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The Motocross of Nations, which will be held at RedBud this weekend, is going to be absolutely incredible. There is simply no doubt about it. The entry list includes a phenomenal mix of stars from across the world and all of those have a reason to boast about their respective accomplishments. It is difficult to believe that there are some incredible riders who are not actually in Buchanan, Michigan currently.
Marvin Musquin is the most noteworthy, following the debacle with Team France in the weeks prior to the Motocross of Nations. It looked as though he had a second chance, following the injury that Romain Febvre sustained, but he declined the invite and was right to do so. A significant amount of time, six weeks exactly, had passed since the last round of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross series and he obviously did not spend that time preparing for an outdoor race. Musquin had absolutely no reason to jump onto an outdoor track after Ironman, so why would he? It is a shame that politics have stopped a world-class rider, who deserves to be on the starting line at RedBud, from taking part.
Romain Febvre is obviously missing too, as mentioned previously, after sustaining a concussion and broken rib at the Grand Prix of Turkey at the start of September. Team France were already limping into the Motocross of Nations, after ignoring Marvin Musquin, but this was really the final blow. Those former world champions are going to be watching the action from the comfort of their own homes, along with another recent champion. Tim Gajser was not given an option to go, as Team Slovenia could not afford to send a team, but he is completely fine with that decision, because he desperately wants to get some metalwork removed from his jaw.
Would those riders have had an impact on the individual classification in each division? There is absolutely no doubt about it. Musquin could win on any given day, no matter who he is lined up next to, so losing him is a shame. Febvre and Gajser are also capable of winning, of course, but the chances that they would have done it here would have been very slim. Both guys have been hot and cold during the FIM Motocross World Championship this season, as they have faced their own problems, but would have slotted into the top five quite comfortable. Febvre has always stepped up at the Motocross of Nations, no matter the conditions or location.
There are some lesser riders missing as well, who would have undoubtedly strengthened the field. Arnaud Tonus had his sights set on the Motocross of Nations for a lot of the season, even though he was unable to race at all. Tonus dislocated his shoulder in February and finally hopped back onto a bike at the end of August. There were around six weeks left for him to prepare for this race, but he realised very quickly that he needed more time. It is worth noting that Team Switzerland almost lost Valentin Guillod as well, as he fractured his shoulder blade at the Grand Prix of Turkey and withdrew from the final round over the weekend. It remains to be seen just how competitive he is.
Finally, as if this edition of the Motocross of Nations could have even handled more stars, there was a good chance that Chad Reed was going to be chosen to represent Team Australia. Reed chucked his hat into the ring well in advance and even started training. Motorcycling Australia, the federation over there, eventually decided to go in a different direction though. Kirk Gibbs, Hunter Lawrence and Mitchell Evans will be racing for Team Australia this weekend. It is actually a stronger team than it may seem to an uneducated fan. It is not impossible for them to slot into the top five at the end of a weekend, but having Chad Reed would have helped.
Analysing those who are missing in this fashion really makes one appreciate how many stars the sport has to offer currently. The respective series in Europe and the United States, as well as in other continents, are clearly in a healthy position with so much talent to choose from and attempt to put into the public eye. For now, however, all eyes are on the Motocross of Nations.
Words: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: ConwayMX