For this week’s FXR Racing Mid-Week Report we look back to last weekend and the 2017 Monster Energy MXON in England. Team Canada rode hard all weekend long and in the end they came away with a satisfying 13th overall against the world’s top riders. Some have said this result was great considering the weather and the level of competition, while others have stated that they thought our team should’ve finished better. To get their thoughts on how the weekend went we reached out to Mark Stallybrass and Paul Kingsley who were in England watching the race, as well as Andy White who watched every minute of the event live on television.
Mark Stallybrass: The track was a great, natural terrain track with added obstacles. It was nice and wide, lots of room for passing, and good elevation changes. It looked like a lot of fun. From a spectator’s perspective it was fantastic because you could see the entire track from one vantage point. It was way better than Maggiora.
Paul Kingsley: The track layout was awesome! On Saturday the surface was as good as anyone could have ever asked for. As far as spectating you could pretty much see the complete track, so a huge bonus.
Andy White: I thought the track was one of the best MXoN tracks I’ve seen in a long time, it was super long with a lot of obstacles. I liked that the track had just about every type of jump from table tops to rhythm sections. The start was very safe, and if you started on the outside it wasn’t a huge disadvantage.
How was the vibe compared to last year in Italy?
Mark: Not near as enthusiastic. I can’t really say if it was the weather but it was nothing near last year or the year before in Ernee. The attendance was about half of last year so that may have had something to do with it.
Paul: The fans were there blowing their horns, revving their chain saws, waving their flags, etc, but the vibe was definitely nowhere near Ernee or Maggiora. (We did see 1 Canadian flag, my bet it was Jim Roberts, sitting with his Dutch buddies Bill Van Vugt and “Burning Embers!”)
Andy: As a team Great Britain was favoured to win or at least podium. I felt the local fans were a lot louder and the attendance was up. I’m pretty sure there were way more fans cheering for GB than all the European countries put together.
Due to the adverse track conditions the results were all over the map. How do you think Team Canada performed?
Mark: The track conditions weren’t that bad at all. At worst the track was wet but not soaked; there was lots of traction and it was nowhere near a quagmire. There shouldn’t have been any excuses about the track. Tyler and Shawn looked like they put out their best effort, even though they didn’t get the best of starts. Let’s leave it at that.
Paul: The rain Saturday night made things trickier Sunday morning, but as the top teams circulated, their pace picked up and it was business as usual. I think one of the trickiest things to work through was vision, as the low cloud or mist that was there would have ruined your googles quickly, and roll offs would not have been any better. Lap times in the warm up showed what the Canadian team was in for as we were 30 seconds a lap slower than Tim Gajser. Shawn and Tyler were doing everything they could riding like they always do but the competition is the best in the world. Colton was there but it was not the Colton I have seen at this year’s Nationals; he did not look like himself at all. He did not flow, he did not attack. Did the time off between the MXON and the last national affect him? Should he have ridden the last few US National’s? Only Colton can answer that. He is a far better rider than what I saw Sunday.
Andy: It’s to bad it rained Saturday night, it really changed the track conditions for Sunday’s race. You could see that the Euro riders ride mud way better than any of the other countries. Finishing 13th is awesome, we all know without some of the bad luck the team could have finished top 10 possible. The other teams had crazy inconsistent results too, that’s what happens when it’s wet.
It was also announced that Red Bud will host the 2018 MXON. How big do you think this event will be?
Mark: It will all depend if Team USA enters a good team or not. The ME Cup will be the weekend after Red Bud so who knows who will ride for their team. If they enter a B team, or a C team like this year, I wouldn’t count on strong numbers like Budds Creek in ’07. Plus, who knows what the weather will be like in early October in Michigan? It’s hard to say how the Americans feel about the MXoN anymore, so it’s a big question mark.
Paul: Red Bud is going to be incredible. Hopefully the USA sends their best team and then can put on a great show in front of their home fans.
Andy: Red Bud is probably one of the best tracks in America and the fans know it to. Lets hope some of the best USA riders show up and not look for an out like they have for the past few years. It’s really a shame that the USA team has not been that strong for years. The best GP riders in the world are pumped and excited to represent their countries, lets hope Roger D can talk Tomac and the rest of them to come out and race at Red Bud in 2018.