Who should represent team USA at 2023 Ernee MXoN?

Team USA is in a bit of flux for 2023 with Eli Tomac out, a lack of depth in the 450 class and rumours that Sexton won’t be going, along with confirmation that Justin Cooper has already ruled himself out due to getting married.

Obviously if Sexton goes, the US are contenders to win, but is Deegan ready to take on the world in France? His recent comments show his pride in the USA, and you get the feeling he would love nothing more that representing the red, white and blue internationally against the likes of Adamo, Everts and fellow teen sensation, the even younger Lucas Coenen, and for me he is the first name on the US team sheet. Deegan is hauling right now and he has the fastest bike in the world, with starts absolutely crucial on a 250 and even more important at Ernee, which isn’t the easiest place to pass.

RJ Hampshire is reportedly desperate to go and with an impressive performance at Daytona on a 450, I would move him up to the big bike, he’s having a good year in MX2, although potential crashes with a a rider who wears his heart on his sleeve could keep American fans on the edge of their seats but he’s fast and for me deserves the opportunity.

Sexton, RJ and Deegan is a very strong team and could win but if Sexton doesn’t go who should? There are rumours the maybe returning at Unadilla, Justin Barcia, could be an option. Barcia of course raced at Ernee back in 2015 for team USA. Jason Anderson has picked the pace up as well recently but would Kawi let him go? He’s good on hard pack and has experience of the race, he would be my choice if Sexton isn’t going but as well as Anderson there is Aaron Plessinger who, when he is feeling the flow, can run a hot pace. He is a former national champ and raced MXoN at Red Bud in 2018 but how would the all American fare far away from his homeland in France? Plessinger is also under the KTM banner and already managed by Roger DeCoster, so logistics could be easy.

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America at least have options but Deegan looks to be the lynchpin for this team in France. If he performs he will give them a big platform to challenge for the win even if Sexton is there – but that’s a big responsibility for the 17 year old on his MXON debut, but that’s indictive of just how important he is to America in 2023.

He’s their hope to stop an Australian winning their National series and the hope for the MXoN in France. Deegan is the most important American motocross racer right now and is already carrying the country on his shoulders. That’s when you know you’ve had a good season!

Words: Jonathan McCready

Image: Yamaha