It’s on! Saturday, October 3 – Autodromo di Franciarcorta, Italy

I’ve been to a few Motocross of Nations now. I always appreciate the crowds, the teams, the pageantry, the organization, the infrastructure …

In arriving here at the race circuit on Thursday, I thought “It’s nice” … but it didn’t really stick out in my mind as anything super-special.

I was wrong. As I’ve spent time here at the 2009 Motocross of Nations at the Autodromo di Franciacorta, and especially here on Saturday as the action on the track gets under way – I can really appreciate what’s happening here. This venue is very, very nice – there are restaurants all around. The infrastructure is wonderful. The organization of the event is incredible. And the crowd … more on that later.

The day started with a ceremonial ‘Gate Pick’. Dr. Wolfgang Srb of the FIM helps to choose each team’s gate pick for the practice and qualifying heats. Two girls (one being me) were blindfolded and would pick a ball from the jar, first with the country, then the second with the number of where they will be placed on the gate.

Then – time for practice, and then there are three qualifying heats to seed the teams for tomorrow’s event: one for MX1, one for MX2, and one for Open.

During practice, the fans were pouring into the facility, and although there are fans from literally all over the world, being that we are here in Italy, the Italians fans were on fire! Cheering their team riders World Motocross Champion Tony Cairoli, 2008 MX1 World Champion David Philippaerts, and Davide Guarneri like crazy – every where they went!

As we all know, Italy last hosted the MXoN in 1986. A member of that winning USA ‘Dream Team’, Rick Johnson rode a celebratory lap around the track before the qualifying heats.

In the qualifying heat MX1, the early leader was Billy MacKenzie, from England. But, Motocross World Motocross Champion and home country hero, Antonio Cairoli winning. The crowd went crazy! Belgium’s Clement Desalle was second in this heat, Chad Reed was third, Josh Coppins from New Zealand fourth, and Team USA’s Ryan Dungey was fifth.

In the MX2 qualifying heat, MX2 World Motocross Champion Marvin Musquin dominated. Tommy Searle from England was second. USA’s Jake Weimer had a quick fall, but finished eighth.

In the final heat, Open, another Italian, 2008 Motocross World Champion David Philippaerts was the early leader. He would go on to win! Italy wins two of the three heats on the day. Gautier Paulin would get second – he’s on Team France. USA’s Ivan Tedesco finished in fifth.

The qualifications are set for tomorrow’s big race!

Italy – first

France – second

Belgium – third

Great Britain – fourth

Australia – fifth

USA – sixth

Once again – the crowd here in Italy – fantastic. 35,000 people on hand just for Saturday! We are working on the video right now … later in the evening their was the FIM Off Road Banquet – and we’ll have photos and video of that later this week!

Click on thumbnail to view large images: The results of the gate picks, World Motocross Champion and member of Team Italy – Tony Cairoli, part of the crowd on Saturday afternoon, Clement Desalle of Team Belgium, our friends from Japan, World MX2 Champion of Team France, Dr. Wolfgang Srb of the FIM doing the ‘gate picks’, Michael Byrne and Chad Reed of Team Australia, Chad Reed (#16) talk to Tyla Rattray, Rick Johnson did a celebratory lap, Ken Roczen #29 of Team Germany, Ivan Tedesco’s number 3 Honda CRF 450, Ivan Tedesco in helmet talks with Ryan Dungey about the track, and two photos of Jake Weimer, USA, number 2.

This video is ‘raw’. Some of the riders you’ll see here are Ivan Tedesco #3, Tony Cairoli #13, Ryan Dungey #1, Chad Reed #16, Jake Weimer #2, David Philippaerts #15, Tyla Rattray #44, Tommy Searle #11, Ken Roczen #29, Marvin Musquin #5, and others.


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