The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) congratulates Team USA, which raced to victory against the world’s top junior riders at the FIM Junior Motocross World Championship, Aug. 22-24, in Dardon Gueugnon, France. The event included motocross prodigies from 34 nations competing for both individual and team FIM World Championships.
American rider Jake Pinhancos took the victory in the 65cc class, Josh Mosiman was the top 85cc rider, finishing 11th overall, and Joey Savatgy placed second overall in the highly competitive 125cc class. Teams were ranked based on the finishing positions of their highest-placed rider in each class, with the lowest score winning. Team USA dominated the field with a total score of 14. Italy had the next lowest score at 23, and Team Australia rounded out the podium with a score of 25.
“Putting together a team on such a limited budget was a major challenge, but we pushed on with the level of commitment that is necessary to establish our young stars,” said AMA Motocross Manager Kip Bigelow, who was the U.S. delegate for the event and a driving force to send a U.S. team this year. “As a racer my whole life, I know that dedication and teamwork are essential to success, and I am proud of all of these riders and look forward to seeing them excel not only in motocross but in life. I would like to thank the NAMU [North American Motorcycle Union], the FIM, the AMA, MXSports and especially the families of the riders for all their support.”
American Suzuki’s Brian Noah managed Team USA. He added that the win would not have happened without teamwork.
“This past week in France could not have turned out any better for a first year presence,” Noah said. “Everyone on the team worked together better than I could have ever imagined, and our first place overall finish for Team USA was a true testament to this. I hope with the AMA’s continued support this success will only strengthen our commitment to this event so that we can continue to show the world that our amateur riders are some of the best in the world.”
Noah also thanked those who contributed to the effort, including the riders, the family members, the Bonamigo Performances team, Dunlop, Answer Racing, Fox Racing, MSR, Thor MX, Richard Clarke and Kreg Bigelow.”
The U.S. team won the event by breaking a three-way tie with Netherlands and Italy going into the final 125cc moto. The competition all weekend was as tough as the points battle would suggest. Racing with storms on the horizon and strong winds bearing down on the rocky course at the Circuit de Gueugnon, the riders gave the 5,000 spectators who lined the fences a race to remember.
Leading the charge for the U.S. team was Rochester, Mass., rider Pinhancos, 12. Pinhancos took the win in both 65cc class motos on his KTM. Also racing KTMs in the 65cc class, 11-year-old Brock Papi from McMurray, Pa., finished seventh overall, while 12-year-old Joey Crown from Metamora, Mich., finished eighth overall.
“It was very awesome for the AMA to pick me to represent the United States in Europe,” Pinhancos said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I was really excited to see all the different racers representing their countries. In the riders’ meeting, you could see all the different countries there. It was really cool. I never thought I would get to do something like this. To go to Europe and win — it feels really great to know I’m a world champion.”
In the 85cc class, Mosiman, 14, from Sebastopol, Calif., and Matt Burkeen, 14, from Cary, N.C., represented the United States. While Burkeen just missed qualifying for the program on his Yamaha, Mosiman raced his Rockstar Makita Suzuki to 11th overall on the back of a gutsy second-moto charge that kept the U.S. team’s title hopes alive.
Savatgy, 16, from Thomasville, Ga., and Matt Bisceglia, 16, of Weatherford, Texas, competed in the 125cc class for Team USA. Savatgy led both motos on his Rockstar Makita Suzuki before crashes allowed ultimate 125cc class champion and current European 125cc Champion Jordi Tixier to take the win. Savatgy ultimately finished second overall. With the rain coming down hard for the second 125cc moto, Bisceglia had two crashes on his Yamaha. Bisceglia’s 4-18 moto finishes placed him 9th overall.