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New Zealand Ranked 23rd in the World

New Zealand Ranked 23rd in the World

CAPTION: Queenstown’s Scott Columb, who finished an impressive seventh overall in the “B Final” at Kegums, in Latvia, on Sunday. Photo by Andy McGechan,

SEPTEMBER 29, 2014: Team France has won the 68th edition of the Motocross of Nations in Latvia at the weekend, while Team New Zealand will have to wait another year before they can be on the podium again at this “Olympic Games of Motocross”.

After a weekend of ups and downs for the main contenders, the trio from France (Gautier Paulin, Steven Frossard and Dylan Ferrandis) won the day in Kegums, Latvia, on Sunday.

All of them riding Kawasaki bikes, the French riders posted a score card that read 1-1-2-4-9-9 in their riders’ six outings, with Paulin's back-to-back wins in the MXGP (MX1) class being the highlight.

Runners-up were Team Belgium (Kevin Strijbos, Jeremy Van Horbeek and Julien Lieber), with Team USA (Ryan Dungey, Eli Tomac and Jeremy Martin) taking the third step on the podium.

Great Britain, Germany and Italy rounded out the top six.

With the MXoN back in France next year, it will be a fantastic sight to see Team France at home with the No.1, No.2 and No.3 on their bikes.

New Zealand’s trio had a tough time of it.

Team New Zealand qualified only 25th of the 34 nations entered and was therefore consigned to racing in the “B Final” on Sunday morning – effectively the "last chance qualifier" – and hope that they could win that race to progress from there to the 20-nation final races.

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However, the feisty Kiwis could not fight their way out of the B Final, finish fourth overall – Columb impressing with a seventh placing, while Dobbyn finished 12th and Harwood was placed 22nd – and so they had to settle for a final MXoN ranking of 23rd.

With different riders, New Zealand has been on the MXoN podium on three memorable occasions in recent times – at Foxhills, in England, in 1998; at Namur, in Belgium, in 2001 and at Matterley Basin, in England, in 2006 – but will now have to wait until France next year before they can have another crack at it.

by Andy McGechan,

© Scoop Media

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