For this week’s Yamaha Motor Canada Behind the Lens we go back to last weekend’s 2017 MXON in England. As we now all know, Team Canada battled hard all day against the elements, and also the world’s best riders to eventually finis 13th overall. And while it wasn’t exactly the result everyone was looking for, considering the muddy track, the tough competition, as well as the pressure they felt representing our country, we’re sure they feel good about their overall result. Especially when the team’s best moto finish came from Tyler Medaglia’s 16th place in the Open/MX2 race.
Competing at an event of this magnitude is pressure-filled to say the least. For a mostly individual sport like motocross, so much of everyone’s time is spent focusing on each rider and their machine. Yes, there are teams that consist of multiple riders, but in most cases these riders aren’t competing for a common result. Over the years the MXON has been the only event on the motocross calendar where riders come together under their country’s flag and race for not just themselves but as a team. A rider’s gear is usually made to match their country’s colours, their bike’s graphics the same, and for this one weekend, it’s about the team instead of just one rider.
Now, you would think that since the pressure of succeeding is spread over a group of people for this event, that each rider would feel less of a weight on their shoulders. But in reality it’s the exact opposite as every rider is holding on to the bars just a little tighter as they race with the weight of an entire country on their back. For some riders, this type of immense pressure is their undoing, but for a select few this is when they’re at their best. This James Lissimore photo from Sunday’s race perfectly exemplifies not just how much effort goes into the racing, but how much effort goes into cheering for each team on the track. Yes, you see cheering going on during the summer at the nationals, but you never see it to the extent that you do at the MXON. For this one weekend every year, each motocross country comes together with its trio of riders and support staff to try and achieve one common goal. Last weekend in the rolling hills of Southwest England, Team Canada and their large cheering section weren’t just cheering for each of our riders, they were cheering for our nation. In the sometimes ruthless sport like motocross, that is a beautiful thing.