2018 MXON | The Emotion Awards

By Billy Rainford

Motocross is an emotional sport. You can run through the entire gamut of them in a matter of seconds. The MXON takes those emotions to an even higher level when national pride gets involved.

If you look up the “Top 10 Human Emotions” on the internet, you’ll find fear, anger, sadness, joy, disgust, trust, anticipation, surprise, remorse, and love. With these in mind, I thought it would be a fun exercise to go through each one and pick something from this past weekend at the MXON at Red Bud to go along with the emotion.

We’ll call this “The Emotion Awards.” Really, it’s just an excuse to tell a few more MXON stories…


Not much made me afraid this past weekend, so when I thought about this emotion, the only thing I came up with was the fear of getting out of the parking lot without the use of a tractor.

The parking lots were all on rolling hills and with the rain we had leading up to and during the event, getting the DMX Van onto solid ground was a gamble on both nights.

James Lissimore got out of the van and scoped out the best lines, both nights. We watched as lesser driver just simply cruised their 2-wheel-drive rental sedans into the worst mud and got stuck. We couldn’t believe what we were watching!

One guy just kept doing the same approach over and over again and couldn’t seem to understand why it wasn’t working.

They even had to remove some of the big cement barriers to let people take runs at new sections of the hill on fresh grass. The key was to get enough speed to carry you between the cement barriers without sliding into them!

After we picked our lines, we got in the van and went for it. To both our surprises, we managed to hold our speed and get ourselves to the solid ground of the entry road without much problem, passing stuck vehicles along the way.


If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times: In what universes is it funny to urinate all over the toilet seat or remove all the toilet paper in an outhouse and pee all over it so nobody can use it?! Seriously, if I caught someone doing this I would be as angry as when I drive up on someone in the left lane of the highway!

In fact, on our way to the hotel Saturday night, I rolled up on someone driving beside another car along the highway. I gave them ample time to clear the car in the right lane and then get out of everyone’s way. Of course, he didn’t do that at all.

I was respectful at first and thought that maybe he was on cruise control and was going only slightly faster than the other car. Nope. He wasn’t passing him at all!

OK, so now I had to take it upon myself to give driving lessons on the fly. I moved up on his rear bumper, gave him the 3 quick high beam flashes and waited…nothing.

There was now a group of cars growing behind me and we were all getting frustrated. you know how that goes, but this guy was now taking the same opportunity to give ME driving lessons and stayed purposely beside the other car…for about 3 minutes. Seriously!

I moved over to see if maybe the right lane driver saw this garbage and would either slow down or speed up to put an end to the insanity, but they did not.

With construction ahead, we were all forced into the right lane, and the idiot ended up 2 cars ahead of us. What happened next was priceless. He got off at the same exit we were! Perfect.

We rolled around and I got up closer to him. He slowed down to let me by and I went around him. I then noticed it was an older gentleman by himself. He must have thought he’d taken it too far and was now in fear for his life. Road ragers in the USA can go next level!

I got in front of him and slowed down. He was too afraid to push it and stayed back there. He must have thought we’d gotten off at his exit to come and get him.

He had experienced the first 2 emotions in the reverse order — he went from angry to terrified!

Anyway, we pulled into our hotel parking lot and that was the end of it. My anger had subsided.


The story about a father who lost his son in a street bike accident was the saddest thing I heard all weekend. Apparently, the father approached Kevin Windham and told him the story and how he really wanted Kevin to ride with his son’s ashes strapped to the bike somehow.

Windham apparently agreed immediately and did some time on the track with the ashes taped to his handlebars.

I never got a photo of this as I heard about it from Jason Weigant’s Twitter, but how cool is that?! It was both sad and uplifting at the same time.


How can I not pick the Team Puerto Rico story for this emotion?! I have to. The support these three riders got from the crowd was like nothing I’d ever seen at one of these events.

Then Travis Pastrana raced, I joked that you always knew where he was on the track from the cheers of the crowds. Seriously, he was that popular when he raced.

Add in an unfit Kevin Windham and Ryan Sipes and the fundraising story for hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico, and you’ve one hell of a feel-good story on your hands.

At the press conference before the racing, the story of how TP ended up riding the 250 2-stroke was a good one. He wanted to ride the 450 4-stroke but team manager, Ricky Johnson, said that the last thing he wanted Travis to do was get a good start, or a holeshot, and think he could win the thing. He wanted him to get a mediocre start and ride to his 2018 level.

The guys won the B Main and moved on to the A Finals. Only Sipes was in condition to actually race, so it was more of a parade lap and farewell for the other 2 riders.

Travis attempted a back flip on the sight lap, crashed, got up, and had the crowd worked up into a lather. It was great.


Hmm, what disgusted me this weekend? I’m not really sure anything did. If I have to pick something, I guess I’ll to go with the USA fan who proudly walked around the pits in a thong. It sounds great, right? Wrong! It was a dude! (I’m basing this one on the fact that most readers here are male) It was more disturbing than disgusting, but it starts with the letter ‘D’ so we’ll go with that.

Someone from Team Canada asked him if he was cold. They didn’t actually mean what you think they meant, but it was priceless, nonetheless.


I’m not even 100% sure how this one is an emotion, really, but it’s on there. One trust that didn’t waver all weekend was the trust that the Team Canada riders were going to head out on the track and give it 100%, every time.

They were all hurting, with shoulder and head injuries, but they didn’t complain and they went out and raced hard.

Nobody would have blamed them if they’d given 50% efforts out there. Colton Facciotti and Jess Pettis had shoulders that would keep most people away from work or school a few days, but they sucked it up, got an injection from the medics before their motos, and they were out there.

Tyler Medaglia said he was seeing cross-eyed after that crash in the off-camber section, but he got the OK from the medics to race and was out there again for his final moto.

Trusting their efforts was never in doubt.


I think we were all anticipating a no holds barred battle between the new MXGP World Champion, Jeffrey Herlings, and the AMA National Champion, Eli Tomac.

Sure, they were both out there on the track at the same time, but their times’ clearly weren’t the same.

After Herlings went from last to 3rd in his qualifier, you knew he was ready. Tomac started up in 6th in the same qualifier and moved up to 5th spot before his motor let go and he took a DNF.

Herlings put 25 seconds on 2nd place, Gautier Paulin, in the first moto and then he and Glen Coldenhoff were 1 minute ahead of 3rd place, Paulin, in the final race.

The epic showdown between Herlings and Tomac never materialized. In the end, Jeffrey called himself the “Fastest Man on the Planet” and Tomac did his best not to make excuses when he was interviewed.


This one’s easy. I was surprised by how much sandier the track was. I was surprised at how badly the Dutch killed everyone in that final moto. I was surprised at how fast Jorge Prado was on his 250 against the 450’s. I was surprised by how many Canada flags there were in the crowd. I was surprised Puerto Rico won the B Main and made it in. I was surprised at how much of a stud both Antonio Cairoli and Gautier Paulin are out there still at these events. I was surprised to learn this was Tanel Leok‘s 18th MXON in a row! I was surprised the USA ended up 6th. I was surprised Canada got 11th after what they all went through.


I’m remorseful (that’s maybe too strong a word, but…) about not going to check out the Pit Bike des Nations. When James and I heard that it was scheduled to go from 7-11pm, neither of us could muster the energy to do it. It was cold and rainy and just didn’t sound like a good time to us.

We both had lots of work to do, so it didn’t happen. If they do it again at Assen, I’ll be there, for sure.

I also regret not taking a trip into Camping Lot B. I’ve heard nothing but crazy stories from that place. I don’t partake in the craziness, these days, but I would have liked to witness it and snap a few photos to remember it by. I’ll see this in Assen, too.


I love this event. If you’ve never been to one of these things, start saving now and buy a Fan Package to the 2019 event in Holland. You will not be disappointed, I promise you.