Team USA Managers Talk
By now, most of you already know that Team USA came, saw and got conquered in the sand of Lommel at the 2012 Motocross of Nations in Belgium. Team USA's Ryan Dungey, Justin Barcia and Blake Baggett gave it everything they had on Sunday, but in the end, everything they had was only good enough for third overall as a nation. With USA being the winningest MX nation on the planet and currently carrying a seven-year winning streak, some fans are finding this loss hard to swallow. In reality, though, this one should have been expected.
Most American fans see sand and think of the Southwick circuit, but the sand of Lommel is a completely different beast. Southwick is sand on top, but it's not very deep, and the base is hard pack. In Lommel, there is no base, just beach sand as deep as you can dig. What made it even tougher for Team USA was that their European competition lives and trains at the facility most of the year. Like any sand track, knowing the soil, the lines and how those lines develop throughout a day of racing is the key to going fast and staying consistent. That is why guys like John Dowd can still run inside the top five in a national at "The Wick" even well into his golden years. Well, imagine racing thirty John Dowd's in their prime at their home sand track, and that's what our boys were up against. Don't get me wrong; I'm not taking anything away from how fast the GP riders are on any surface because they are some of the fastest riders on earth on any soil, but in Lommel, it is at another level.
In the end, fans—along with Dungey, Baggett and, especially, Barcia—should not be disappointed. All three did all they could, and Barcia, in particular, was a complete madman in the sandbox. They rode their asses off and beat some of the best sand riders in the world at their own game. Unfortunately, Germany’s Ken Roczen, Max Nagl and Marcus Schiffer and Belgium’s Clement Desalle, Ken DeDycker and Jeremy vanHorebeek were better overall teams, plus Jeffrey Herlings and Antonio Cairoli are just unbeatable as individuals on the soft stuff. The podium we got at the Motocross of Nations was well-earned, and we should be able to rebound at Teutschenthal next year. Still, Germany will be defending their title at home, so it won’t be easy.
After the USA's third overall, Steve Matthes had a conversation with Team USA's team managers Roger Decoster and Mitch Payton about some of the challenges they faced in Belgium. You can read the two interviews over at Racer X Online. Check out "Insight: Payton and Decoster" >>>.