So, the 2013 Motocross des Nations is now behind us. The MXdN offered up a few surprises, and plenty of topics for us to bench-race about. In all of the excitement, there are some riders that will get overlooked, despite the fact that they put in great individual performances. However, that is what ‘Under the Radar’ is here for! So, lets take a look at some of the riders that exceeded our expectations in the crowded German valley.
You guys need to trust me when I say this: Shaun Simpson was very impressive at the MXdN. Admittedly, his results on-paper do not immediately lead you to believe this, but rotten luck hindered him in the overall finishes. If Shaun had been able to complete both races without any issues, I am certain that he would have finished comfortably inside of the top ten. What was this bad luck that I speak of? Judging by the amount of questions we got on Twitter, it seems as though most of you noticed that the Scotsman faded around the halfway distance in the MX2/Open moto. Well, as expected, it was because of a mechanical issue – Shaun had no front, or back, brake. It is remarkable that he stayed out on-track in order to salvage an eighteenth, it says a lot about him, as he clearly knew that he had to do whatever he could for his country.
Unfortunately, his black cloud hovered over him in the final moto, also, as he was caught up in a first turn pileup, which ultimately hindered Great Britain in the overall team classification. When he got up, it would have been quite easy to throw in the towel. However, Shaun pushed on and fought through the pack for the duration of the forty-minute moto. Of course, fighting to a twelfth place finish is impressive. However, what I find most intriguing about his ride is that he trailed Justin Barcia every single lap – the American never broke free. In fact, Shaun proved to be the faster rider by the end!
It is quite funny to think that many were questioning whether Shaun should have been picked for our Motocross des Nations team just a few weeks ago. In my opinion, there is no way that any other rider that wasn’t on the team would have been able to do a better job. If Shaun had not of encountered all of that bad luck, who knows where he would have finished individually.
Although there is no doubting the fact that Dean Ferris is very fast, I certainly did not expect him to come out at Teutschenthal and stick his Monster Energy Yamaha in the top five twice. Dean was really strong throughout the weekend, as he even managed to top the times in the MX2 practice session on Saturday morning, which should have been an indication that he would be on for some good results. Personally, I found his performance in the MX2 qualifier most impressive, as he kept Ken Roczen honest for the duration of the moto. How competitive was Ferris’ speed? The Australian actually set a faster time than Ken! Dean seemingly had the speed to deliver great results – he did just that.
Honestly, I expected very little from Max Nagl going into the Motocross des Nations. Obviously, his season has been quite disastrous, so it would have been unrealistic for him to come out and battle at the front of the pack, right? On Saturday, it didn’t look great for him either, as he struggled to match the pace of the top guys. Max seemed much more comfortable on the Sunday though, as he posted much stronger results. Although his eleventh place finish in moto one does not seem great on paper, he had to push forward from outside of the top thirty.
It was his ride in the final moto that caught my attention, and got him a spot in this column. Max is typically a great starter, but his holeshots have also disappeared this year. So, it was great to see him back up front as the guys rounded the first corner in the MX1/Open moto. Despite the fact that Nagl had some very fast competition jump in behind him, he managed to hold the lead for eleven laps, which is remarkable when you consider how the year has gone for him. Admittedly, he dropped to fourth eventually, but it was a great performance nonetheless – he certainly did what he had to do for his nation.
Words by Lewis Phillips
Image courtesy of Elliot Spencer