Photo: MotoXAddicts

The United States took third behind Belgium and Chamberlain Trophy winner France for the 2014 Motocross of Nations held on Sunday in Latvia in front of an estimated 63,000 people.

Heralded as the Olympics of Motocross, France's win at the 68th annual Motocross of Nations gave the country of Human Rights only their second ever win in the event preventing a repeat performance by the Belgiums and extending the United States winning drought to three years.

France's Gautier Paulin took the checkered flag in Moto 1 that pitted the MXGP (MX1) class against the MX2 class. Alexandr Tonkov of Russia grabbed the holeshot in the 18-lap race but quickly lost the lead to Paulin and then spent much of the Moto fending off Ryan Dungey of the United States. Dungey ultimately prevailed but he ran out of time to catch Paulin and settled on second.

Dungey's teammate Jeremy Martin rode in the MX2 class and after a late-gate pick pushed this year's 250 Class AMA Motocross Champion to the outside, he spent much of the race fighting for position. Martin, who rode with broken bones in his right foot, did appear to have trouble riding but managed to take 11th. The United States ended in second-place overall after Moto 1 with Belgium in third.

Moto 2 gave the MXGP class a break as MX2 went against the Open class. Steven Frossard of France grabbed the holeshot but was unable to hold off Kevin Strijbos of Belgium who was favored to win the event and which he did. Dean Wilson and Tommy Searle of Great Britain took third and fourth, respectively.

Eli Tomac of the United States took sixth-place just behind Fredrik Noren of Sweden. Both Tomac and Martin struggled for decent position at the start of the race. Martin again started the race on the outside and right turns proved difficult thanks to his ailing foot. He never entered the Top 10 and settled on 13th for his final Moto of the day.

The United States dropped to fourth-place after Moto 2, France held on to first and Great Britain jumped to second, pushing Belgium to third, just a point ahead of the US.

Moto 3 matched the MXGP class against the Open class where Jeremy Van Horebeek of Belgium took the holeshot who then tangled with Dennis Ullrich of Germany trading leads a few times. Their battle put a shadow on Paulin as he worked his way to the front halfway through the race. Paulin's second win of the day helped propel France to on overwhelming 2014 Motocross of Nations victory. Van Horebeek maintained his hold on second for Moto 3.

Eli Tomac and Ryan Dungey, starring for the United States in the final Moto, both got hung up in accidents and after just a few laps both riders were outside the Top 20. Tomac's crash came early on the first turn which sent him to the back of the pack. However, a suspension change after the prior Moto helped him to ride the lightning. Tomac set the fastest lap time and despite a stall with a few laps to go, took third. Dungey finished in 11th and the United States took third on the day tied in points with Great Britain. Wilson took fifth for Britain but his teammate Shaun Simpson pulled a DNF after a broken chain. Dungey's second-place finish in Moto 1 proved to be the podium tie-breaker with Great Britain.

Overall, France's 17 points bested Belgium's 27. In the MXoN, first-place winners receive one point rather than 25 like in Supercross and Motocross, and two points for second instead of 22, and so on. The country with the overall lowest score wins. The United States ended the 2014 campaign with 33 points.

France is set up nicely to win their first back-to-back Chamberlain Trophy as the 2015 Motocross of Nations is planned for Ernee, FR.

  1. France (17)
  2. Belgium (27)
  3. United States (33)
  4. Great Britain (33)
  5. Germany (72)
  6. Italy (73)
  7. Switzerland (74)
  8. Russia (75)
  9. Estonia (77)
  10. The Netherlands (80)