The 2002 Motocross of Nations, held at the Bellpuig circuit in Northern Spain, has been won by the Italian team of Alessio Chiodi, Andrea Bartolini and Alex Puzar today.
The Italian team entered the event as clear favorites and not once throughout the weekend did they falter. In the all important single moto final, the three riders placed second (Bartolini), third (Chiodi) and ninth (Puzar). With the two best scores being counted, Italy finished the day with five points, while Belgium came home in second place with KTM-mounted Peter Iven in fifth place and fellow KTM rider Danny Theybers in sixth place for 11 points. Third place went to Finland with 12 points after CAS Honda rider Jussi Vehvilainen finished fourth and Marco Kovalainen picked up eight place.
For home team Spain it was a mixed day. Local favorite Javier Vico Garcia won the main event, but the second best Spanish rider was Oscar Lanze in 12th - not enough to get the Spaniards on the podium.
The Italian team of Andrea Bartolini, Alessio Chiodi and Alex Puzar lived up to their pre-event hype as favorites for the 2002 Motocross of Nations by taking pole position for Sunday's semi-final races after the quickest qualification times on Saturday. Two of the squad, Bartolini and Chiodi, were part of the 1999 winning threesome and both clocked times in their respective qualifying groups to place the tri-color trio in the number one slot ahead of France, Finland and then Spain.
In the semi-final action on Sunday morning it was again the Italian team who dominated the first moto. Loaded with three former World Motocross Champions, the strong effort from Italy was of no surprise. Three-time World 125cc Motocross champion Alessio Chiodi finished with the victory, just ahead teammate and former World 500cc champion Andrea Bartolini, Finland’s Jussi Vehvilainen on the CAS Honda machine came home in third place, Belgian Danny Theybers (KTM) in fourth and Antti Pyrhonen (Honda) rounding out the top five. Former World 125cc/250cc Motocross champion Alex Puzar, on a Husqvarna, and the third member of the Italian team managed to claim sixth place, giving Italy the best spot on the grid for the main event with their first, second and sixth-place finishes.
The second semi-final was won by Ireland's Gordon Crockard on a KTM, followed by fellow KTM rider Javier Vico Garcia of Spain, Roman Jelen (Honda) of Slovenian, and two French riders Thierry Bethys (Honda) and Serge Guidetty (Honda) in fourth and fifth places, respectively. Further back in sixth place was Chris Martin (Suzuki) in seventh was Czech Republic’s Jiri Cepelak (Honda) and in eighth place another Slovenian rider Michal Kragelj (Yamaha). France took the main points in the second moto with their fourth, fifth and sixth positions, pitting them alongside Italy on the grid in the final.
2002 MOTOCROSS DES NATIONS RESULTS
Main event: 1. Javier Vico Garcia (Spain) 2. Andrea Bartolini (Italy) 3. Alessio Chiodi (Italy); 4. Jussi Vehvilainen (Finland) 5. Peter Iven (Belgium); 6. Danny Theybers (Belgium) 7. Joke Karlsson (Sweden) 8. Marco Kovalianen (Finland); 9. Alex Puzar (Italy) 10. Thierry Bethys (France) 11. Antti Pyrohonen (Finland) 12. Oscar Lanze (Spain); 13. Johnny Lindhe (Sweden) 14. Serge Guidetty (France); 15. Tanel Leok (Estonia).
POINTS: 1. Italy 5 pts, 2. Belgium 11 pts, 3. Finland 12 pts, 4. Spain 13 pts, 5. Sweden 20 pts.