[Features]

Throwback: The First Ever Aussie MxON Podium

2 years ago | Words: Andy Wigan | Photos: Steve Cox

Much was made of the Australian team’s podium at the recent Motocross of Nations (MXoN) in the USA. And rightly so. The combination of Jett and Hunter Lawrence and Mitch Evans – all aboard HRC Hondas, incidentally – rode incredibly well and were a genuine chance of snatching an historic first ever victory for Team Australia right up to the event’s final moto at America’s iconic RedBud track. The Aussie boys ended up running third, just a couple of points off second-placed Team France, with Team USA taking their first win in 11 long years.

What struck us, though, is that there’ve been several references to this being Australia’s second ever MXoN podium, but there was little or no mention of the first Aussie team to climb the podium at this annual international melting pot of man and moto machine.

So, can you recall when Australia posted that very first MX of Nations podium, and who was on the team? Yep, it was the 2011 MXoN in France, thanks to the green-and-gold trio of Chad Reed, Brett Metcalfe and Matt Moss. And just like this year, the Aussies stood on that 2011 podium with USA and France.

Looking back, that little slice of moto history all went down just as we were going to print with November 2011 issue (#14) of Transmoto Dirt Bike Magazine, so let’s reflect on the ‘Framed’ double-page spread image and we ran about the achievement in that mag (the extended caption to this Steve Cox DPS photograph is cut and pasted below in case you can’t read the fine-print on the PDF of the Framed image itself)…

5 THINGS YOU DON’T KNOW ABOUT THIS SHOT:

WHO: Team USA, France & Australia
WHAT: 2011 Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations
WHERE: St Jean d’Angely motocross circuit – France
WHEN: September 18, 2011

1.
Coming into the MXoN, Team USA’s Ryan Villopoto and Ryan Dungey squabbled over selection for the premier MX1 class and the right to run the No.1 plate. They needn’t have bothered. Team USA won its seventh consecutive MXoN crown – their 22nd victory in the event!

2.
Roger DeCoster was a multiple MXdN winner with Team Belgium, before ‘defecting’ to manage Team USA in 1981. That year marked America’s first win and the start of an incredible 13-year winning streak. Yep, RDC the Belgian put American motocross on the map!

3.
Right up until the final moto, Team France looked like they might have the win in the bag, much to the delight of their moto-mad and parochial hometown fans. But when Pourcel’s rear mousse disintegrated, the Frogs’ chance of winning was cruelly dashed.

4.
Prior to 2011, Team Australia had posted 11 top-10 results since first participating in the MXdN in 1985, but they’d never managed to climb the coveted international podium. Our best result was a fourth in 1988 in Italy, with Jeff Leisk, Craig Dack and Glenn Bell.

5.
What a proud moment for Chad Reed, Brett Metcalfe, Matt Moss and long-time Aussie team manager, Gary Benn. After years of bad luck and near misses, Team Australia finally earned a place on the sport’s most prestigious podium – 10 years on from Reed’s first MXoN.

PS: If you’re a history buff, here’s a more detailed summary of what went down at that 2011 MXoN in France.

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