With its win at the 2008 Red Bull FIM Motocross of Nations in Donington Park, Great Britain, on Sept. 28, Monster Energy’s AMA Team USA set a new standard for motocross excellence. The team of James Stewart, Ryan Villopoto and Tim Ferry claimed the coveted Chamberlain Trophy, which goes to the country winning the overall team championship at the annual event, an unprecedented 19th time.
While Monster Energy’s AMA Team USA ultimately stood on top of the box, however, the effort had its challenges. A tough track and some bad luck potentially threatened the trio’s record-setting achievement. While each member of Monster Energy’s AMA Team USA, managed again this year by multi-time World Motocross Champion Roger DeCoster, put in one strong ride, each also carded a less-than-perfect showing on the day.
Ferry, the Open class rider on Monster Energy’s AMA Team USA, admitted the team was taken by surprise by the course. Ferry finished ninth in his first moto before improving to fifth in his second to secure the Open class overall win.
“I definitely struggled throughout the first moto. I underestimated this track, it was really gnarly and difficult to pass on,” Ferry said.
Villopoto, the MX2 class rider on Monster Energy’s AMA Team USA, also battled track conditions, particularly in his first moto as he tried to recover from a bad start. Villopoto, who finished 10th in the first moto, had a much stronger performance in his second, finishing first by a wide margin and taking the overall win in the MX2 class, which features 250cc four-stroke machinery.
“It was really choppy, and unbelievably slippery. It was definitely a tough racetrack today,” Villopoto said. “The 450F is obviously going to be faster, but my 250F was the best bike out there.”
The rider who fared the worst on the day, however, was uncharacteristically Stewart, who had just wrapped up a perfect season in the AMA Toyota Motocross Championship presented by FMF. Although Stewart put in an incredible ride during his first moto, where he rode away with the win, his second was marked by near disaster for the team.
After battling with Team France rider Sebastien Pourcel for the early part of the moto, Stewart broke away and started to build a large lead. Stewart then cross-rutted going over a tabletop jump, landed on a hay bale and crashed.
“I got up pretty quickly, but I couldn’t start my bike after that. I kept kicking, kicking and kicking and wore myself out. I felt like I blew it and was bummed with myself. Sitting there kicking, I was actually embarrassed,” said Stewart, who ultimately finished the second moto in 23rd for ninth overall in the MX1 class, which features 450cc four-stroke bikes.
Despite the challenges for Monster Energy’s AMA Team USA, the result was just as sweet–and perhaps even more so, as Ferry pointed out after the race.
“I felt that it would be hard to top what we did last year where we won easily (when the MXoN was held in Budd’s Creek, Maryland), but I feel like we really accomplished something today,” Ferry said.
The MXoN has featured country-based team competition in motocross for 62 years, and more than any other nation, AMA Team USA has stood on top of the box. The MXoN includes competition in three classes: MX1, MX2 and Open. Each class participates twice in a three-moto program that packs tons of action onto the track.
“From our association with Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, to our efforts with the Monster Energy/Kawasaki Triple Crown of Motocross during the outdoor season, along with the backing of countless athletes and events around the world, Monster Energy’s passion for the sport of motocross in unparalleled in the industry,” said John Lee, Director of Sports Marketing for Monster Energy. “With this across-the-board sponsorship endeavor, Monster Energy is often rewarded with great achievements, and this past weekend’s success we shared with Kawasaki and Pro Circuit at the Motocross of Nations stands as a testament to our team’s global marketing efforts.
“Again, a hearty ‘congrats’ to everyone associated with the victory – Ryan Villopoto, Tim Ferry and James Stewart, along with the staff at Kawasaki, Pro Circuit and the AMA. Everyone at Monster Energy is extremely pleased with our athletes’ defense of the MXoN title!”
Next year’s MXoN will be held in Franciacorta, Italy.