoto.
Once again, the Kawasaki rider did enough to take home the trophy by 12 points, in what ended up being a crazy last few rounds. Southwick was the main culprit for the craziness as Ryan Dungey suffered one of the weirdest mechanicals ever - his bike wouldn't start before moto two. He not only missed the parade lap, he also completely missed the gate-dropping and only just made it onto the track before the leaders came around to complete lap one. It was a bizarre situation but he then put in an amazing performance to come back all the way to 7th, in what were some horrendous conditions, just hours before the brunt of Hurricane Irene hit the North-East.
The winner of that round was actually Brett Metcalfe who finally got that monkey off his back, even if he still hasn't won a moto yet. Dungey won moto one, but it was Justin Barcia who took moto after switching up from his 250 to the 450 in the middle of the year.
With Barcia gone from the 250 class, it really looked like Pro Circuit would clean sweep all 24 motos between them and with 18 motos in the books, it really looked the case. Then, out of the blue Gareth Swanepoel overcame countryman Tyla Rattray to take his first ever moto win and break the Pro Circuit streak.
That was pretty much the most eventful race of the second part of the 250 season as Dean Wilson was in pretty dominant form, taking the championship with Pala still to go. That meant he could head in the Motocross of Nations feeling pretty good.
The MxoN this year was held in France at the St Jean D'Angely track which is known for it's big hills and massive drop-offs. Team USA were favourites again as the other nations were suffering from quite a few different injury problems. As expected France were tough, as were the Brits and the Aussies, but once again USA prevailed, pulling out the big performances when it mattered most as Villopoto and Dungey would go 1-2 in the final race of the day. Probably the best performances though were by Chad Reed and Ken Roczen as Reed would win his first race since June, and Roczen would overtake and beat a number of 450 riders in both his races.
And so that ended the third quarter of what was a fabulous 2011 year of racing. Ryan Villopoto was the main man but his winning didn't stop there, as we'll find out in the final part coming soon.