It didn't take long for the drama to start at the Motocross des Nations, and it affected both the favorite teams. The U.S. and France both had problems in the first heat, which put 125cc- and 500cc-class riders out on the track together, but the U.S. came out on the better end.
Things had already gotten interesting by turn one, where Travis Pastrana took a tumble and re-mounted in dead last. Fortunately for him, French 125cc rival Stephane Roncada had also started poorly.
Meanwhile, up at the front, Englishman James Dobb took over the lead from Peter Johansson early on, and led for almost the entire moto. Ryan Hughes quickly put himself into a distant third, where he also ran nearly the whole time. As for his French open-class counterpart, Frederic Bolley dropped out early on, the victim of a rock to the nose that resulted in some profuse bleeding. The nose is suspected to be broken, but Bolley plans to contest his second moto.
Grant Langston was leading the 125s, even dicing with some of the top 500s, but most of the attention in the race was focused on Roncada and Pastrana, who were quickly involved in an epic battle that lasted nearly the entire race. Once Pastrana had caught up up to the Frenchman, he hounded him for lap after lap, and finally soared by in a ballsy move on a huge downhill jump on the final lap. That put him in 10th overall, second 125cc.
As for Dobb, he was once again the victim of the British team's streak of horrible luck. Leading on the final lap, his big KTM thumper took a rock to the case, and for the second time of the weekend, lost its oil. Dobb coasted down the final hill and retained second, while Hughes grabbed the win.
With France getting one DNF and Pastrana beating Roncada, the USA obviously holds the advantage in the battle against France, and in fact the stars and stripes hold the overall lead at this point.
Next up is the second moto, which will field the125 and 250cc divisions.
MOTO ONE RESULTS: 1. Ryan Hughes (Hon) USA; 2. James Dobb (KTM) Great Britain; 3. Andrea Bartolini (Yam) Italy; 4. Peter Johansson (KTM) Sweden; 5. Francisco Garcia (Yam) Spain; 6. Grant Langston (KTM) South Africa; 7. Chad Reed (Yam) Australia; 8. Erwin Machtlinger (Hon) Austria; 9. Mike Aaltonen (Hus) Finland; 10. Travis Pastrana (Suz) USA; 11. Stephane Roncada (Yam) France; 12. Thomas Traversini (Hus) Italy; 13. Michal Kadlecek (Suz) Czech Republic; 14. Ryuichiro Takahama (Hon) Japan; 15. Patrick Caps (KTM) Belgium; 16. Marco Dorsch (KTM) Germany; 17. Akira Narita (Hon) Japan; 18. Carl Nunn (Yam) Great Britain; 19. Joaquim Rodrigues (Hon) Portugal; 20. Jussi Vehhvilainen (Hon) Finland.
TEAM STANDINGS: 1. USA (10/1); 2. Italy (12/3); 3. Spain (18/2); 4. South Africa (23/5); 5. Finland (6/22); 6. Japan (17/4). (France 17th, with 11/DNF).