Alessi to KTM Factory in Austria

In an expected mover rumors have the Mike Alessi to KTM is all but a done deal. Mike will skip Supercross and ride a few over seas races including two Supercross races in England and a few GP’s. Mike will also throw a leg over a all new 350 with linkage and is rumored to be a contender right away. The word is that he is not riding it during Supercross because of homologation rules, but we all know why he isn’t.

I think this is great new and signs of KTM’s commitment to the US Racing Market. There have been more than a few bumps in the road for KTM over the last decade and this is a good way to change things in a new direction. Management has changed within the US, MDK is backing a way and Jeigermeister is stepping in.

My question is now that we are sending Mike over there when will they send Tony back for a few races?

A History of the Motocross des Nations

This is a great article on the history of the Motocross des Nations (now called Motocross of Nations), as this year’s event gets ready to take place in Italy. It is courtesy of Marc Pétrier and the FIM (Federation Internationale Motocycliste).

First years: dominance of the British team

Motocross, known as “scramble” when it was “invented” in the 20’s, developed quickly in the 30’s. After the war, the FIM elevated this sport at international level by giving birth to the Motocross des Nations, a classic event which has been run annually ever since, with 500cc motorcycles.

The inaugural event was held near The Hague, in the Netherlands, on 20 July 1947. Three nations were invited – the Netherlands, Belgium and Great Britain. The first team title went to Great Britain, composed of Bill Nicholson (BSA), Fred Rist (BSA) and Bob Ray (Ariel) in front of Belgium.

The second “Nations” contest took place in August 1948 in La Fraineuse, close to the Belgian city of Spa. National federations of France, Sweden and Luxembourg were also invited for an event dominated by the local team. Nic Jansen, Marcel Cox and Andre Milhoux took first, second and fifth places, clinching the first Trophy for Belgium.

At the end of August 1949 it was the turn of Great Britain to host the event at Brands Hatch. Great Britain won the competition for the second time, thus keeping the Cup indefinitely. The ACU then donated another Cup for the competition’s winning team. The Vice-President of the FIM International Sporting Commission Peter Chamberlain had always been a strong supporter of Motocross, and worked a great deal on behalf of the national teams’ competition. After he passed away in 1954, the cup was officially named after him.

In the 50s, the British dominance was quite strong: seven victories out of 10 in the Motocross des Nations before 1960. The only exceptions were the victories of Belgium in 1951 and Sweden in 1955 and 1958.

A competition for 250cc machines, named the Trophée des Nations, was created by the FIM as from the 1961 season. Victories in the first years were clinched by the Swedes after two initial successes for Great Britain. In the 500cc team event Great Britain lost against Sweden in 1961/62, but then won five years in a row, reaching the number of 14 victories in 20 years, however their last win was in 1967 and it would take 27 years before they won again.

Hard fights in the 60’s and 70’s

In Kishinev – then in the Soviet Union – the Russian team took the Chamberlain Trophy for the first time. Then Belgium finally won again the Trophy in Farleigh Castle (1969) after chasing after it for 18 years, with legendary names such as Roger de Coster, Joel Robert and Sylvain Geboers.

The 70’s saw a big change at the mechanical level, with the massive arrival of Japanese manufacturers. Suzuki started first, quickly followed by Yamaha, Honda and Kawasaki. The first years of the decade were shared between Sweden and Belgium. In Sweden 1974, behind the local team, a US team appeared for the first time on the rostrum, in the second place, composed of Jim Pomeroy (Bultaco), Brad Lackey (Husqvarna), Marty Tripes (Husqvarna) and Jimmy Weinert (Kawasaki), just ahead of the Russian squad (with World Champion Guennady Moisseev). In 1975 in Czechoslovakia, the local team finished ahead of Belgium – despite the presence of three World Champions, Roger de Coster, Harry Everts and Gaston Rahier – and Great Britain. Two wins of the Belgian team preceded the second victory of a Russian team, still with Guennady Moisseev.

In the Trophée des Nations contest, Belgium conquered all titles except one (Russia in 1979) as of 1969 until 1980. In the Motocross des Nations Belgium again won two titles (79, 80) before the American domination became effective. Having missed both events in the two previous years, the American team arrived at Lommel in Belgium in September 1981 for the Trophée des Nations with four Honda riders. The team manager was former World Champion Roger de Coster – who had just quit racing the previous year. Danny LaPorte, Chuck Sun, Johnny O’Mara and Donnie Hansen destroyed the opposition, and one week later won again in the Motocross des Nations in Bielstein, Germany. Changes were made in the team from one year to the next, but it did not change anything. The American field was full of top riders during the 80s, and De Coster’s team got eight victories (four in each team competition) in four years.

In 1980 the FIM decided to introduce a third Motocross team contest with 125cc motorcycles: the Coupe des Nations. The Italian team led by Michele Rinaldi won the first two titles, followed by Belgium (with Eric Geboers) and the Netherlands (with Kees Van der Ven and John Van de Berk).

1985: new format

In 1985 a new format combining all three classes in a single competition, the Motocross des Nations, was introduced by the FIM, gathering all three classes (125cc, 250cc and 500cc) with one rider in each class and three races per event: 125/500, 125/250, 250/500.

However, nothing could stop the Americans until 1994, after 17 consecutive victories (13 in the Motocross des Nations, and the last four of the Trophée des Nations). Great Britain meets success again in Roggenburg, Switzerland, with Kurt Nicoll, Rob Herring and Paul Malin.

The American team always integrated world-recognized top riders. Danny “Magoo” Chandler won all four heats in the team contests in 1982, but perhaps the greatest win of all came at Maggiora (Italy) in 1986 when America’s trio of supercross and motocross championship riders of David Bailey, Ricky Johnson and Johnny O’Mara went through all three heats unbeaten by the rest of the world.

After Great Britain’s win in 1994, it was the turn of Belgium to be back at the top of the competition in 1995 with Stefan Everts, Joel Smets and Marnicq Bervoets. But the Americans were still there. In ’96 in Jerez (Spain), the team driven by multi-time supercross champion Jeremy McGrath beat the French and Belgian teams. Then, the US team would be off the rostrum for three consecutive years: two Belgian wins – at home in Nismes, then under the rain and in the mud of Foxhill – were followed by the first crown for Italy (with World Champions Andrea Bartolini and Alessio Chiodi, and also Claudio Federici), in 1999 in Brazil, ahead of France and Belgium. Once again the Americans were back in 2000 in St Jean d’Angély, led by their new top rider Ricky Carmichael. The Americans did not take part in the event for two years. In Namur 2001, it was finally the turn of the French team to clinch their first victory (with David Vuillemin, Yves Demaria and Luigi Séguy), beating the Belgians on their home track. Italy won a perturbed 2002 edition, and Belgium – still with the record holder in individual World titles Stefan Everts – won the competition in 2003 (in Zolder, Belgium) and 2004 (in Lierop, the Netherlands), before the US went back to the first place in the last four editions, James Stewart having replaced Carmichael as the team’s top rider in 2006.

You will start to see’s coverage of the 2009 Motocross of Nations starting Thursday night.

2010 Kawasaki KX 450F

OK, let’s start with that stuff we’ll call ‘the specifications’. You’ve got to be a real supercross or motocross fanatic if you dig this info!

Engine – Liquid-cooled, four-stroke single with DOHC and four valves

Displacement – 449cc

Bore x stroke – 96.0 x 62.1mm

Compression ratio – 12.5:1

Fuel Injection – 43mm Keihin Throttle body

Ignition – Digital DC-CDI

Transmission – Five-speed

Rake / trail – 26.7 degrees / 4.6 in.

Front suspension / wheel travel – 48mm inverted, Kayaba AOS with DLC coated sliders, 22-position compression and 20-position rebound dampening adjustment / 12.4 in.

Rear suspension / wheel travel – UNI-TRAK® linkage system and Kayaba shock with 50mm piston, 22-position low-speed and step-less high-speed compression dampening, 22-position rebound dampening and fully adjustable spring pre-load / 12.4 in.

Front tire – 90/100-21

Rear tire – 120/80-19

Front brake – Single semi-floating 250mm petal disc with dual piston caliper

Rear brake – Single 240mm petal disc with single-piston caliper

Overall length – 86.0 in.

Overall width – 32.3 in.

Overall height – 50.4 in.

Wheelbase – 58.3 in.

Ground clearance – 13.4 in

Seat height – 38.0 in.

Curb weight – 250.4 lbs.

Fuel capacity – 1.9 gal.

Color – Lime Green

Well, all that cool info about the 2010 Kawasaki KX 450F is nice .. but we aren’t that much into being ‘gear-heads’ … we just want to ride.

On our brief ride at Pala Raceway, we can say without any doubts – this is a nice ride. Smooth. Fuel injection is smooth too. Smooth pretty much describes this bike all the way around, … motor, suspension, power delivery – all very smooth.

Here’s what Kawasaki says about their bike (and they should be proud):

The 2010 Kawasaki KX 450F provides an ideal platform for riders looking to win races. Its precise aluminum frame, premium suspension components and expert-tuned settings are designed to deliver superb high-speed stability, enabling racers to capitalize on its amazing engine performance. Hole-shot acceleration is delivered by a strong power-band and optimized chassis geometry specifically engineered to maximize rear wheel traction. Monster Energy Kawasaki rider Ryan Villopoto used his new KX450F to win several AMA Supercross and Motocross races, during his first year on a 450.

That’s nice too. All we know is – it looks good, rides good … and we’d like a couple for our garage.

Oh yeah … you can check out more info on the 2010 Kawasaki KX 450F at … along with all their other supercross and motocross offerings

David Bailey, Rick Johnson & Johnny O’Mara look back at 1986 MX of Nations, as everyone looks forward to the upcoming 2009 Motocross of Nations

Italy – September 21st 1986 is a day the motocross industry will never forget. In Maggiora, Italy, the most legendary edition of the FIM Motocross of Nations (back then called FIM Motocross des Nations) took place in front of a huge crowd.

The atmosphere was unreal. Everything was perfect: the location, the weather, the teams, the racing and the fans. It was so special that it’s almost impossible to describe it with words.

On such a unique day, plenty of magical things happened, thanks to the most memorable Team the United States has put together in the history of the event: David Bailey, Ricky Johnson and Johnny O’Mara.

The three American Honda riders and friends, guided by the expert hand of Team Honda and Team USA’s manager Roger De Coster, left their mark in the record book for the Team win and for three outstanding individual performances. With those four names – you have an incredible history of the sport of motocross – De Coster, originally from Belgium, winner of five world motocross titles, and a member of so many winning Belgian Trohpee and Motocross des Nations teams … David Bailey, a multi-time AMA Supercross and Motocross Champion (four total), … Johnny O’Mara, another rider who won both AMA Supercross and AMA Motocross titles …. and Rick Johnson, a seven-time AMA Supercross and Motocross Champion.

Just as importantly, they left an indelible mark in the heart of 40,000 lucky spectators and of the fans all over the world that saw the race on television or read about it in magazines.

With his signature finesse, David Bailey staged an impeccable & elegant performance on his 500cc Honda, in front of a world audience.

Rick Johnson showed why he was considered the leader in a new riding trend, combining speed and spectacle on his 250cc Honda, and from then on became the most loved American rider of the decade.

Johnny O’Mara did the impossible on the smaller 125cc machine when he beat everyone on the track except his teammate Bailey in the 500/125 moto. Particularly breathtaking was the moment he passed ’86 500cc World Motocross Champion David Thorpe, to eventually finish second.

David Bailey, Rick Johnson and Johnny O’Mara were exceptional and hard working riders, but also excelled with their down-to-earth attitude with the industry and the fans, which has made them uniquely loved.

Those three members of the 1986 Team USA have been eagerly looking forward to attending the 2009 Red Bull FIM Motocross of Nations at Franciacorta on October 4-5th, the event returning to Italy 23 years from that glorious day in 1986.

While Rick Johnson has already booked a front-row seat at the Autodromo Daniel Bonara for the 2009 edition to celebrate the memory of that magic day of September 1986, David Bailey and Johnny O’Mara won’t be able to salute in person the fans and the industry as desired.

Here are Bailey, Johnson and O’Mara’s statements regarding the fantastic 1986 MXoN of Maggiora and the upcoming 2009 Red Bull FIM Motocross of Nations.

David Bailey: “The 1986 Maggiora event was spectacular! The awesome track, the Italian fans filling the hillsides, O’Mara’s incredible ride and our perfect score make Maggiora my favorite MX of Nations. For Giuseppe Luongo, it was his first major event and the look of it added even more to the atmosphere. Some say he has come a long way over the years, but as nice as Maggiora looked back in 1986, he didn’t leave much room for improvement, he put his unique signature in MX right there already. I can only imagine how special this year’s event will be. I am competing in the Hawaii Ironman world championship very soon so I am unable to make the trip, but I hope for a successful day again in Italy and a strong showing for team USA.”

Rick Johnson: “Italy has always been a special place to me and that day in Maggiora in 1986 was like the beginning of a particular love I have for the country. I love Europe and I have always taken advantage of every opportunity I had to visit Italy and many of the friends I still have there. I have raced many times in Italy and the crowd has always been amazing with me and has treated me with a support that in America riders rarely receive. ’86 Maggiora was just something I will never forget, the energy was incomparable, it was so thrilling that during the day you would often stare around and tell yourself: This is incredible, I’ve never felt something like this before! I am so glad I can come back to Italy to see my long-time friend Giuseppe Luongo and to celebrate that special day I was privileged to be part of over 20 years ago. I expect Franciacorta to be amazing, I have no doubt the Italian fans will give their magic boost to Team Italy and to the w hole event. I feel it will be a close battle this year and I don’t want to miss it for anything, luckily the race happens the weekend after my penultimate ’09 TORC – The Off Road Championship round and I can make it to Franciacorta.”

Johnny O’Mara: “The 1986 MX des Nations race at Maggiora will always have a special place in my heart and will always stand out as one of my best single day performances on a motocross bike! I believe that Bailey, Johnson and myself had a near perfect day in Maggiora! All of us were at our peak in our careers that year which made the USA Team so powerful and unstoppable. After that race things changed a lot for all of us: new team for myself, David got hurt in January and Ricky didn’t have us as teammates on the Honda team anymore. MXoN returns to Italy for the second time after that magic ’86 edition and I am sure it will bring a lot of emotions and memories back to many of the industry people and the fans. I really wanted to be part of it and I appreciate the warm invitation from Youthstream to attend it, but I had some last-minute commitments that forced me to skip it. I feel bad for Italy and for the fans but also because I coach Ivan Tedesco and I would have loved to support him on the field for what looks like it will be a really exciting battle among several candidates to the win. My heart is with Team USA and I am sure our guys have what it takes to make it happen.”

Youthstream President Mr. Giuseppe Luongo added: “Looking back to Maggiora and seeing how far we have come with Motocross gives me really touching emotions and a lot of pride at the same time. At Maggiora we didn’t have the experience we accumulated through the years, but the concepts and the guidelines we used to organize & promote that unforgettable edition of the Motocross of Nations have remained the same for the following 23 years, proving we had the right vision back then. I could speak for hours about that event and the passion I put to make it happen. The response from the fans was simply fantastic, everything worked out really good, it was just one of those days where nothing can go wrong. It was like a big fest for everyone involved, the energy and the vibe in the air were unique, and the racing absolutely special. I will always have a particular place in my memory book for that Team USA. David, Rick and Johnny gave an amazing riding lesson to everyone and contributed as well as Roger in the success of the event with kindness and real passion. I know David and Johnny really wanted to join us in Italy this year, but eventually they have to skip the trip. I want to publicly thank them for what they have done for our sport and for the success of Maggiora in 1986. We’ll for sure pronounce loud their names at Franciacorta this year with our great friend Rick Johnson in celebration of that first magic MXoN in Italy.”

Going to Italy for Motocross of Nations

The entire world of off-road motorcycle racing will focus this weekend on Italy. Specifically Brescia, for the 2009 version of the Motocross of Nations. It’s the first time the ‘ Nations ‘ will be held in Italy since 1986.

And I’m lucky to be going to Italy! It’s nation against nation to see who reigns supreme for world motocross bragging rights! Team USA, with members Ivan Tedesco, Ryan Dungey, and Jake Weimer, are the defending champions, having won last year’s event in England.

The buzz is in the air. Already. You can feel it. The anticipation is high right now, and it’s only Monday! By next Sunday night, we’ll know who will be champions!

But right now, all bets are off. There are a lot of teams that can come away with this win! Let’s review some of the top teams for 2009:

Team USA: 250 West Supercross Champ, and 250 National Motocross Champ Ryan Dungey, 2-time 250 West Supercross Champion, and 250 National Championship winner Ivan Tedesco, and multi-time 250 Supercross and Motocross event winner Jake Weimer.

Team France: MXGP rider Nic Aubin, newly crowned MX2 World Motocross Champion Marvin Musquin, and multi-time Grand Prix winner Gautier Paulin.

Team Belgium: One of the hottest riders on the planet, Clement Desalle, MXGP rider Joel Roelants, and multi-time World Motocross Champion Steve Ramon.

Host nation Team Italy: Three-time World Motocross Champion, and the new MX1 World Motocross Champion – Tony Cairoli, MXGP rider Davide Guarneri, and 2008 World Motocross Champion David Philippaerts.

Team Australia: Multi-time Supercross Champion, and newly crowned AMA Motocross Champion Chad Reed, Brett Metcalfe, and Michael Byrne.

And Team Germany: Multi-time GP winner Max Nagl, another new name and sensation in World Motocross, Ken Roczen – the youngest Grand Prix motocross winner in history, earlier this year at age 15, and Marcus Schiffer.

And those are just the teams off the top of my head that will battle for the win! There are going to be 37 teams total competing in Italy this weekend!

We should have great coverage of the event here at, starting Thursday night. See you in Italia! I can’t wait!


Click here to see rider profiles from the USA & Europe

Track – Autodromo Di Franciacorta, City

Check weather near Brescia

Check hotels in/near Brescia

Map of Brescia


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