Photo by: Chase Yocom
Another Motocross of Nations is in the record books and it was another tough weekend for the boys wearing the red, white and blue. While Team USA has been struggling at the MXoN since our last Chamberlain Trophy win back in 2011, this loss at RedBud with the nation’s legitimate three best MX riders was a tough pill to swallow for Team USA fans.
If the fans think that pill was hard for them to swallow, times that by an infinite number and it was that much harder for the recently crowned AMA 250 Motocross National Champion and Team USA MX2 rider, Aaron Plessinger. Despite getting a factory 450 deal signed for 2019 and no doubt wanting to prepare for his rookie 450 Supercross campaign, AP stayed on the 250 for the six weeks after the AMA Nationals ended and focused solely on the MXoN.
Video of AP’s crash while leading in qualifying.
AP took this race seriously, and by the looks of how he rode in the Saturday qualifying race, he was prepared to try and prove he was the fastest MX2 rider in the world. Unfortunately after coming out on fire, passing his way into the lead during the qualifying race and leading four laps, his weekend went sideways—literally and figuratively—with a huge crash. From there his weekend was an uphill battle with no happy ending in sight.
Last weekend had to be two of the toughest days in Aaron’s professional racing career, but after eating RedBud roost for over an hour straight and accepting a tough loss, he made himself available to the media and the fans for well over an hour in front of his team semi. On a day when everyone would understand if we didn’t see him, he was smiling for photos with the fans and rehashing his nightmare of a racing weekend with the media over and over again. It says a lot about who AP is.
Aaron, this is your first Motocross of Nations, and probably not the way you wanted to end your 250 career. You finished 18-16 today. How are you feeling about your weekend?
It was definitely a rough weekend. I went out for the qualifying race and took a big digger off of one of the jumps. I’m kind of sore from that. It was definitely different. I’ve never seen the track like this. It was definitely European style, for sure. No excuses, they killed it. The Europeans are so fast. Especially on this stuff. I’m definitely glad I did it. I’m stoked to represent the country even though we didn’t win. It’s a cool experience and a cool thing to do. 18-16 is kind of hard to swallow. Like I said, they’re unreal on this stuff and sand. I talked to Ben Watson [Team Great Britain MX2 rider] and he said the winter time it’s pretty much exactly like this stuff. All in all, I’m glad I did it. It’s a cool experience. Whenever they ask me again, I’ll definitely say yes.
How much sand do you think they trucked into this place? There was a lot more sand here than we have ever seen at an AMA national here.
Yeah, for sure, it was definitely a lot more sandy. They didn’t disc it as deep. We definitely found the bottom pretty quick in practice and in qualifying. It was definitely way different than it was in the summer. It was really really rutted this summer and a it got rough but it was a different kind of rough today.
It looked like it flowed a lot different today.
It was something I’m not used to. It was cool to ride it and see what they’re racing on every weekend and to get to race against those guys.
I noticed you had to toss your goggles early in one of the motos. I’m sure that affected you a lot. You weren’t able to push forward as much as you wanted to.
Yeah, for sure. I think it was the first moto when I was behind and ran out of tear-offs. It was hard to keep goggles on this track. [Antonio] Cairoli tore his off in the last moto and I think I saw [Gautier] Paulin tear his off one moto. I mean, it was hard. It’s wet sand and you’re not gonna have clear vision the whole time. It was rough, but we’re here. We made it out in one piece, and I’m happy it’s done.
How tough was it trying to get the momentum to pass the 450’s in this power robbing dirt?
(laughs) I definitely got up the sides of people and they motored on past me. It’s hard being 160 pounds on a 250 against the same weight on a 450. It’s degrading when they do that, but they’re on 450’s, I’m on a 250 and it’s a dirt bike race either way.
There’s a lot of pressure on you guys to win this race. There were people saying, “stamp it, they’re going to win” and that’s a lot of pressure for you guys to live up to some times. I don’t know if that mentally affects you guys, but I would think it has to just a little bit.
It’s definitely hard not to let it affect you. If you didn’t really let it affect you, you’d be the greatest in the world. To ride under all this pressure, it’s hard. These guys also raced last weekend and we’ve been off for six weeks. It’s a flow they got.
Lets pretend this weekend never happened for a minute and talk about you moving up to the 450 now. A big deal got announced [Aaron signing to move up to 450’s with factory Yamaha] since the last time we talked. Lets talk about some good news.
I haven’t really touched the 450 yet. I’ve just been focussing on this race, but I think it’s going to be fun. I get to race guys my own size now. (laughs) That’s going to be cool. It’s going to be different. It’s going to be a long season and I’m going to train my ass off to get there.