MATTERLEY BASIN, ENGLAND, SEPT 23: Team USA established itself as the team to beat in tomorrow’s Fox Motocross of Nations by going 1-1-2 in the three qualifying races held this afternoon at the Matterley Basin Course near Winchester, England.

In the MX1 qualifying race, James Stewart (right) put his factory Kawasaki into the lead at the start and pulled a quick gap before backing off the pace and leading 10-time World Champion Stefan Everts (Yam) to the finish.

Great Britain’s Billy MacKenzie gave the extremely large and vocal crowd something to cheer about by finishing third, ahead of New Zealand’s Josh Coppins (Hon).

Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto (below) grabbed the holeshot at the start of the MX2 race and battled briefly with Team France’s Christophe Pourcel (Kaw) before pulling away to a comfortable win. 2005 MX2 World Champion Antonio Cairoli worked his way up to third from a poor start, while Ben Townley (NZL) and Tyla Rattray (RSA) rounded out the top five.

In the MX3 race, Team USA’s Ivan Tedesco kept Steve Ramon in sight for the distance of the race, finishing second behind the Belgian Suzuki rider. Early leader Wyatt Avis of South Africa ended up in third.

Today’s course was fast and not as rough as the American riders would like, but things should be more to the US squad’s liking tomorrow as long as the organizers don’t do too much work to it overnight.

In a surprise press conference held after the qualifying races, Team KTM Europe announced that in 2007 it will be based out of the factory in Austria with retiring World Champion Stefan Everts as the MX1/MX2 race Director.

Shan Moore

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