It's over. I know, I know you guys read my predictions on the MXoN here and laughed at them now but that's fine with me. I'm still trying to process what exactly happened at RedBud in terms of Team USA. I mean, I'm shocked they didn't at least grab a podium. Like, seriously? Oh man, it wasn't good but at least Team USA won the first inaugural Pit Bike of Nations. Wait, that doesn't really matter? Dammit.
Even though I'm Canadian, I live in the USA and I do want the team to do well because at the Motocross of Nations I have been to where America wins, the after parties are epic. But for seven years now, it's been pack up and go home with no Limoncello shots. It didn't go well for Team USA but I'm here to offer up a litany of excuses, things I'm hearing out there, reading out there and see whether or not they are valid excuses for the seventh defeat in a row. Ok, ready?
|1) TRACK WAS TOO SANDY|
It definitely was different from the traditional Redbud and Aaron Plessinger told me as much afterwards, but he lost and could be trying to explain his riding, so let's go to winner Dylan Ferrandis and, yup, he said the same thing. So, yeah, different track but guess what? The layout was ninety-five percent the same and Team USA wasn't on the pace from the first practice on. Guess what, the track's the same for everyone and guess what again? I talked to the track owner and he threw sand down on the new start section and a bit on the off-camber and that was it, so everything there was native to the track.
EXCUSE METER: I'll give this one a two out of ten. Not buying it bro.
|2) MXGP RIDERS ARE ALLOWED TO HAVE WORKS BIKES|
Yeah, I mean there is a difference here. Imagine having to race the one hundred-meter final against a bunch of dudes with running shoes on but you have bare feet. Ok, it's not that drastic but the fact is the USA has to run quieter (ie slower) mufflers and different fuel and as well their frames, swingarms and crankcases have to be stock. The KTM's/Husky's seemed unbelievable at RedBud (all the people who watched all the GP's right now are nodding) and I'm sure the frames are built to specs for their riders. There's plenty of cool stuff on the bikes in Europe while the Americans can't change much or develop new parts just for this race. It's funny, I can't tell you how many Motocross of Nations I've been to where someone from Europe tells me they can't believe how stiff the USA guys suspension is. #SXProblems.
EXCUSE METER: This is somewhat legit, but guess what? When USA was winning sixty-four MXoN's in a row the same rules were in place. Still, I think the MXGP bikes are better because they're more suited towards the specific riders. Let's go with a four out of ten.
|3) THE EUROS USE A STARTING GRATE|
Nope, we have that in supercross now so everyone started on them many times. Plus there are practice starts before practice begins. I mean, I guess it's been six months since our guys started on them but you know they have them at the practice tracks. But sweet Jesus did Team USA's starts suck balls.
EXCUSE METER: Zero, bro. A big fat zero.
|4) TEAM USA ISN'T A TEAM ANYMORE|
Lots of calls, and they are getting louder, that Team USA manager Roger DeCoster should step aside and let someone else take a turn to see if they can change things up. With DeCoster being promoted by KTM to some sort of bigwig, he won't be as involved next year so maybe this is time. Yes, there are always whispers about how Roger really doesn't do that much for the team. After all, everyone who comes over brings everyone from their own teams. There could be more unity on the team for sure (France is sure doing that and, hey, they are winning) but it's not the reason USA has been getting its ass kicked at this race lately. They are not good enough on the track, bottom line.
EXCUSE METER: Let's go with a two. If the riders need DeCoster to hug and talk to them more to do better, they have bigger issues than that.
|5) TEAM USA IS ALL SUPERCROSS, ALL THE TIME|
This is true, supercross and motocross are quite different and the USA guys spend about eight months testing and racing indoors and four of them with motocross. So, yeah, bike settings are influenced by supercross and the riders need to get into the motocross mode for this race. It's not easy as the MXGP riders just do motocross year in and year out. Watching our guys slam into berms and bury their bikes, you can see they are not exactly outdoor warriors.
EXCUSE METER: It's a factor for sure, let’s go with a five out of ten. Again, nothing changed from when USA was kicking ass so…
|6) THE TIME FROM END OF NATIONALS TO MXON|
Yeah, this is also a factor. Our USA riders stop racing and it's natural, after a year that starts in January, to relax a bit after the last national. It's hard to ramp everything back up and get into full attack mode. There is the Monster Energy Cup coming up too that the riders do have to test for at some point. The MXGP guys? Yeah, they raced LAST WEEKEND. Advantage to those guys in my mind.
EXCUSE METER: C'mon, even if you are a Team USA hater (and it does seem at this event that it's USA versus the world) you have to admit that it's a real valid excuse to why USA has been losing. The MXGP series keeps getting longer and longer, the USA season has been shorter and shorter since MX Sports took over (due to TV contract). I'll go with a seven out of ten.
|7) EXCUSES ARE FOR LOSERS|
Yeah, pretty much. What I listed are possible "reasons" for Team USA getting worked at their home track. Some people will see them as just that, reasons. Others will say they are "excuses" and whatever, I cannot argue that either. I just know that Team USA wasn't anywhere near good enough for the second year in a row and that's got to change.
I just don't know how.
Words: Steve Matthes | Lead Image: ConwayMX