Reigning motocross champion Eli Tomac of Cortez will lead Team USA in the 2018 FIM Motocross of Nations in October in Buchanan, Michigan.
Team USA was announced Saturday at the Unadilla National race in New York, where Tomac finished second in a tiebreaker to rival Marvin Musquin, of France. Tomac currently leads the national Lucas Oil Pro Motocross series.
Tomac will be joined on Oct. 6-7 by Justin Barcia, who is fourth in the 450 Class standings, and 250 Class leader Aaron Plessinger. Barcia has raced for Team USA three times. In 2015, he won one moto and the MXGP class overall title, and in 2013 won the overall title in the Open class. In 2012, Barcia finished fourth in the Open.
Tomac returns to the event for the first time since 2014. He finished fourth overall in the MX2 class in 2013 and third in the Open class in 2014. He was injured in 2015, and in 2016 and 2017, decided not to race, citing a long schedule that included the supercross and motocross seasons, and the Monster Cup.
Plessinger, the West Coast’s 250 supercross champion, has not raced for Team USA.
Team USA last won the Chamberlain Trophy in 2011 and last year finished in ninth place. The Americans hope to dethrone France, a four-time champion of the Nations.
“Having the opportunity to race (the Nations) and represent your country in front of the world stage is a feeling like no other,” Tomac said, according to fullnoise.com. “And this year, with it being at Red Bud, it’s going to be next level for the entire event, and fans will be going absolutely bonkers. ... I have a really good feeling this is the year the USA gets the Chamberlain Trophy back in hand.”
Musquin was excluded from the French team. Disappointed, he lashed out at French Federation President Jacques Bolle.
“Jacques Bolle also talks about the importance for the rider to be healthy and performing good around this time of the year,” Musquin said in a Facebook post. “Seriously, what do you want me to say to that?”
“My results speak for themselves. I finished second in the AMA SX Championship this year, and I’m currently a title contender for the outdoor championship with three races left,” he added. “I won Red Bud this year, and I’ve been racing at Red Bud for the last eight years.”
Musquin also was excluded from the French team in 2016. In 2017, he pulled out with an injury.