Everyone loves a story about an underdog rising up and supplanting the established star. Hollywood generally sensationalizes the narrative, building drama by creating an antagonist so despised that the collective audience can’t help but root for the protagonist. Think Ivan Drago in “Rocky IV” or T-1000 in “Terminator 2.” In motocross, there have been plenty of historical events that would transition well to the big screen, none more than Team USA’s surprising victory at the 1981 Motocross des Nations.
Younger generations will find it hard to believe that the United States wasn’t always been a global motocross power. Up until 1981, European powerhouses such as Belgium, England and Sweden churned out the best talent. That point was made known at the annual Motocross des Nations events. Held every year from 1947, names like John Draper, Jeff Smith, Derek Rickman, Bengt Aberg and Roger DeCoster were instrumental in piloting their national teams to victory. The United States, on the other hand, hadn’t been introduced to motocross until 1966 by Edison Dye and Torsten Hallman. Americans were neophytes in the sport, outmatched by the European establishment in every way… read more >