Kawasaki Racing Team MXGP’s Romain Febvre set the benchmark for Team France to win the FIM Motocross of Nations on home soil at Ernée with a stunning victory in the first race of the day.
France’s team captain led from the front, displaying his commitment and national pride from the drop of the gate in the first moto. Sweeping into second within half-a-lap he immediately chased down year-long GP rival Jorge Prado, pressurizing the Spaniard for six laps as the duo moved relentlessly clear of their chasers before executing a well-devised pass to take the lead and immediately opened up a gap before the leaders encountered lapped traffic. With an eye to the national team scores he wisely did not risk pushing harder than necessary on a treacherously slippery race-track surface and fell victim to a surprise pass by his rival with four laps remaining. Urged on frenetically by the massive home crowd the Frenchman dug deep to immediately respond and, with an exhilerating downhill pass, he moved back to the front and sprinted clear of his demoralised rival to claim the first home victory of the day for the ecstatic crowd. Having surrendered France’s first gate-pick to his teammate for the final moto the Kawasaki ace was outside the top-ten on the opening lap and faced several extremely obstructive rivals on his way to seventh at half-distance. The first-six had already escaped and, putting national pride before personal glory in this team event, he sensibly did not put the honour at risk, coasting home seventh to ensure an overwhelming victory for La Grande Nation by a massive twenty points. It was Febvre’s fourth victory in four appearances for his country.
Romain Febvre: “It’s unbelievable to win again; my fourth Nations and my fourth victory. I wasn’t completely comfortable with the track yesterday in Qualifying but I knew that I had the ability to turn it round today. I took a good start – second to Prado – in the first moto and then it was like a GP race with me chasing him down. He passed me back near the end and the fight was on; I knew I had to do something and I passed him again with two laps to go. Tom (Vialle) did more than we could expect to finish second in total to Maxime (Renaux) in the second race, so we just had to ride it home in the final moto. Each of us won in our class and we had a big gap to second. I’m so happy for the fans who were behind us so strongly all day; we rode as a team … and we won as a team!”
F&H Kawasaki Racing Team’s Kevin Horgmo, contesting the MX2 class for his native Norway, crashed out on the opening lap of race one but rebounded in his second ride just one hour later to claim his nation’s best result of the day as he fought his way forward against larger machines to climb from twenty-eighth on lap two to twenty-first at the finish. The Norwegian team was sixteenth in the team classification.
The remaining Kawasaki-supported riders were each the top individual performer for their nations in Qualifying but they sadly lacked sufficent support from their teammates to make it to the main programme. Big Van World MTX Kawasaki’s Jack Chambers, racing for Puerto Rico, was ninth in the MX2 Qualifier while BUD Racing Kawasaki’s Benjamin Garib took Chile to within a point of direct qualification with twelfth in MX2. Argentinian Joaquin Poli was fifteenth in the Open class for FIM Latin America.