So you’ve probably seen the news by now that Team USA has withdrawn from the 2020 Motocross of Nations at Matterley Basin in the UK, and I think that raises the question as to whether the event should even go ahead this year.
It’s safe to say the Motocross of Nations is the most prestigious and respected event in the sport, but the current circumstances we’re in and the lengths to keep this race going are taking away from making it so special.
2020 has been a crazy year so far and nothing has been near normal, and that’s the case for the sport of motocross and supercross.
We just saw seven rounds of supercross hosted in one stadium over three weeks with no fans, and the Pro Motocross series has been in doubt up until this week, and it still isn’t quite certain.
And when you look at the MXGP World Championship, the calendar has undergone so many changes, with riders set to be racing all the way through to November and possibly even December.
Plus there’s the fact the Motocross of Nations itself has been shifted from taking place in France to the UK, which is largely due to even tighter restrictions in France that would prevent a crowd attendance.
So it’s far from normal, but at the same time, I’m so appreciative that these championships are doing everything they can to ensure we still have some racing to watch this year.
Although I think the comprises that are being made with each series shouldn’t extend to the Motocross of Nations, and I’ll explain why.
Team USA’s absence this year is an indication of what’s to come, as I anticipate almost every other country that needs to travel from overseas will be giving it a miss this year.
The current travel restrictions obviously pose the biggest factor in preventing some nations from participating, providing logistical challenges and costs, and then there’s the health risk as well.
It’s actually the main factor USA has pulled the pin on the Motocross of Nations, and I’ll read out the statement the AMA released last week:
"The health of our racers and staff is paramount, and current and future global travel restrictions make our involvement in an international event impossible at this time. The US team effort to attend the Motocross of Nations each year is extensive, both financially and logistically. Even in normal times, preparing our best effort at this point in the season would be difficult.
"The AMA takes great pride in competing in the Motocross of Nations each year, and we appreciate the commitment of the athletes chosen to represent the United States on the world stage. The AMA looks forward to returning to the Motocross of Nations in 2021 and bringing the Chamberlain Trophy back to US soil."
In the AMA’s circumstances, there’s also the fact that Pro Motocross series actually clashes with the current date of the Motocross of Nations in late September, making it impossible for any of their riders to even attend the event, let alone the 14-day self-isolation period all riders and staff would have to undergo entering the UK.
Every motocross championship across the world is on a floating schedule and dates are changing week in week out, so the logistics of bringing the worlds best riders together for one weekend are not even imaginable.
And it brings me to my next point, in that the Motocross of Nations, which is operated by the promoters of the MXGP World Championship, plan to run the event in conjunction with a British grand prix on the same weekend.
According to the promoter, they’re yet to figure out the format and regulations for that particular weekend, and I can only imagine that being a major headache, especially when you factor in the Open category alongside the MXGP and MX2 classes.
This is what they said in a statement: “At the MXoN the participants will take points for the MXGP and MX2 World Championships, Infront Moto Racing and FIM are working on the regulations keeping in mind the format, the principle and the soul of the MXoN to be maintained.”
I think we all know just special the Motocross of Nations is to everyone, but I think it holds an even greater level of worth to Europeans, so it’s interesting that they’re trying to preserve the ‘soul’ of the event in such circumstances.
And that’s why I believe the 2020 Motocross of Nations should be cancelled.
There is no way they can preserve or maintain the soul of the event under the current circumstances and the compromises they’re going to have to make.
The Motocross of Nations is my favourite event in the sport, and I would love nothing more than for it go ahead, but not if it’s going to be a second rate event.
I said at the start of this video that the race is the most prestigious and respected in our sport, but if it’s just another round of grand prix racing without the proud and patriotic fans from all around the world and riders travelling from all parts of the globe to represent their country, then I just don’t think it’s all that special.
It’s just another round of the world championship, and it seems as though they just want to tick it off the list rather than maintain what makes it so special to everyone in our sport.
I think in the best interest of the sport and the Motocross of Nations, this is the one race we have to suck up and sacrifice, and just be happy we can watch world-class racing through the MXGP and Pro Motocross championships.
What are your thoughts? Should the 2020 Motocross of Nations be cancelled or should it still go ahead?