Quick thoughts: Ernee MXoN – what an event!

The 76th edition of the MXoN took place at Ernee at the weekend and wow. What a sport, what an event, what a track and what an atmosphere. Just amazing.

We look back on such an exciting weekend of racing with plenty of talking points.

  • Fabulous French 

The thousands of French fans travelled to Ernee all expecting one thing – for France to win the Nations. It put the riders under a lot of pressure but they all thrived and had really good days. Tom Vialle who has been racing AMA Supercross and Nationals this year was but on a track that really suits his skillset and it showed going 1-1 in MX2. Maxime Renaux was coming in after picking up an injury from Matterley Basin but won his class in the Open – superb. Romain Febvre when selected for France just doesn’t know how to lose, he won a moto and won the Nations event for the fourth time – he’s now only one behind Gautier Paulin’s impressive record.

Image: Niek Fotografie
  • Italy surprise 

With a full strength team it might not have been a surprise to see Italy on the podium but when Mattia Guadagnini was hit by an injury it was a big blow. Andrea Bonacorsi has a lot of talent being a former EMX125 champ and EMX250 champion this year. However, racing a first Nations is difficult enough never mind it being his first race on the 450cc but he was superb – more on him later. Italy have so much talent coming through with this years team – add in the likes of Mattia Guadagnini, Valerio Lata and Ferruccio Zanchi currently coming through and what a team they could have in the future – the team manager might have a selection headache in the future!

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  • Ken Roczen. Unbelievable 

It’s not normal to only race one Motocross event all year, turn up to the MXoN and then win MXGP (the toughest class) but that is exactly what Ken Roczen did. The German is a freak – he probably doesn’t even understand how talented he is because for him it’s totally normal (it’s not)! After a couple of tough years on the Honda, things weren’t looking great for him but since making the move to Suzuki he has found a new lease of life and it is superb to see. Keep it up and hopefully he has that appetite for the MXoN again and we’ll see him race Matterley Basin next year again.

Image: Niek Fotografie
  • Jett Lawrence. Special 

We already knew Jett Lawrence was special but back racing in Europe against new competition we got to see him go up against the best Motocross riders in the world. The Aussie didn’t disappoint coming from last to sixth in his first moto before dominating the last and toughest race of the day. Just imagine how good he’ll be in a years time at Matterley Basin with another years experience and another year on the bigger bike. Scary. Like Roczen he is another freak.

  • Brilliant track 

The Ernee hard pack track was superb – ruts, bumps, off cambers, up hills, down hills and slick spots. The track just about had everything and was tricky. Not ripping it deep everywhere was also a good decision as it made the track open in spots which meant overtaking was possible as Lawrence showed coming from last to sixth and the Prado V Febvre battle was also great in the opening moto.

  • Riders that exceeded expectations 

Mentioned earlier, take a bow, Andrea Bonacorsi. The Italian finished 8-11 on his first race on the 450cc which meant Italy actually needed both of his races to count. The Italian told me in an interview the other week that he might not be the most talented rider and that he just works incredibly hard… perhaps he needs to give himself more credit! In MX2, it’s hard to know how successful he’ll be because he’s quite heavy and big so starts probably won’t be great even though he’ll have speed but his future in MXGP? Could be superb!

Another rider that was very impressive on his first race on the 350cc was Liam Everts. 3-10 in the moto’s and what a style he has. Everyone talks about Lawrence’s style and rightly so but perhaps we need to look at Prado and Everts too. They all ride a bike the way it should be ridden and is just a joy to watch.

  • A tough weekend for America 

RJ Hampshire didn’t have the best of luck but actually rode well to finish sixth overall in MX2, he was the main man for America. Aaron Plessinger also had one really good race in the first race of the day finishing fifth but in the last moto of the day he probably saw depth he’s never seen in his life. The AMA Nationals are obviously very fast at the front but it hasn’t got the depth MXGP has (despite sometimes the low gate numbers everyone is very fast). Christian Craig was the weak link of the team as he didn’t look comfortable with the tricky hard pack track and not easy after only having six weeks back on the bike to prepare and no races. But credit to the three that did show up on the day. Hopefully the riders that sat at home will be interested to race Matterley Basin next year and not wait until their home Nations in 2025…

  • Fair play to Brazil 

What a weekend it was for Brazil. Eduardo Lima, Guilherme Bresolin and Fabio Santos all had a great weekend qualifying directly to the A final after finishing nineteenth as a Nation on qualifying day to take the last qualifying spot. Santos was on fire in the open race finishing an amazing ninth. On Sunday, they ended up seventeenth. Very impressive without having an MXGP or AMA National regular rider and not an easy thing to do.

What an event and the racing was superb. Next up for the event is Matterley Basin in the UK next year!

Article: Andy McKinstry

Main image: Niek Fotografie