In front of 30,000 spectators the defending champions, Belgium, once again, won the Motocross of Nations, held this year at the Lierop circuit in Holland, yesterday. In overcast conditions, the Belgians, led by eight-time World Motocross Champion Stefan Everts took home the team championship. Second place went to home nations Holland, with France in third position.
For Everts it was his fifth Motocross of Nations victory, adding to his wins in 1995, 1997, 1998 and 2003. Everts rode with perfection once again, winning both his motos after a midweek crash that nearly ended his chances of even showing up in Lierop. Everts crashed during practice on the Wednesday and broke a bone in his face. Having spent all day Thursday in bed asleep, the Belgian legend then returned to Leirop and crushed his rivals with ease.
"I get a lot of pleasure from winning this year," Everts said. "After my crash I was not feeling very well. I slept for 12 hours on Thursday and had terrible headaches. It is also nice to win with Kevin Strijbos and Steve Ramon in the team; they are both young and can take over from me when I retire. The circuit was really rough, rougher than I have ridden for a long time and I have ridden so rough sand circuits in my time."
The New Zealand team, which many expected to take it to Belgium, had miserable luck. Ben Townley blew up his KTM motor in his second race after placing eighth in the opening moto, and Josh Coppins claimed a solid third position in his first race, before also DNFing with a clutch problem. The Kiwis eventually finished in seventh position.
2004 MOTOCROSS OF NATIONS RESULTS
MX1/MX2: 1. Stefan Everts (Yam); 2. Marc de Reuver (KTM); 3. Josh Coppins (Hon); 4. Jussi Vehvilainen (Hon); 5. Tanel Leok (Suz); 6. Ben Townley (KTM); 7. Tyla Rattray (KTM); 8. Gordon Crockard (Hon); 9. Antoine Meo (Kaw); 10. Gareth Swanepoel (KTM); 11. Erik Eggens (KTM); 12. Jonathan Barragan (KTM); 13. Steve Ramon (KTM); 14. Rui Goncalves (Yam); 15. Billy MacKenzie (Yam).
MX2/OPEN: 1. Mickael Pichon (Hon); 2. Kevin Strijbos (Suz); 3. Juss Laansoo (Hon); 4. Tyla Rattray (KTM); 5. Antti Pyrhonen (TM); 6. Blair Morgan (Yam); 7. Steve Ramon (KTM); 8. Bas Verhoeven (Hon); 9. Eric Eggens (KTM); 10. Yoshi Atsuta (Hon); 11. Paul Cooper (Hon); 12. Aigar Leok (KTM); 13. Cheyne Boyd (KTM); 14. Sebastien Pourcel (Kaw); 15. Daryl Hurley (Suz).
MX1/OPEN: 1. Stefan Everts (Yam); 2. Marc de Reuver (KTM); 3. Mickael Pichon (Hon); 4. Garath Swanepoel (KTM); 5. Tanel Leok (Suz); 6. Kevin Strijbos (Suz); 7. Rui Goncalves (KTM); 8. Jussi Vehvilainen (Hon); 9. Antti Pyrhonen (tm) , 10. Billy MacKenzie (Yam); 11. Gordon Crockard (Hon); 12. Paul Cooper (Hon); 13. Jean Sebastien Roy (Hon); 14. Antoine Meo (Kaw); 15. Bas Verhoeven (Hon).
TEAM: 1. Belgium 17; 2. The Netherlands 32; 3. France 41; 4. Estonia 41; 5. South Africa 41; 6. Finland 46; 7. New Zealand 76; 8. Canada 79; 9. Great-Britain 86; 10. Portugal 90; 11. Germany 105; 12. Spain 115; 13. Australia 118; 14. Ireland 123; 15. Italy 131