Tim Gasjer MX2 (left) and Romain Fevbre MXGP (right) with their World Championship gold plates.

The 2015 FIM Motocross World Championship series headed stateside to the very hot Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernadino, California for their season finale. With Americans qualifying first in both the MX2 and MXGP class on Saturday, the USA versus the world vibe was peeked by the time the Sunday races rolled around and the fans that attended the event would not be disappointed. In the end, America took the top two podium spots in MX2, but they could not knock the newly crowned MXGP World Champ off the top step.

In MX2 moto one, it was all Americans at the front of the pack. Through the first turn, it was the Finnish rider Harri Kullas leading the way, but by the time the 250F’s roared up the hills of Glen Helen, the crowd was ignited as Jessy Nelson took the lead on his Troy Lee Designs/KTM and his teammate Shane McElrath followed him through into 2nd position with Monster/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Chris Alldredge making it 1-2-3 USA up front. From lap one through ten, not much changed up front, but on lap ten, Alldredge made a pass stick on McElrath for 2nd. At the end of moto one it was Nelson, Alldredge and McElrath sweeping the podium for USA and giving the crowd a shot in the arm of American pride.

The TLD/KTM's were up front in both MX2 starts today. Photo by: MXGP.com

The TLD/KTM’s were up front or near the front in both MX2 starts today. Harri Kullas leads the two KTM’s around the first turn here in moto 1. Photo by: MXGP.com

The closest FIM regulars in moto one were Kawasaki’s Max Anstie and Standing Construct Yamaha Yamalube’s Valentin Guillod in 4th and 5th. Anstie got a horrible start, but the Brit fought for 30 + 2 to carve his way from 14th to 4th. Guillod also got a bad start and went from 10th to 5th in the moto. Both the #99 and the #92 gave the FIM fans in attendance a reason to look forward to moto two.

The big story in the FIM MX2 World Championship was the battle between the Slovenian Tim Gasjer on the Honda and the Latvian Pauls Jonass on the Factory KTM. The two came into the finale with just 18 points between them, but both struggled in the heat in moto one. By the end of the opening moto, Gasjer had finished 6th with Jonass in 10th. The spread would be 22 points heading into the final moto of the year.

Jessy Nelson was the class of the MX2 field at the USGP. Photo by: MXGP.com

Jessy Nelson was the class of the MX2 field at the USGP. Photo by: MXGP.com

When the gate dropped for MX2 moto two, it was once again the two TLD/KTM riders at the front. Nelson and McElrath got the start and simply rode away from the European field. Early in the race, Gasjer stayed close to McElrath, but with the Championship on the line, he could not take the chances needed to stop the teammates. Nelson and McElrath would finish moto two right where they started and claim 1st and 2nd overall on the day. Nelson did it with the 1-1 sweep while McElrath got his 2nd overall with a 3-2 on the day. Alldredge, who finished 2nd in the opening moto, crashed in moto two and finished 13th. His 2-13 still netted him a solid 6th overall on the day.

Behind the Americans, Gasjer gave way to a charging Guillod on lap four. Guillod seemed to gel well with the Glen Helen circuit and cruised in for a 3rd in moto two. The Swiss rider looked like the most aggressive of the FIM regulars and his 5-3 was good enough to secure him the 3rd overall in the finale.

Tim Gasjer celebrates his MX2 World Championship with the team. Photo by: MotoXAddicts.com

Tim Gasjer celebrates his MX2 World Championship with the team. Photo by: MotoXAddicts.com

The man of the hour was Mr. Tim Gasjer. The #243 is from the small country of Slovenia, but today it was big enough to produce the 2015 MX2 World Champion. Gasjer was 4th overall on the day, but that was more than sufficient to seal the deal on his first-ever MX2 World Championship. His team and family were throwing a big party in the pits long after the racing came to a close. Check back later this week to hear what Tim had to say to us in my post-race interview with the Champ. Possibly Supercross in his future?

In the first moto of the MXGP class, it was Star Racing/Yamaha’s Cooper Webb getting the lead early. The young 250MX rider was making his MXGP 450 debut and looked very prepared for his coming out party. The #175 was passed on lap three by Monster/Kawasaki’s Josh Grant, but by lap ten, the newly crowned MXGP World Champion, Yamaha Factory Racing Yamalube’s Romain Febvre, had pushed the pace and Webb back up and around Grant for the lead. By lap eleven, Grant had fallen off the leaders pace to third and an all-out war between Webb and Febvre had broken out.

Romain Febvre came from behind to catch and pass Cooper Webb in moto 1. Photo by: MXGP.com

Romain Febvre came from behind to catch and pass Cooper Webb in moto 1. Photo by: MXGP.com

It was Webb leading the next four laps and, with the two-lap card out, looked like he may hang on and carry the American flag to the moto win. Unfortunately for the North Carolinian, the Frenchman still had plenty left in his tank. The two battled back and forth, up and down Glen Helen’s Mt. Saint Helens, and Febvre finally made a pass stick for the lead at the bottom of the hill. From there, Webb did not surrender, but the World Champ was just too strong for the MXGP rookie. When the checkered flag waved, Febvre gave us his patented French heel-clicker with the win and Webb crossed the line 2nd with Grant—who we thought looked visibly tired—hanging on for 3rd.

Behind Grant, Rockstar/Husqvarna’s Jason Anderson rode an amazing race to finish 4th in front of Red Bull/KTM’s Antonio Cairoli in 5th. While Cairoli rounded turn one in 2nd, the New Mexico born rider started with his normal 12th place start and spent the very hot moto slicing his way around the MXGP regulars. In the end, El Hombre crossed the line eleven seconds adrift of Grant, but he made it very clear that with a start, he could race for the win. For Cairoli, a 5th place in moto one was a solid return to racing after missing the last five rounds to injury.

After a great first moto, the fans lined the fences for MXGP moto two, and the riders gave the crowd their money’s worth one more time. Off the gate, Cooper Webb once again launched his Yamaha into the lead. The #175 looked poised to take the second moto and the overall, but the former MXGP multi-time World Champ Antonio Cairoli was looking frisky. The #222 quickly passed his way to the lead and tried to sprint away, but his lack of fitness, his injury and Josh Grant all caught up with the Italian. Grant passed Antonio on lap three, and by lap five, the Italian was back at the KTM truck sitting in the air conditioning. Antonio was not the only rider affected by the heat. When the checkered flag waved, only 17 of the 30 riders were still on track.

Josh Grant showed incredible fitness at Glen Helen in moto 2. Photo by: MXGP.com

Josh Grant showed incredible fitness at Glen Helen in moto 2. Photo by: MXGP.com

Once in the lead, Grant laid down some blazing fast Glen Helen laps, checking out to a five-second lead. The big Russian Honda pilot Evgeny Bobryshev followed Grant through, but he could not match the local Californian’s pace at home. From there Grant put on an impressive display of speed and fitness and made a great case for picking up a ride for 2016. He went on to win moto two comfortably and, with his 3rd in moto one, take home 2nd overall on the day.

Behind Grant, Bobryshev was hunted down by Febvre, and at the halfway mark, the World Champ pushed the Russian back to third. Febvre put on a late-race charge to catch Grant, but in the end, a late tip over ended his bid at a second-straight 1-1 performance. As it was, the Frenchman took the 2015 USGP overall with a 1-2 performance behind Grant.

Webb led the race early but faded back to 5th before regrouping and climbing back up to finish 3rd in moto two. It was a strange moto for Webb; he literally looked like three different riders over the 30 minutes plus two laps, but in the end, all three riders were good enough to score a podium finish in Webb’s first ever MXGP race on the big 450. Overall, it was a strong performance for Team USA’s open rider for next weekend’s Motocross of Nations. Everyone, including Cooper, felt better about USA’s chances next weekend in France.

Cooper Webb erased all doubts about his MXoN selection for Team USA. Photo by: MXGP.com

Cooper Webb erased all doubts about his MXoN selection for Team USA. Photo by: MXGP.com

The last two USGPs at Glen Helen were a flop by all accounts. No fans, no American riders and no real interest at all in the US. The 2015 edition of the MXGP of U.S.A., though, was an overall success, and hopefully this is a step in the right direction towards reigniting the USGP traditions of old. After the event, Bud Feldkamd—President of Glen Helen Raceway—and Giuseppe Luongo from Youthstream announced that the USGP will be back at Glen Helen for 2016 and beyond. We hope to see more of you at the event.

MXGP Overall Results – 2015 Grand Prix of U.S.A. (Glen Helen)

Click Results to enlarge & view in Slideshow

MXGP Overall Results – 2015 MXGP of USA – Glen Helen – Click to Enlarge

MX2 Overall Results – 2015 Grand Prix of U.S.A. (Glen Helen)

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MX2 Overall Results – 2015 MXGP of USA – Glen Helen – Click to Enlarge

2015 MXGP Motocross World Championship Points – Final Standings

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*Romain Febvre 2015 MXGP Champion

2015 MXGP Motocross World Championship Points – Final Standings – Click to Enlarge

2015 MX2 Motocross World Championship Points – Final Standings

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*Tim Gasjer 2015 MX2 Champion

2015 MX2 Motocross World Championship Points – Final Standings – Click to Enlarge