Team USA for the Monster Energy Motocross of Nations in 2017 is without question one of the most popular (for the euro fans) in many years. With Zach Osborne a former GP racer, and current GP rider Thomas Covington also in the team, not to mention quiet guy Cole Seely, they will have a lot of support in England this October.

Sure, this isn’t the dream team of 1986—Ricky Johnson, Johnny O’Mara and David Bailey—or there isn’t a James Stewart, Ricky Carmichael, or Jeremy McGrath in the team, but it’s a team of riders who will give all, and don’t be surprised if come Sunday night, at Matterley Basin, in early October, this team isn’t holding the Chamberlain Trophy above their young heads.

Geoff Meyer caught up with Covington and asked him about what it means for him to be picked and what chance he feels the team have.

Covington has been quietly making a name for himself with podiums and overall wins in the MX2 World Championship.

Can you explain how it came about getting the call from Team USA?

Well, actually, after Tomac decided he wasn’t going to race, I thought there was a long shot. With my experience at Matterley, the format and I thought it would be a good option. So, I just sent Roger (DeCoster) an e-mail, and told him I was available and I really wanted to do it. Matterley is one of my favourite tracks and I rode the 450 back at home before Mexico, and it suits me really well. Speed was good and I felt really comfortable on it. I told him I could ride the 450 and I could get a good start and stay up front. So, I sent Roger the e-mail, and he replied a few times and we went backwards and forward and early this week he sent me an e-mail and told me I was in. It’s unbelievable and not many guys get this opportunity and being a racer, you never know if you are going to get that chance. Some other countries is a little different, because there are not always that many to be chosen, but to be one of those three, to be chosen, it’s unbelievable. I am really thankful for the opportunity.


So, the 450, or the 250. Was there any discussion, or Roger just decided? Any talks with you and Zach or Husqvarna as a team?

Well, he just told me I was in, and I went to the work-shop the next morning, and the team already knew the night before, because the had called and they were already a 450 together for me. So, I found out later on and Zach will be MX2 and Seely MX1. I am looking forward to it, I am really happy on the 250, but the 450 suits me better, so I am looking forward to doing that.


What about riding the 450, you have some GPs left, any temptation to ride the 450 in maybe the USGP?

I won’t race it at the GPs, I will probably stay on the 250 until after the USGP, and then maybe test a little bit, and after France we will probably stay in France and really get it dialled in.

Thomas’ dad, Mitch Covington, is well known within the industry for his position inside Monster Energy.

I understand it’s been 17 years since a GP rider has ridden for America (Ryan Hughes in 2000). Early this year, you jumps at the chance of another team at the MXoN, did you think you had no chance for Team USA?

Yes, I really didn’t think I had any chance. I actually lined up the Puerta Rican deal last year, when I talked to him at the MXoN, been talking to him all year, sorting things out, and getting the other riders in. It wasn’t in my mind, and the season hadn’t gone to plan, but it’s getting more consistent now, some podiums and it was just enough to get Rogers attention. I think it’s a solid team, maybe not the team with the big names, but this team has a lot of heart and we will give it everything we have I think we still have a good chance to win it and looking forward to it.


Zach has also wanted to be on the team for some time, and finally its happened. Have you had the chance to talk with Zach or Cole yet?

I haven’t talked to Cole at all, but I have with Zach, in fact he sent me a message after Lommel and said I was killing it, this was before I knew I would be on the team, he said he knew how bad that place sucked. A few days later, he was like, dude, are you stoked. We just talk back and forth, it’s going to be fun, and we think we have a shot to win it and it’s a cool team.


Looking at the teams I guess France are the favourites, but so many good teams, like Holland, Belgium, Great Britain have a good team. But if you look at it, there isn’t really a stand-out team, have you looked at that and thought, wait, we can really win this?

It’s not easy for one country to have three solid guys and I think we have that. We are not superstars. Zach is clearly on it, and Cole did well this weekend at Unadilla, and I have been riding well. I am coming into my own also. We have a solid team and why not go for the win.


Dan Lamb is a 12+ year journalist and the owner of MotoXAddicts.