Story and Photos By Jeff Kardas
All eyes are on Matterly Basin, Winchester, as the U.S. Motocross Team prepares to compete for the Chamberlin Trophy at the 2017 Motocross of Nations on Oct. 1.
The 2017 AMA U.S. Team represents the best motocross riders the United States has available at the Motocross of Nations this weekend at the historic Matterley Basin raceway in Winchester, U.K. Riders (l to r) Thomas Covington, Zach Osborne and Cole Seely are accompanied by iconic team manager Roger Decoster.
Always a spectacle, the Motocross of Nations consists of Saturday qualifying races for each of three classes (MX2–50cc, MXGP–450cc and Open–any displacement). The team’s finishes in the three classes determine the gate picks for Sunday’s main events, which pit the three classes against one another in an MXGP vs. MX2, MX2 vs. Open and MXGP vs. Open format. The team with the lowest number of points based on moto finishes is deemed the winner of The Chamberlin Cup trophy, which has been passed around for the race’s 71-year history.
American Thomas Covington has been contesting the FIM World Motocross Championships for two years now and was a surprise pick for the team. His qualifying race went well as he was able to garner a 7th place finish in his first ever ride on a 450cc machine. Starting from the extreme outside due to the poor Team USA gate pick (37th of 40, based on a lottery system), this is to be considered a good ride for the youngster and he’s expected to be strong tomorrow.
Also a bit of a surprise to the team is Team Honda’s Cole Seely. Seely, after a decent start in the MXGP qualifier, stayed around roughly the same spot he started out–10th. Against many of the best MXGP riders in the world, Seely held his own despite stalling in a corner late in the race and having his best lap time just prior to that. Seely should be good for another top 10 overall in tomorrow’s mains.
Not at all a surprise pick for the team is team captain Zach Osborne. A veteran of both the MXGP circuit as well as the AMA Pro Racing Motocross Nationals and the newly crowned 250cc National Motocross Champion, Osborne was the obvious choice. He also seems to be the obvious choice for the MX2 class win this weekend, and his qualifier win seemed to back that up. Osborne came from way back in the pack to eventually run down and pass Australian Hunter Lawrence with a couple of laps to go before pulling away for an impressive win. Heading into Sunday, the team sit in fourth position behind defending champs France, then The Netherlands and Australia. The chances seem good to have a better showing and, with all three riders being excellent in muddy conditions—as is expected tomorrow—the team stand a good chance of at least a podium finish.