The Motocross of Nations, or if you want to be culturally correct, the Motocross des Nations, takes place on Sunday in Latvia.
It is one of the oldest traditions in Motocross and started well before the sport ever took hold in the United States. It's also known as the Olympics of Motocross and this year 17 nations vie for the Chamberlain Trophy, first won by Great Britain in 1947 after beating Belgium by nine seconds. Back then scores were determined by the aggregate times of the three best riders. The Dutch National Motorcycle Federation founded the event which was held that first year in the Netherlands, the only other country represented. Belgium hosted the second year's event where 30,000 fans watched.
In 1985 the Motocross des Nations, which originally ran 500cc dirt bikes, became one international event absorbing both the Trophee des Nations which raced 250cc dirt bikes and the Coupe des Nations which raced 125cc dirt bikes. Prior to this, all three events were held in different locations on separate days. The Trophee des Nations ran from 1961 to 1984 and the United States won the last four events.
It's been known officially as the Motocross of Nations since 2004 (also MXoN) when an English-based company was awarded promotional rights for the World Motocross Grand Prix series or Moto GPs.
For the Motocross of Nations, each nation sends a team consisting of three members who race in the MX1, MX2 and Open classes. Unlike Motocross and Supercross scoring, first place winners receive one point rather than 25, two points for second instead of 22, and so on. So, the rider with the lowest score wins. Each class races twice - against the other classes - for a total of three races. The worst score of the three races is dropped and the lowest combined total score wins.
Team USA: Ryan Dungey, Jeremy Martin and Eli Tomac - All Photos: VitalMX
The 2014 Motocross of Nations Team USA consists of Ryan Dungey in the MXGP or MX1 (450cc) class, Jeremy Martin riding in the MX2 (250cc) class, and Eli Tomac in the Open class. They'll face stars from other countries like Antonio Cairoli (MX2) of Italy who is getting recognition statewide since he is the expected competition next year to five-time Supercross Champion Ryan Villopoto, who is widely believed to leave American racing for the Moto GPs. Chad Reed is racing in the MXGP class for Australia and Dean Wilson is in the Open class for Great Britain.
The following countries will compete for the 2014 Chamberlain Trophy:
- United States
- Great Britain
- New Zealand
Great Britain dominated the competition for years winning 15 of the first 21 events. Belgium then won seven of the following 13 meetings before the United States began their historic run in 1981 with 13 straight victories. Those early US teams included legends of the track like Broc Glover, Jeff Ward, Bob Hannah and Jeff Emig, among others. After Great Britain stopped the win streak in 1994, the United States only won twice in 11 years before taking seven straight from 2005 to 2011. Germany won in 2012 and Belgium is looking for back-to-back wins for the first time since 2003-04.
The United States enters the 2014 Motocross of Nations as favorites. Long time Team Manager Roger De Coster returns and he knows how to win. As a rider, he helped Belgium win six times from 1969 to 1979. Dungey is riding in his sixth-straight year on the team and won with Team USA from 2009-11. Tomac also raced on last year's team, with Justin Barcia, which placed second.
Check local listings for television coverage. According to CBSSportsNetwork.com, the 2014 Motocross of Nations airs at 10 a.m. (PST) on that network.