Hopes are high for U.S. team
Story and photos by Jeff Kardas
ASSEN, The Netherlands — This weekend marks the 71st running of the FIM Motocross of Nations, this year taking place at the storied Assen TT Circuit in The Netherlands.
The AMA U.S. Team of Justin Cooper (MX2), Zach Osborne (MXOpen) and Jason Anderson (MXGP) are hoping this year to gain back some of the dominance that the American team has enjoyed in the not-so-distant past.
After a disappointing performance on home soil last year in Buchanan, Mich., the team chose to head to Europe a few weeks early to train together on sand tracks, the likes of which can only be found in that region of Belgium and The Netherlands.
The 100 percent man-made track for the 2019 edition of the “Olympics of Motocross” was purpose built for the event by the same Youthstream promotion group (under the watchful eye of the FIM) that puts together the MXGP FIM World Championship motocross series (which concluded just last weekend).
It is composed entirely of what is effectively beach sand, which puts the American team at a distinct disadvantage, as there simply is nothing quite like this on the U.S. motocross circuit.
The event utilizes a three-day format, with team introductions and various administrative tasks opening up the weekend on Friday, with Saturday dedicated to practice and qualification races which determine gate pick position for Sunday’s three main-event moto format.
The three are unique in that they pit the three classes against one another in an Olympics-style points system that ends with the overall nation’s results.
Saturday morning’s practice sessions are not timed qualifying, but they are timed and, after their 40-minute sessions, the U.S. squad seemed to be set for a solid performance, with Justin Cooper snagging the quickest time for MX2, while Jason Anderson was 12th and Zach Osborne fifth.
The weather was somewhat iffy, with chilly temperatures and a constant threat of rain.