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There was just no way that it could happen. There were so many hurdles placed in front of Team USA that would have made competing in the 2020 Motocross of Nations, now set to be held in the United Kingdom, impossible. In fact, they were not even hurdles. There was simply no way to overcome the different issues. Why is it then that a majority of fans have chosen to ignore such obstacles and start berating the squad?
There is a pandemic going on, as everyone is painfully aware, which is the first problem. Shipping hundreds of people overseas for a race that no one is actually contracted to do would not be the wisest of moves in the current climate. There would have been some that would have been keen, sure, but the fact that there is a Lucas Oil Pro Motocross round on that same date makes it impossible. Case closed. It is laughable when the uninformed state anyone outside of the title fight – anyone from third back could slot into that category – should forgo a national race in favour of a rapid transatlantic trip over to the United Kingdom. That would make planning impossible, first of all, and why would anyone give up a top-ten ranking in such a prestigious series? Acquiring that (and a similar result indoors) is what they work for.
The Motocross of Nations needs Team USA – they are the stars of the race no matter if they end up in first or last. This is an odd time though and crushing blows like their absence go along with that. The announcement from the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) included a quote that acted like a beacon of light though, as it was mentioned that the AMA look forward to returning to the event next year and challenging for the Chamberlain Trophy. Halleluiah! There is a constant fear that the hassle of travelling overseas will outweigh the reward for Team USA and we will lose them for a prolonged period, which would just be disastrous. Do not let anyone else tell you otherwise. The quote reinforces the fact that, as a federation, the interest in the event is as great as ever. What more could a fan want?
A win could even come as soon as 2021, as the event is rumoured to be held at Maggiora. Those pessimistic fans will immediately point to the last time that the Motocross of Nations was run at the historic track and state that the USA did not even finish in the top two then. What would change? Oh, how wrong that is. The USA should have won that event – they were the best team. Cruel luck robbed them of that, but that could have been a win. The same goes for the term prior in Ernee, France, when they were perfect. It so happens that Team France were just a tad more perfect on the day, but it could have easily been another Team USA win. The point is that Team USA have been better than most give them credit for, despite the fact that they are working through a losing streak that no one would have foreseen.
Even the 2019 Motocross of Nations, where they ended up buried down in sixth and behind Team Estonia, was not as bad as the results may make it seem. Very few people had them pegged to succeed in the unique sand that was plonked on top of the Assen TT Circuit, yet Saturday was an undoubted success. Sunday may have followed suit, had it not been for Justin Cooper and Jason Anderson crashing into each other in a very strange turn of events. How many people recall how strong the trio were in qualifying though? There is an odd need across a majority of fans to point out faults in Team USA, rather than celebrate success. Why? It has to be because the bar was set so extremely high in the early 2000s. That was a phenomenal run, but that does not mean that anything less than a dominant win nowadays is a failure.
Team USA will return to the Motocross of Nations in 2021, as long as there is not a pandemic of some sort. The race will be better for it and everyone can once again enjoy (or struggle to bear) the endless discussions that come with that. For now, though, everyone is muddling through the current season as best as possible. The American riders are doing what they need to do Stateside and Grand Prix riders will be doing the same in Europe. That priority list does not include the MXoN, by the way. Why else do you think that it has been merged with the Grand Prix of Winchester?
Words: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: Ray Archer