Ryan Dungey, Andrew Short and Trey Canard will represent the U.S.A. at the Motocross of Nations, Sept. 25-26 at Thunder Motocross Park in Lakewood, Colo. Dungey, the team captain, will compete in the 450cc four-stroke MX1 class; Canard will race in the MX2 class featuring 250cc four-strokes; and Short will race in the MX3 open class.
“These riders train really hard, they’ve had good seasons and I think they will work good together as a team,” says Roger DeCoster, AMA Team USA manager and a Hall of Famer. “I’m happy with our team, and I hope our other American riders will come out and support the team, considering it is in their own country. It’s centrally located. Denver is an easy airport to get in and out of, and it’s a good track with great views for spectators. The fans should come out, and we should have a successful event. Hopefully, we can win it.”
Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Dungey has been dominant through the 2010 AMA Motocross season, winning 15 of 18 motos and taking eight overalls to lead the 450 class. The only rider who is mathematically still able to catch Dungey in the championship standings is Short, who races for Honda Red Bull Racing. Short trails Dungey by 111 points with three events remaining. Geico Powersport Honda’s Canard is currently second in the 250 class, trailing French rider Christophe Pourcel by 16 points.
“They selected a good team, and I am honored to be captain with Trey and Andrew,” says Dungey. “Trey’s been winning and Andrew has been getting starts and leading early, which is huge at a race with this format. I like our chances in keeping the Cup here in the United States.”
Of the three riders, only Dungey has raced in the Motocross of Nations before. Short and Canard will be rookies to the competition, and Short will have the honor of making his debut in his home state of Colorado.
“It is an incredible honor to be chosen to represent AMA Team USA at the Motocross of Nations this year,” says Short. “To be given this opportunity is something I have dreamt about since I was a little kid, and for it to become a reality is amazing. For the Motocross of Nations to be held in my home state of Colorado is just icing on the cake!”
One name that was conspicuously left off the team is San Manuel Yamaha’s James Stewart. A multiple-time AMA Motocross and Supercross champion, Stewart returned to racing at the Aug. 14 AMA Motocross round at Unadilla after a seven-month layoff after breaking his wrist in the 2010 AMA Supercross Championship. Stewart finished third in the first moto at Unadilla but was unable to finish the second.
Following the Team USA announcement, Stewart criticized the rider selection process in an open letter:
I was really disappointed in how that whole deal went down. Like I said earlier, after being told that if I was to make it back for the last four Nationals, I would be given a shot at being on the team. Well, when I got to Unadilla, apparently the decision had already been made before my bike was even unloaded! So after all that work from me and my team to come back in order to make the des Nations, just like that, the rug was pulled out from under me with no warning. They picked the team already, and I wasn't on it.
I feel like I was straight-up lied to. Being on the MXoN team is one of the biggest honors and compliments that you be given as a professional rider, and I know that with my injury there was some question as to whether I would be ready or not. I get that; all I wanted was to be even given the original chance they promised me, let me get through a couple races, and hopefully the team could see that I would be ready come September.
At the end of the day, all that really matters to me is that Team USA wins, and I think the team they selected is a solid team that will get the job done. I mean no disrespect to any of those guys, and I hope they kick butt! I'm just bummed that I was given the fair shot that the decision makers from Team USA promised me earlier that I would have.
When healthy, Stewart can be uncatchable on the track, as evidenced by his perfect 2008 AMA Motocross season in which he won all 24 motos. Stewart has also been part of two Motocross of Nations Championship teams.
Until Unadilla however, his health was a big question mark, and seven months away from the sport is a long time while Dungey, Short and Canard have been competing the entire 2010 AMA Motocross season.
“These riders are fresh, fast and each is riding at the top of his game right now,” says AMA Director of Racing Joe Bromley. “They have been racing all summer in the world’s most competitive national championship series, the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championships, and all three are ready to face the best of the rest. We are honored that they are representing the United States and the AMA at this prestigious event on American soil.”