AMA and FIM - No Swapping

Posted on August 13, 2019

As teams continue to pick their MXoN line-ups one thing that is ringing home, a lot of AMA riders don’t want to come, or are not allowed to come. Be it Eli Tomac, Ken Roczen, Marvin Musquin, Adam Cianciarulo, Cooper Webb, Dean Wilson, Dylan Ferrandis, or anyone else, they either are not interested or are just not selected, or both.

The AMA riders who do want to come are Hunter Lawrence, Zach Osborne, Jason Anderson and Justin Cooper. I would imagine there was a long list of riders willing to race for Team USA, but the list isn’t as big as it might have been in the 1980s, or 90s when Team USA ruled the roost.

The fact Dylan Ferrandis, Marvin Musquin, Dean Wilson, wouldn’t have been selected anyway doesn’t matter. Sure, Germany would have loved to have had Roczen in their line-up, and for sure I would have loved to have seen Cooper Webb race for Team USA.

What grabs me though is the fact not one of these riders will be missed, and I don’t mean to be a smart ass about this. Not one of them are the fastest rider in the World or have ever gone 1-1 at the MXoN. Lawrence has won the MX2 class in the past, and he is coming, Anderson got a moto win from Jeffrey Herlings in 2016 and he is coming and of course Osborn is a favourite in Europe and we all love to see him back as captain of Team USA and getting another shot after the disaster of Matterley Basin in 2017, when machine problems to Cole Seely saw the team sink to rock bottom. This Team USA will be a very popular one.

After last years performance I don’t think too many expected Roczen or Tomac to be competitive in the deep sand of Assen, and again that isn’t a knock on those two legends, because both are legends of the sport, with numerous FIM and AMA championships between them. Had one of them gone 1-1 last year at Redbud, I think we would miss seeing them, but they went 4-5-7-23. Max Nagl was actually the stand-out for Team Germany with 6-11 to Roczens 7-23.

I know speaking to Mark Chamberlain from Team GB, he had four riders in his wish list, and Wilson wasn’t one of them. I think most teams are shying away from selecting AMA based riders due to what happened in Redbud last year. If ever the AMA riders struggled at this event, it was in 2018 around their pride and joy circuit at Redbud.

Remember Budds Creek in 2007 where Team USA completely dominated the GP riders, Villopoto going 1-1, RC 1-3 and Ferry 2-4, OUCH. Or even Thunder Valley in 2010, where Dungey went 1-1 to led Team USA to an easy victory. Damn, I even remember 1987 when Ricky Johnson and Jeff Ward dominated the euros in the mud at Unadilla. Yes, Redbud was a really bad day and maybe it has changed the way both sides now look at each other.

Now its Max Anstie going 1-1, Glenn Coldenhoff going 1-1 and expect Jeffrey Herlings to go 1-1 in Assen. Thats how much the sport has changed in recent years.

We also see the interest from the GP riders on heading to race full time in America a lot less in recent times, so I guess the whole swapping teams across the Atlantic is working in both ways. Tim Gajser wants to race the Monster Energy Cup, but NO WAY he races full time in USA in the future, because he loves home too much. Same goes with Herlings, Cairoli, Prado, Seewer, Paulin, Desalle, and the rest. They don’t want to move to America like Roczen, Musquin, Reed, Tortelli, or Vuillemin did. Even the recent Thomas Covington and Hunter Lawrence move hasn't been too big a success, and there are even rumors that Covington is heading back to Europe for 2020.

So, while the level of competition is very close, and both sides of the Atlantic Ocean have great riders and great series, the swapping backwards and forward just isn’t happening of late and it isn’t a good sign for either series.