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Carmichael on Team USA

Ricky Carmichael was always the leader when it came to the Motocross of Nations. A man who helped bring Team USA back to the Nations after they missed the 2001, 2002 and 2003 events.

His debut in 1998 was a tough one as the pouring rain at the Foxhills facility caused all riders (apart from Stefan Everts) to struggle. But his team victories in 2000, 2005 and 2007 are some of the most dominating performances, the MXoN have ever seen.

While he won the 450 class overall in 2004, his team lost to Team Belgium, and he also struggled in 1999 in Brazil when Team Italy won the Chamberlain trophy.

Carmichael would love to be involved in helping Team USA return to their dominant days, and he is open in working with the riders to try and motivate them to victory.

“It would be an honour to work with the team,” Carmichael said. “I haven’t spoken to anyone. I am always up for helping, but I have never been invited. Roger (DeCoster) keeps it locked up pretty tight for the most part, but I am always here to help, and I am always willing to help the riders, but I haven’t seen an invite.”

The rider known as the GOAT in America also feels that Team USA have the riders to win the event, but it is not always lady luck on their side.

“I think we have had good enough teams to contend with the win. Last year sucked with Jason Anderson, and he was lucky he came back from that. I think the important thing to remember, we have had teams capable of winning, but we have finished where we were capable of finishing.”

Not racing for Team USA is something that burnt Carmichael whenever he wasn’t picked. And surprisingly, there were years he didn’t get the call from Roger DeCoster.

“I remember the year I didn’t get picked, in 1997, I wasn’t picked and they took Steve Lamson, and I was bummed. My goal was to win a supercross and a motocross title, and race the Motocross of Nations.”

As for riders from America not wanting to represent their nation, that is something Carmichael just doesn’t understand. His desire to hold the American flag high was legendary and he feels it’s time for the excuses to stop and riders to put their name in the hat for MXoN selection.

“That’s the funny thing, I don’t know what has changed from when I raced. We have the same number of races, the top guys are getting paid a lot more, some of the top guys. So, I am trying to figure out what has changed. I am still trying to figure out what the hell has changed.”

As for the domination by European riders at the MXoN in recent years, Carmichael feels it’s as much about the way the American riders look at motocross, as anything else.

“I enjoyed racing. I think what is happening is, the riders don’t take as much pride in the motocross championships (in America), and they put more effort into supercross, with riding and training and I think that is why the gap now is so close between the American riders and the GP riders now. I think the American riders just maintain through motocross, but if you ask them what would they rather win, they will tell you supercross.

“Also, I feel like compared to my day, there are faster European guys now, while in my day, it was just Stefan. Now there is Herlings, Cairoli, Febvre, Gajser, the list goes on. It wasn’t like that in my day. More guys now and I think the Americans don’t work as hard in motocross and it makes it look like the European guys have gotten faster.”

Ray Archer images