We won't say that the end of the 2011 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross season was uneventful, but logic does lend us to believe that it wasn't as eventful as many thought it would be at the mid-way point. As you well know by now the Lites title was already wrapped up heading into Pala.
However, someone forgot to tell Dean Wilson that. Wilson rode harder at Pala than we've seen him ride all year long, and he didn't even have to. Actually, he rode so hard that his own teammate, Blake Baggett, voiced his frustration about Dean's aggressive riding on the podium. Call it what you will but from what we saw Dean was doing what he's been doing all year, making a statement. He'll be a favorite to win his first supercross championship in 2012 regardless of which coast he chooses to run and he'll be a heavy favorite to repeat his outdoor title next year as well.
In the 450 class things played out like most people thought they would. Villopoto finished the job. Dungey had a remarkable run but when you look at the season as a whole, the better man won. RV took two titles from Dungey this year and you can bet RD will be putting in the work over the off-season to ensure it doesn't happen again. RV will undoubtedly be returning as Kawasaki's hot shoe for supercross, but rumors are floating around that Dungey will be mounting a KTM in 2012. Chances are we won't get the full scoop until later this year, but if the rumors prove to be true it will be interesting to see how he adapts. KTM has yet to see a ton of success in the U.S., and Dungey has yet to ride anything other than Suzuki since turning pro. It will be an interesting turn of events to say the least. Add to that the rumors that James Stewart is switching brands in 2012 as well, and you've got one helluva start to silly season already.
With the 2011 outdoor season now a thing of the past the world now looks towards the Motocross of Nations, set to take place this weekend in St. Jean d'Angely, France. The Ryans will need to go from arch enemies to teammates in a hurry, but when the USA's seventh consecutive Chamberlain Trophy is on the line, we have a feeling they will put their rivalry to rest...at least for one weekend. RV will most likely fill the team's MX1 slot with RD filling up the MX3 ride. It's a switch for Dungey, as he's been the team's MX1 rider for the past two years, but with RV taking the title we really can't see this playing out any other way. Blake Baggett, who will be making his first appearance on a world stage, will join the Ryans. This is one of the USA's most accomplished teams in the last three years, and if Baggett can keep his nerves to a minimum and keep it on two wheels, the odds are definitely in their favor.
We will be dedicating the next two weeks to covering the Motocross of Nations. Our boys are 30,000 ft. in the air as we type and will be landing in Paris early tomorrow morning to start pre-coverage of the event. So be sure and check back in throughout the next two weeks for all the MXoN coverage you can handle.
Until then, thanks for reading.