U.S. team named for the 2023 Motocross of Nations
Aaron Plessinger, Christian Craig and RJ Hampshire will represent the United States in the Motocross of Nations (MXON) October 6-8 in Ernee, France, the American Motorcycle Association announced.
Plessinger and Craig will ride 450s; Hampshire will ride a 250.
“After putting Team USA on the top step of the podium last year, we look forward to taking on the world once again in October as the defending champions,” said AMA Director of Racing Mike Pelletier in a press release. “We have a team that is enthusiastic to represent the United States, and I look forward to seeing what we accomplish this year.”
This will be the second appearance by Plessinger in the international event. He first competed in the series in 2018 with a pair of fifth-place finishes in combines and a seventh in MX2 overall.
“It really feels great to get to be on team USA again and I’m very fortunate to have this opportunity to go race for my country,” Plessinger said. “This is one race that I always look forward to and we have some big shoes to fill from what the boys did last year, so I’m ready for the challenge. I’ve got some really awesome teammates, a great team surrounding us, and we’re going to go give it our all over in France.”
Returning from injury, Craig will represent the U.S. at Motocross of Nations for the first time and will compete in the Open Class.
It will also be Hampshire’s inaugural appearance in the Motocross of Nations. He will race in the MX2 Class.
The trio will try to defend last years’ MXON victory earned by Eli Tomac, Chase Sexton and Justin Cooper when the race was held at RedBud MX Park in Buchanan, Michigan. That was the first victory for the U.S. since a seven-year streak ended in 2011.
Roger DeCoster will serve as team manager.
“With our race season being the longest ever, and only having one week separating the end of the [SuperMotocross World Championship] and Motocross of Nations, as well as several riders who had been injured and some switching teams, it was the toughest year we have faced yet to find three riders ready to race an additional event and work together as a team,” DeCoster said. “I was very happy when we asked Aaron, R.J. and Christian about going to France — they all jumped at the opportunity to represent the USA and challenge the French Team on home soil, and the rest of the world.
“This is one of France’s most spectacular tracks. After some mixed results during the long season, they are eager to prove they have more in the tank and are excited to show it to the world. I hope the U.S. supporters get behind these three riders as they take on the Motocross of Nations in a few weeks.”
With their first win coming in 1981, followed by another dozen in the succeeding years, the U.S. team has won this event a record 23 times. DeCoster has managed the team for 21 of those victories.