The 2010 Red Bull FIM Motocross of Nations got underway in beautiful Lakewood, Colorado today, as teams from the best motocross nations in the world hit the track to qualify for Sunday’s prestigious event.
Known best as “the Olympics of motocross”, the Motocross of Nations has returned to the U.S. for only the third time in the event’s 63-year history, and the scenic Thunder Valley Motocross Park nestled in the Rocky Mountain foothills provided an incredible backdrop for the opening day of racing.
When the final checkers waved, Team USA’s Ryan Dungey, Trey Canard, and Andrew Short took home top qualifying honors on their home soil ahead of Germany, Puerto Rico, Belgium, and France.
Qualifying Heat MX1:
Red Bull KTM’s Antonio Cairoli of Team Italy rocketed out of the gate to capture the first holeshot of the day. He never looked back as he motored on to an impressive wire-to-wire win in the 20-minute-plus two-lap race. Behind Cairoli, Australian Brett Metcalfe put in a solid ride to hold off France’s Gautier Paulin and Team USA’s Ryan Dungey at the checkers.
In uncharacteristic style, newly crowned AMA Pro Motocross Champion Dungey got off to a relatively slow start, but began putting in a steady charge toward the front from just inside the top-ten. Looking somewhat reserved with the weight of an entire team on his mind, Dungey cautiously scraped together a fourth-place finish by the end of the moto.
Qualifying Heat MX2:
When the gates dropped for the start of the MX2 qualifier, Team USA’s Trey Canard got a quick jump and rounded turn number one in the second spot. Wasting little time, Canard made a pass for the lead midway through the opening lap, and went on to control the race up front for the first seven laps of the moto.
Canard’s only challenge came from German speedster Ken Roczen when on lap number eight the Red Bull-backed rider made a pass for lead that would stick for the next two rotations. On the final go-around, however, Roczen went down in a rutted right-hand corner as Canard began re-applying the pressure, handing the lead, and the win, back over to the American.
Qualifying Heat MX3:
Honda Red Bull Racing’s own Andrew Short nailed down holeshot number three on the day to immediately give Team USA a huge advantage in the final qualifying moto. Looking smooth and confident up front, Shorty laid down 11 perfect laps en route to a convincing win ahead of New Zealand’s Ben Townley, Puerto Rico’s Kyle Regal, and Red Bull KTM’s Max Nagl of Germany.
“The biggest advantage was the start,” Short said during the post-race press conference. “I knew that if I could get out front early I’d have a good shot. The hometown crowd was incredible, too… I could hear them all the way around the track! This is such an incredible experience, and I’m really looking forward to tomorrow.”
With 4-1-1 moto results, Team USA all but dominated the day’s racing action, and heads into Sunday’s Red Bull Motocross of Nations main event motos with the number one qualifying position. Stay tuned for more from Thunder Valley!
Top-Ten Qualifying Nations
3. Puerto Rico
8. New Zealand
9. Great Britain