The Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations is heading to Ernee, France at the beginning of October. The most historic and coolest race of the year is almost here. While being the defending champions, the American’s seem to be struggling to send the best of the best due to contract conflicts, and more. The home team, France, has one strong team ready to represent in front of the home crowd. We are going to take a dive into some of the teams expected to be at the front, as well as some top riders that could get in the mix, even without having a strong enough team to challenge for Chamberlain Trophy. Let’s take a look, shall we?
While the team might not be the same winning combination as in 2022, and may not even be the strongest team they could send this year, the RED, WHITE and BLUE will be running the #1,2 and 3 no matter what. With Eli Tomac still being out injured, Chase Sexton in an odd predicament with changing teams, and Justin Cooper (who originally moved his wedding date to accommodate the MXON) is getting married on the weekend of the MXON, the team will have a tough time retaining the Chamberlain cup. Aaron Plessinger, RJ Hampshire and Christian Craig have stepped up to the plate and plan to give it their all and see where they are at the end of the weekend in Ernee. Plessinger has been a former USA team member, and was quite impressive until a massive get off in his Saturday qualifier left him quite banged up for Sunday. RJ Hampshire has some raw speed and talent on the track, but has been a bit prone to crashing. But it would not be surprising to see him holding the gold plate in MX2 on Sunday. Christian Craig is the real wildcard for the Americans. After a midseason Supercross crash, Craig sat out all of the AMA Pro Nationals, but has got the call and is ready to step up to the challenge.
Team France is always a threat to win this event. The French always bring the team effort to this event, and 2023, in France, will be no different. Lead by former World Champion and multitime 2023 MXGP winner, Romain Febvre. The Kawasaki Race Team rider will no doubt be looking to add MXON winner to his impressive season. MX2 will see reigning, and two time World Champion Tom Vialle back in front of the French and European crowd after spending all of 2023 competing in the USA. There is no doubt that Vialle will be energized and ready looking to put MXON Champion to his already impressive resume. The Open rider will be another former World Champion, Maxime Renaux. While he has spent much of the year injured, Renaux, no doubt will be looking to take the crown in front of the home crowd.
3rd on the list, is Australia. Jett Lawrence coming off a perfect season in the 450 AMA Pro Motocross Championship and winning the 250 West Supercross Championship, the young Aussie looks to keep the momentum rolling right into France. His MX2 teammate, non other than his older brother, Hunter Lawrence, who has had an almost equally impressive 2023 season. Hunter, earned himself the 250 East Supercross Championship, as well as the 250 AMA Pro Motocross Championship and will have his eyes on bringing home the MX2 class overall in Ernee. Dean Ferris has earned himself the 3rd spot in the Open Class. While it has been a few years, Ferris is no stranger to Europe after spending sometime in the MXGP Championship. Australia looks to better their 3rd position from 2022 and no doubt will be in the running for the Chamberlain Trophy.
While 2022 did not go as planned, the Dutch have their eyes on the prize for 2023. MXON veteran Glenn Coldenhoff is no stranger to the top step of the podium. After winning his class multiple times at MXON, and having a great 2023 season, “The Hoff” has a real shot at winning the Open Class in Ernee. MX2 has the young Kay de Wolf in his second attempt at the event. De Wolf has had a recent injury, but is getting back on form and is definitely one to look at to lead the MX2 Class at the end of the weekend. Calvin Vlaanderen is back on the team and will be running the MXGP class for The Netherlands. While normally considered a sand specialist, Vlaanderen earned himself a moto win in Loket this year proving he is ready to go to battle on the hard slick surfaces as well. While I am sure the team would love to have Jeffrey Herlings, this is about as solid of a team as you can find and wouldn’t be shocking to see them standing at the top step of the podium once again.
The Spanish team is going to be an underdog for the win in 2023. You don’t often think of Spain as coming as a threat for the Chamberlain Trophy, but the team of Jorge Prado, David Braceras and Ruben Fernandez is sneaky good. You need no introduction to Jorge Prado. The young Spaniard is already a 2 time MX2 World Champion, and now a 1 time MXGP World Champion, so his results there tell you he’s going to be the one to beat. MX2 rider, David Braceras, has been quite good the past few MXGP races, and could get that one good MX2 result that puts the team on the top step. While Braceras isn’t “the one to beat” in MX2, he could find himself up towards the front of the class enough to push them to a great finish. The Open rider is HRC Honda’s Ruben Fernandez. Fernandez has had a breakout year, even winning the opening round of the MXGP World Championship in Argentina. It is not that far fetched to see Prado and Fernandez first or second in their races, which would mean that Braceras would just need one good result. This is a team to be on the lookout for.
The young Belgian team is another team that could be sneaky good. Filled with 3 MX2 riders (all under the age of 23), this young team has the talent to win it all. Lead by Jago Geerts, team Belgium is looking bright, not only for this year, but a long future. Geerts has had an incredible 2023 season in MX2, but unfortunately will just miss out on being World Champion this year. But has put in quite a few amazing rides already this year, as well as an absolutely impressive 450 debut last year in Red Bud for the 2022 MXON. MX2 has seen young Lucas Coenen quickly rise to the be one of the fastest riders in the class this year. Other than a few crashes and bike malfunctions, Coenen has shown incredible speed for the young rookie. It is no doubt that Coenen will be at the front of the field all weekend. The Open rider is going into his second year at MXON for Belgium, Liam Everts. Everts has really been on the rise the last few months winning multiple MXGP rounds. Look for Everts to be another rider that might be leading the pack at the end of the weekend.
Ken Roczen is back at MXON! Kenny has been on a part time schedule since the conclusion of the 2023 Supercross Series, but in the few races he has competed, Roczen has been in the hunt for the win. Simon Laengenfelder is another rider that has the capability to win the MX2 class. Laengenfelder already has a few MX2 wins, and since coming back from injury, he has been one of the fastest in the class. Tom Koch is the 3rd rider on the team. While probably not a threat to win his class, Koch has shown the potential to put in a quiet ride and could do just enough to put Germany on the box.
Jeremy Seewer, Arnaud Tonus and Valentin Guillod are no strangers to this event. We have seen this combination before for Switzerland. Seewer is certainly capably to win his races outright, as he has shown this year he has the speed to run with anyone. Arnaud Tonus is back on the MX2 bike and is no stranger to the pressure of this event. Valentin Guillod has put in many impressive rides these past two year. This team is capable to put themselves up in the top 5 in their classes, which could be enough to land them on the podium in 2023.
Italy is going with Alberto Forato, Andrea Adamo and Mattia Guadignini. Forato has shown quite the progression this year. Inching closer to the podium each weekend in MXGP, don’t be surprised to see #10 up in the top 5 in his races. 2023 MX2 World Champion, Andrea Adamo is ready to keep the ball rolling into MXON, and being the World Champion, he has the pressure to win his class. Mattia Guadignini is returning from injury, but with a few weeks back racing, Guadignini has the speed to put himself in the top 5 as well. Look for Italy to be pressing for a spot on the box.
Multi-time World Champion, Tim Gajser will be back in action at MXON in Ernee. While he does not have the strongest 2nd or 3rd rider, Gajser could play a spoiler role this year. We have seen “Tiga” snag a few moto wins throughout the years, which mix up the points for each team quite a bit.
Pauls Jonass is a former World Champion as well and just coming back from injury. Jonass is another rider that could shake up the points. He has two young brothers for teammates, which means that the future is bright for Latvia. Both the Reisulus brothers are just getting their feet wet in the EMX series, but in the very near future, this might be a team to beat.
Kevin Horgmo has been on the rise again in MX2. Winning a moto in Turkiye and finishing on the podium, Horgmo is another rider capable of grabbing the gold plate for MX2. Along side him, Cornelius Tondel and Haakon Fredriksen, this young team will be fun to watch!
Conrad Mewse has put in some amazing rides for the Great Britain MXON team in previous years. He is back and is looking to show the world how good he is. With teammates Josh Gilbert and Ben Watson, look for this to possibly be a team to sneak up in the top 5.
Canadian Dylan Wright spent some time in Europe racing MXGP in 2021, so he is familiar with the racing, plus having done a few MXON races already. Wright is a world class talent and has already proven he can be a top 10 rider in the World Championship. With young Ryder McNabb and Jess Pettis, Canada has their sights set on their best finish ever. Could we see them on the box?
Harri Kullas has had some heroic rides for team Estonia. Getting a 4th in a moto in the deep sands of Assen in 2019 come to mind. Kullas has shown up for some MXGP and AMA Pro National rounds this year, and has shown he is capable of being in the top ten (8th in a moto at Lommel this year). With Tanel Leok and Jorgen-Matthias Talviku back for a second run, look for the Estonians to fight towards the top 5.
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