MXON Opening Ceremonies | Friday Photos

By Billy Rainford

We’re almost ready to drop the gate on the 2018 MXON at Red Bud in Buchanan, Michigan. Did you know I was at the event the very first time it was held in the USA? Well, I was, and the year was 1987 and the track was Unadilla.

This is the 72nd running of the event and it’s back in the USA. The Americans haven’t won in 6 years! The French team is on a 4-year win streak, but it’s going to be difficult this year.

Here’s are some photos from today and a closer look at what went down at opening ceremonies.

We walked up to the Team Canada rig this morning and caught everyone relaxing and having a bite to eat before they mechanics got all three bikes through tech inspection.

Christian Huber and Justin Petker walking Tyler Medaglia’s bike over to go through tech.

The #39 Open Class entry gets the seal of approval.

Brett Lee checking out the weekend schedule.

John Knowles building some Scott goggles for Team Canada’s Tyler Medaglia.

Matt Bannon getting caught up. Matt’s got some basketball game!

Each rider has an actual size photo of themselves behind their bikes. Nice touch.

 

Tyler Medaglia.

The Tylers getting in the spirit.

 

There was a meeting in the media tent to introduce a few of the teams and welcome everyone to the event.

When Roger DeCoster was asked if this was his last MXON for Team USA, he simply said he’d leave that decision up to others.

The 3 American riders, Justin Barcia, Aaron Plessinger, and Eli Tomac. AP said he feels “like we’re gonna do some damage.”

Team France will be fast, but I don’t know if they’ll repeat this year to make it 5.

Jeffrey Herlings is the new MXGP champion and will be one of the top guys to watch all weekend. He admitted it is going to be hard to beat the US team. 

Max Anstie (2nd from left) for Team Great Britain went 1-1 at last year’s event in his home country. It was pretty funny when the crowd was being too loud and he said, “Ya, you can listen to me…I went 1-1 last year!”

Someone yelled, “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!” and the law states an Australian MUST yell, “Oy, Oy, Oy!” right away. Hunter Lawrence (2nd from left) is pitted in the Geico Honda rig.

Antonio Cairoli is the king at these events. He admits he’s definitely not at 100% after a crash but that the goal is to be on the podium.

The crowd reserved the biggest cheer for these guys. No matter what happens this weekend, Team Puerto Rico has already won.

Being Ryan Sipes on a 3-man team with these guys has got to be a little like being the 3rd Tenor! He’ll probably have the best finishes of the team though.

Travis joked that he’s been in retirement but that Kevin Windham has been DEEP in retirement. They had the crowd laughing the entire time.

TP wanted to race the 4-stroke but RJ told him the last thing he wanted Travis to do was pull the holeshot and think he can win the thing. He said for him to get out there with a mediocre start and rip the 2-stroke all over the track.

Travis will be the last one out of here this weekend. He can’t take 2 steps here without being stopped. Don’t forget to turn out the lights…

Oliver and Julien Benek are from BC and are both at their first MXON and having a blast.

I found Marco Dubé hanging out in the Forma boots booth.

I also bumped into Kenzie Hennessy.

Randy Lloyd having a good time.

Team Canada waiting for their turn to hop into a Dodge Ram 1500 and get introduced to the crowd.

The atmosphere is always amazing at these things.

Ken Roczen has kind of flown under the MXON radar. He’ll be up at the front.

Travis whipping the crowd into a frenzy.

Team Canada Youth Ambassadors taking in the action from up on a hill.

Team Philippines heading to the opening.

RC got his turn on the mic.

If you don’t think this guy got the crowd chanting, “USA, USA, USA, ” you’re wrong.

When at the Des Nations…

New MX2 World Champ, Jorge Prado.

They reached into the crowd and revved up a couple chainsaws.

Travis actually jumped into the crowd and tried to crowd surf.

Team Canada working their way through the crowd.

Team France got a big ovation, but Team USA was in line next, so they sort of got overlooked.

Eli Tomac gets up close with some fans.

Jess Pettis at the end of the ride. I think he wanted to go around again.

Canada flag spotted!

James Lissimore getting a bird’s eye view.

Trying to get Team USA’s attention.

Check out this cast of characters.

Eli is obviously the other rider people are expecting to be going for the wins here.

Aaron is kind of into this…

Team USA.

OK, it’s a pretty early start for us tomorrow, so we’ll leave it here. Hey, Bill and Dutchie, say it! See you at the races…