It's official. After going three years without winning the coveted MX des Nations cup, the United States has emerged victorious, besting the rest of the world and moving to within one win of Great Britain's record 16 victories.
The U.S. had the lead going into moto three, which included 250 and 500cc-class riders, so most expected the stars and stripes to play it conservative. But Ricky Carmichael came out with both guns blazing, passing Italian Andrea Bartolini for the lead on the first lap. But Frenchman Sebastien Tortelli, riding for the honor of his country, moved up onto the Kawasaki's rear fender on the fifth lap, jumped up next to Carmichael on a big plateau, then moved around him in the following turn. With his home crowd beside itself, Tortelli rode his Honda like a man possessed, putting nearly 15 seconds on Carmichael before the finish. Bartolini held on for second (and the Open-class win), with Belgian Marnicq Bervoets a distant fourth. In fifth was American Ryan Hughes, who - having sat out the bulk of the season with injuries - was completely depleted of energy at the finish.
The other Frenchman - World Champion Frederic Bolley - surprised many when he showed up at the start, his ruined nose covered in tape. The Honda rider rode a couple of laps, but as he was back in the laps and in danger of having his nose further damaged by roost, he pulled out of the race.
Defending champion Italy finished an impressive second place, with Andrea Bartolini leading his countrymen with a pair of third-place finishes. In third was Belgium, with World Champion Joel Smets heroically competing despite an infected cut on his elbow. Smets nearly elected to sit out moto three, but was convinced to ride by team manager Joel Robert.
2000 MOTOCROSS DES NATIONS
MOTO THREE RESULTS: 1. Sebastien Tortelli (Hon) France; 2. Ricky Carmichael (Kaw) USA; 3. Andrea Bartolini (Yam) Italy; 4. Marnicq Bervoets (Yam) Belgium; 5. Ryan Hughes (Hon) USA; 6. Greg Albertyn (Suz) South Africa; 7. Gordon Crockard (Hon) Ireland; 8. Paul Cooper (Hus) Great Britain; 9. Joel Smets (KTM) Belgium; 10. Darryll King (Hus) New Zealand; 11. Joshua Coppins (Suz) New Zealand; 12. Yoshitaka Atsuta (Hon) Japan; 13. Claudio Federici (Yam) Italy; 14. Erwin Machtlinger (Hon) Austria; 15. James Dobb (KTM) Great Britain; 16. Francisco Garcia (Yam) Spain; 17. Mike Aaltonen (Hus) Finland; 18. Lauris Freibergs (Hon) Latvia; 19. Jiri Cepelak (Yam) Czech Republic; 20. Andrew McFarlane (Kaw) Australia.
FINAL TEAM STANDINGS: 1. USA (10/1, 15/1, 2/5); 2. Italy (12/3, 22/5, 13/3); 3. Belgium (15/DNF, 13/3, 4/9); 4. Great Britain (18/2, 24/4, 8/15); 5. South Africa (6/22, 11/10, 6/27); 6. Japan (17/14, 12/7, 12/23); 7. Australia (DNF/7, 21/26, 20/25); 8. Finland (20/9, 25/28, DNF/17); 9. Czech Republic (26/13, 33/19, 19/26); 10. Germany (16/DNF, 32/14, 21/22).