Team USA Introduced at 2019 FIM Motocross of Nations
After 29 weeks of racing throughout the United States, the collective attention of American motocross is now focused on the 2019 FIM Motocross of Nations at TT Circuit Assen in the Netherlands. This weekend is the 73rd running of the international event and Team USA riders Jason Anderson, Justin Cooper, and Zach Osborne are eager to line up against talent from all parts of the globe and race for the Chamberlain Trophy. One of the dominant teams in the modern era of the Motocross of Nations, Team USA is determined to get back to form following a two-year absence from the podium and seven-year gap from its last overall victory.
The man-made track at TT Circuit Assen will be a challenge for all this weekend and it’s something Team USA has trained for extensively. The three riders headed to Europe shortly after the final round of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, then spent weeks at tracks in the region to sharpen the skills necessary for success in the sand and to come together as a team. With all of the pre-race work complete, it’s now time to find their form in Saturday’s qualifying races and go for the best finishes possible in Sunday’s three motos.
New York’s Cooper will race in the MX2 spot for the team, a career first for the second-year pro. Cooper claimed his share of moto wins in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, including his first overall victory at the Florida round, and ended the summer ranked third in the 250 Class championship.
“It’s an honor. This is my second year as a pro, so it’s time for me to come here and do this. I’m glad I got the opportunity and couldn’t be happier to be in this position and hopefully win it for my country,” stated Cooper. “We are in a good spot, all three of us are really prepared to go into this, so it should be a great weekend and we should be able to be up front in the motos.”
New Mexico’s Anderson will race in the MXGP spot, and this marks his second appearance at the Motocross of Nations. Anderson has as long been a front-runner in American racing and his speed and consistency through the summer’s 12-round series put him fourth in the 450 Class championship. A moto winner at the 2016 Motocross of Nations, Anderson is open-minded and optimistic ahead of the weekend.
“For me, this is one of the most fun races. I enjoy coming here, the atmosphere is cool, and I feel that this year is a unique time for the team. I’m going to try to put my best foot forward and perform the best we can,” said Anderson. “We’re as prepared as we can be. I think if we would have shown up at the last second it would have been tougher on us. We have done as much as we can to be ready. The biggest thing for us is to focus on ourselves and put in the best motos that we can. I think if we all put in really solid motos it could put us in range for a win, especially with mistakes from other teams. We are shooting to be on the podium, but with good performances from all of us, we could be in it for the win.”
Virginia’s Osborne will race in the Open spot, and this is his second time at the Motocross of Nations for Team USA. This past summer was Osborne’s first in the 450 Class, and he quickly adjusted to the premier division with moto wins and a fifth-place ranking in the 450 Class championship. Thanks to his extensive history of racing in Europe, Osborne will serve as the Team Captain.
“We’ve had a really good three weeks in Europe, training and adapting to the sand riding. I think we are all in a really good place. We picked up our lives, came here, and are eager to take on a big challenge. No matter what happens on Sunday, we’ve all put our best foot forward and made a good effort. I think it’s going to pay off,” shared Osborne. “It’s one of the most important races of the year. I love it and relish the moment when I am on the team. As the captain, I try to be there for the guys and rally them for the challenge, but at the same time, they both have come here just as eager as I have. It doesn’t take much to get them going when the time comes. We have weather that will play a part in the race and there are a lot of factors to the race, so it’s on us to come here and race knowing that we’ve put it all on the line.”
Motocross icon Roger DeCoster will again act as Team Manager. The Belgian native has filled the role for decades, through wins and defeat, and shares the team’s outlook ahead of the event.
“Once we talked to Jason and Zach, they took it upon themselves to come early. When they wanted to come so early, three weeks ahead of time, we were able to organize bikes and tracks with the Husqvarna factory. They took full advantage. Justin Cooper came early and joined them so they could ride together,” De Coster explained. “This team is a real team. They work together and only good things can happen from that. It’s going to be tough, very tough conditions in deep sand with a possibility of rain most of the weekend. But we are prepared as well as we can be, and I expect good things to happen.
Team USA would like to thank Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing and Monster Energy/Yamaha/Star Racing, as well as the European divisions of Husqvarna and Yamaha, and all technical supporters for their efforts at the pre-race tests and on-site at the Motocross of Nations.