Swizcorner - "Honor. Never a Choice"
By:
swizcore

It’s crazy how quickly your periphery and focus can swap without you even noticing.

Following yesterday mornings Motocross des Nations results, somber, bewildered and reeling were seemingly appropriate emotions, waking this morning though, it was another reality check and snap back to focus that have become all too common in the last couple decades.
 

Trying to compartmentalize the reprehensible massacre executed in Las Vegas last night is obviously difficult but I will ask that you simply pray for those who were killed or injured and their loved ones to work through the pain and achieve as much of a sense of normalcy as possible in their forever altered future. The more this shit happens, the more it seems to cauterize our hearts and numb our response and that is tragic in itself.

 
Back to the Track
 
Leading into this years Motocross des Nations, I looked at the American team as for sure underdogs. I had absolute confidence in Zach Osborne, steady faith in Cole Seely and tempered hopes that Thomas Covington could prove a solid rider in MX3. I feel like the majority of American fans could get on board with that assessment. I absolutely believe that Thomas Covington was overachieving this year in MX2, especially at the USGP and that really raised my hopes of what he may do at the MXdN, so much so that I thought there could be an outside chance at an “all cards falling right” opportunity for America to return to the victor’s circle at the close of racing Sunday.
 
Boy how wrong I was…
 

Matterly Basin delivered exactly what one with even a smattering of global weather pattern knowledge would know to be a slam dunk: Rain. It came often, it came steadily and it created some heavy-ass mud, deep ruts, a greasy surface and essentially an “all bets are off” situation which truthfully didn’t affect the results as much as you would expect. The French Team excelled and extended their winning streak, the Netherlands lead by Jeffrey Herlings were impressive in second and the home-team of Great Britain rounded the podium lead by two incredible and incredibly un characteristically consistent DOMINANT rides by Max Anstie.

 
Zach dealt with mediocre starts in his races, a crash and the same difficulties all the MX2 riders did against the 450’s in the treacherous muddy conditions but he really dug deep in his second race to secure the teams best score, a 3rd. Zach’s desire to be part of this team and effort to make the most of a less than optimal situation was really respectable, especially considering he knew from the outset that this was an absolute uphill battle from long before the team was actually chosen. Injuries and flat refusals to represent the USA didn’t affect Zach’s fervor to give it his best shot and he’s got many fans’ hearts’ from here on out, for that attitude.
 
Cole Seely unbelievably, incredulously and inexplicably suffered from the same shock failure in both moto's!! What?! How in the EFF does FACTORY HONDA suffer such a blunder at "the most important race of the year” (more on that later)?? The fact that Cole Seely is a born and bred California kid and knowing how that factor typically works out in the conditions we saw at Matterly Basin yesterday, I get the feeling Cole was pretty much at the pinnacle of frustration when he realized in his second race that AGAIN his shock had failed and he would be tallying essentially double DNF scores at the MXdN. What a kick in the dick that must have been.
 
(Adendum: MXVice announced this morning that Thomas Covington tore his ACL in Saturday Qualifying which really explains my confounding thoughts on his Sunday results. I just knew TC had to have more than pressure produce his Sunday results. Heal up Thomas.) I really feel for Thomas Covington. He was essentially a sheep thrown to the wolves, a move forced by the lack of uninjured or INTERESTED(both due to scheduling or team changes) American riders available for the MX3 spot. Thomas is absolutely a great rider but he did not carry the bonafides to step up from years in MX2 to battle on the grandest stage on the 450 with guys who focus solely on 450 prep. 
 
I have all the respect in the world for these three guys. Zach, Cole and Thomas entered into this race knowing they were a long shot and they made no excuses, simply stepped up to the plate and gave it their best shot for the United States. As it turned out, we never stood a chance. Considering the numerous injuries, retirement of RD5 and the inexcusable refusal by Eli Tomac, these guys represented us and I’ll always admire them for that.
 
Following the race I found myself really disgusted as I continued circling back to Eli Tomac’s refusal of the invitation to lead the American team. People can talk all they want about the schedule, the sponsors, the blah blah blah… I don’t care. The schedule is no more gnarly than it was in the days or Bailey, Wardy, Stanton and RC. Those guys wanted to win every damn race on the table and when I look at Eli, I see a guy with shaky confidence who see’s the MXdN as a distraction from the elusive Supercross title. And you know what, that’s whatever to me… The key in my mind is when I imagine what David Bailey, Jeff Ward, Jeff Stanton and Ricky Carmichael would say about that in an anonymous interview if they were asked.
 
The 80’s and 90’s, when Men were Men and the MXdN was an HONOR.
 
 NEVER a CHOICE.