The French team won the 55th edition of the Motocross des Nations in Namur, Belgium, today, beating the Belgian and the New Zealand teams. With riders Luigi Seguy, David Vuillemin and Yves Demaria, the Frenchies had a historical day in a historical place!
The French squad was considered by many as a “B” team without Mickael Pichon and Sebastien Tortelli, but the three selected riders proved this weekend that they had a team spirit and a very good motivation for this event. They didn’t win any of the motos, but they had strong races and consistent performances, with Seguy (13th in one moto after a bad start and 15th in the other after two crashes), Vuillemin (third and fourth despite bad starts) and Demaria (fifth and third) each doing his part. All of them were motivated for this race: Seguy had to affirm the choice of the French manager, as other names had been on the list to race the 125cc class; Vuillemin had to race with an unfamiliar bike, as his mechanic got stuck in the USA; and Demaria had to prove that he is still one of the best riders on the GP circuit, despite a disappointing finish to this year’s 250cc GP series. With mid-pack starts, they all did their best, and on the podium they were all thinking of the absent Americans – winners last year in France.
On the runner-up Belgian team, Stefan Everts got the best-possible results on his favorite track, leading his two motos and easily winning both of them. Steve Ramon had great 125cc races, placing his Kawasaki 10th and eighth and winning easily the small-bike “race within a race.” Unfortunately, Joel Smets had a terrible day – “one of the most difficult days of my career” – as he had technical problems with his bike. He went off the track in the first moto, as he had problems with his brakes, and he caught a banner in his rear wheel. Nonetheless, he advanced to 10th when his engine broke on the final lap. In his second moto, Smets crashed with another rider, losing his radiator cap, which forced him to stop twice in the pits. The French team took then the lead in the event.
In third position is New Zealand, with consistent races from Hurley (competing in his first MXdN), Josh Coppins and Darryl King. Australia could have been on the podium, but Michael Byrne broke his wrist in the first moto. Chad Reed won the second moto, but was involved in a crash at the start of the last one.
2001 Motocross Des Nations Results:
1. France (Seguy, Vuillemin, Demaria) 28; 2. Belgium (Ramon, Smets, Everts) 37; 3. New Zealand (Hurley, Coppins, King) 47; 4. Great Britain (Sword, Nunn, Nicoll) 56; 5. Germany (Kanstinger, Beirer, Eckenbach) 57; 6. Australia (Byrne, Reed, McFarlane) 73; 7. Sweden (Johansson, Karlsson, Lindhe) 73; 8. Portugal (Goncalves, Rodrigues, Goncalves) 80; 9. South Africa (Swanepoel, Hunt, Dugmore) 90; 10. Finland (Pyrhonen, Vehvilainen, Aaltonen) 94; 11. Estonia 99; 12. Czech Republic 104; 13. Slovenia 109; 14. Ireland 113; 15. Netherlands 113; 16. Spain 115; 17. Italy 116; 18. Latvia 125; 19. Denmark 130; 20. Switzerland 149.