The news came down this that France, winners of the last four Motocross of Nations, had left off Red Bull KTM's Marvin Musquin and it was big news this week for the right reasons. At first I thought that Musquin had to have an injury that needed attention after the season or his trainer, Aldon Baker, talked him out racing for his country. Baker is not a fan of any extra races outside of the twenty-nine that the USA calendar calls for. Seriously, there had to be a reason that Musquin was not racing that was his decision. No chance that the FFM (French federation) did not select the Frenchman who's second in the 450MX series and coming off a win at the VERY SAME track that the race is to be held at, right?
But uhhh yeah, that is EXACTLY what they did. Musquin confirmed it today on his personal Facebook page that he did want to race, that French federation manager Jacques Bolle came to RedBud to see him and make sure he was motivated. Seriously, Bolle had to check on Musquin's motivation? This is one of the world's best racers that has represented France before at the Motocross of Nations and ridden his balls off. Check on his motivation? I had to read that three times to make sure that Marv wasn't losing something in translation.
Look, I know the French have been killing it at this race and I know they had an enduro rider on their team last year and still won, but this is a pretty arrogant decision in my opinion. This is basically like being able to pick LeBron James in a pick-up basketball game and saying, "Nah, I’ll go with the short white guy."
Maybe it will work and we will all shake our heads in amazement but this whole thing reeks of politics badly. There is no strategic reason to pass up a guy who has raced and won at RedBud; the costs are lower to have him ride, he has won for the country before etc. Musquin has been left off the team before to some consternation of the French fans but, in those cases, I remember there being some sane rational for skipping over him. I cannot fathom one logical reason why in 2018 you would not go with Marvin Musquin if you want the best chance to make it five in a row. The FFM just needs to level with everyone and explain what Marv did that made it impossible to select him. At least we will know the shady backroom talks that went into this.
Frenchman David Vuillemin, who has ridden for France before and won at this race, wrote in HIS column over on PulpMX about it saying, "It's just ludicrous and I’m ashamed of my federation today and it’s not the first time…" I think that about sums it up. Hey France, Team USA thanks you a ton for this decision. See you at RedBud.
Words: Steve Matthes | Lead Image: KTM Images/Simon Cudby